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Friday, August 17, 2012

Why is the organic church movement still so important?

Christianity is still fraught with pollutants. What our founder meant to be a spiritual and organic movement spreading from life to life has instead been an centralized, hierarchical and self-promoting institution developed by men and for men. This has been the case for so long that we have confused the pollutant with the real thing. It is hard to know what is good and healthy and what is not after two thousand years of counterfeit expressions.

In recent days we have made great strides in realizing this and exposing the artificial ingredients that have infected Christ’s body, but we still have a long way to go. If we do not purify the people of God from the institutions of men that keep them encased in artificial mechanisms, than we will never be able to see transformation of neighborhoods and nations with the power of the Gospel. If we continue to declare our own mechanisms as God’s way we will not only be enslaved to a lesser form of spiritual life but we will greatly disappoint those in the world that look on.

I have been asked a series of important questions leading up to the release of our new book Church Transfusion.  I will post those questions with my answers in the following series. This was the first one.

23 comments:

Tim C said...

What evidence in scripture supports your premise that God, Christ, or the Spirit intended to create a "movement"? As well, how do these blogs, books, seminars, etc differ from the self-promoting ways of the institutional mega-churches that you're always so down on? It seems everybody's got an opinion or something better. If you're "organic church" way is so much better and so more authentic, why are you having to sell it so hard?

Neil Cole said...

Tim, we do not actually build a hierachical self-preserving institution. I have a call that I need to fulfill which involves communicating what I have been learning, that does not mean that I am promoting a model or brand. I do not think organic church is a brand or model but a message about the purity of ecclesia as it relates to the Godhead, one another and the world.

Neil Cole said...

As to your first question, Tim, I read the NT and see a movement. I find that hard to avoid, actually. You literally have to stick your head in the sand to not see a handful of ordinary people released to turn the world upside down in one generation. Eventually the MOVEMENT that Christianity was overcame the mighty Roman Empire which no nation on earth seemed to be able to do.

Paul spent 3 years in Ephesus (not leaving one city) and when he was done every person in all of Asia Minor had heard his message. How does that happen except with a movement.

Neil Cole said...

Matt 28:18-20 involves all three Father, Son and HS. It begins with eleven men and ends with all the nations...MOVEMENT.

Neil Cole said...

2 Tim 2:2 is about multiplying disciples to the 4th generation and beyond...MOVEMENT.

Neil Cole said...

Jesus said the Kingdom of God is like a little leaven which leavens the whole lump of dough...MOVEMENT

Neil Cole said...

"They were adding to their number daily those who were being saved"...MOVEMENT

Neil Cole said...

So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.(Acts 16:5)...MOVEMENT

Neil Cole said...

Tim, I have presented lots of Scripture that points to movement. Please share some that teaches that Christianity is NOT meant to be a movement.

missionalgirl said...

Let the Church say....AMEN!

spiritualsavant said...

Good stuff, Neil. In fact, the book of Acts resounds with the refrain, "The word of God continued to spread and ___." MOVEMENT Praise God that book is still being written!

brucedickey said...

I like one of the first youtube vids I saw you in Neil. You discussed how we need to lower the bar of how we do church, and raise the bar of what it means to be a disciple. It seems that the CEO model of church succeeds in preservation of the system, rather than the propagation of disciples and the gospel. Are churches in America growing or shrinking? They are shrinking. Something is fundamentally wrong. A good dose of Exlax can help the human body. Does it come in a Body of Christ size?

Neil Cole said...

Thanks Bruce. Are you suggesting that the body of Christ is constipated? Lol.

Neil Cole said...

BTW there is a huge difference between critiquing the institutional systems of church and attacking the people within those institutions. I think we would all do better in this if we saw people through the lens of the Gospel and loved them rather than condemn than condemn them just because they are in a faulty system. I am not against His church, but I am against the many institutionalized forms that hold His church captive rather than release them Just thought I needed to say that.

Josh Hunt said...

I have my copy on preorder. I can hardly wait!

Josh Hunt

Miguel Labrador said...

Neil,

The more I labor in one of the most bio-diverse, and culturally diverse regions of the the planet, the more I see the import for organic church. Of the many negative "church related issues" which I have personally witnessed, I would have to say that nearly all of them stem from institutional thinking.

People who live where we do often say that folks from outside of town have "no respect for nature," because they pollute the environment. Sometimes I feel that way about systematized expressions of church.

Tim C said...

Hey Neil, you forgot a passage...Acts 1:8. I'm not a part of the institutional church anymore. Though my wife is. I've been meeting with a small house church. They tout the same things as I hear you say, except I don't see much difference between them and what I left, except preferences. Good for you, Neil!

Neil Cole said...

Thanks Miguel. It is true that doing mission in other cultures really clarifies this stuff. We surf appreciate the work you and your team are doing!

Neil Cole said...

Tim, yeah, there's loads of other passages, I just gave ya the first off the top of my head.

Timothy Wong said...

I am writing from an Asia context, where 4bn desperately need to encounter gospel word/community within their/our lifetime or perish into Christless eternity. Faced with this challenge, it is patently clear that nothing short on a NT-like movement of rapidly multiplying gospel communities will be required to fulfil the great commission. Looking forward to seeing you here in Singapore in September Neil for the Greenhouse. The Loft will be packed to capacity who are eager to learn more about organic church principles. We are praying that God will spark a movement in this tiny nation of Singapore, which will spread to SE Asia, and then all of Asia.

Neil Cole said...

Timothy,

I'm looking forward to it as well!

Cya soon!

Neil

goodbean said...

Neil,

Thanks for these concise, solid words... that never fail to encourage us on this road less travelled...

Bonnie

bob gilbert said...

Movement . . . it is too simple, but very complicated. if i go out and just start sharing Christ door to door with no intentions other than to just share the simple gospel, the questions that come are so complicated. in simple terms, they can be summed up to "where is the building?" the building is most likely 2 Corinthians 13:5. there is this constant battle to bring it to simplicity and expand it to our own personal complex responsbility of knowing God counts the hair on our heads.