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Monday, April 11, 2016

A Kingdom Outpost: More Than A Meeting

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There have been many “Aha” moments in my life where a realization hits that changes everything.  A few years ago I had one such epiphany. Prior to this moment I had given my life to starting churches that multiplied.
I heard the Lord say to me, “So if you get hundreds of thousands of people meeting together in homes all over the world do you think that will be enough to change the world?” 
It wasn’t that starting churches was a bad idea, I am still investing in that. But there is more, much more, to be done beyond a meeting. The church is meant to work together, not just worship together––in fact working together is worshiping together.
Since then I have been a part of starting more than churches, but missional kingdom outposts. Yes, these are indeed churches of a sort, but meeting in regularly scheduled bible studies is not the aim, and often isn’t even what happens. 
Is a regularly scheduled meeting a good thing? Of course it can be. The meeting, however, does not make a church, any more than a regularly scheduled meeting is what makes your family a family. Can a church exist without a scheduled meeting? Yes it can. 
There are no sermons, Sunday schools or “services,” in these kingdom outposts, yet the Scriptures are the foundation to all they do. People live and work in community, not just sing songs and pass the plate. There are no offerings taken, but there is tremendous generosity. The people of these works share their lives together. They are giving so much more than their time and ten percent of their treasure to the kingdom work. These people are giving up their whole being––their sweat, provision, vocation and sense of purpose and identity––all to Jesus.
I would measure the disciples coming out of these outposts against any coming from traditional church forms. I’m not being boastful, just honest. I have spent time with some followers of Christ from this movement and they are not like the typical churchgoer. As my friend and associate Dezi Baker says, "they are different enough to make a difference."
I realized a while ago that you can’t produce a world changing disciple with a one hour service on Sundays and a midweek hour of bible study. The deluded idea that this is how we do our spiritual work is both vast and void. Disciples are made in the hard work of real life––in the marketplace, not a meeting place. Our impact should be felt in the populace not just in the pews. We should measure our influence out on the streets not in the seats.

11 comments:

Tony said...

Neil,

I think you've hit the proverbial nail on the head with this thought. Particularly important, at least for me, is your mention of these folks that are giving their whole being the sake of Christ. Personally, I've though several times that I was doing that in "vocational ministry", but at the end of the day I've been left wanting more.

When I was first introduced to the Organic Church idea, there was a spark for me. Now, as I further ponder the idea of Kingdom Outposts, something even deeper is moving. I need to think about how this is going to play out in my corner of the world.

If I think back on my life, I can pinpoint times where my own level of discipleship and whole life Kingdom-ness....they all involved working with a team, not a ministry staff, to effect change on our little area of the world. Thanks be to God for this revelation today. Seriously. I need this. Thanks brother.

Rising River Media said...

Excellent post, Neil. Welcome to "Future Church."

Rising River Media said...

Excellent post, Neil. Welcome to "Future Church."

Eddie Dunn said...

Neil...I'm finding many of these type micro communities popping up everywhere, nameless and faceless, working supernaturally, God getting the glory. Holy Spirit is joining those that He has purposed to join for such a time as this. Very powerful...

Neil Cole said...

Tony,

Thanks for your kind words. I am finding the same thing.

Neil

Neil Cole said...

Eddie,

Yes it is exciting to see God moving globally at this time.

Neil

Mike Toast said...

Thank you Neil.
Organic, living together and working together sharing our lives with Him.
The mark of a good leader is the numbers of leaders they produce who are better then them.

This is something I'd like to be known for on the last day.
I appreciate the message and encouragement.
Bless you.
Mike

Neil Cole said...

Thnx Mike.

N

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Neil Dawson said...

Neil, Just finished reading Organic Church,wow! My heart is stirred. This is what Im praying for Northern Ireland. I think we are starting to see it, yet longing for more.
Any plans to be back in the uk again?!!

Daniel So said...

Hello Neil,

I hope this message finds you well! My name is Daniel So, and I'm the General Editor of ChurchPlants.com, a sister site to ChurchLeaders.com.

Thanks for allowing us to share some of your articles in the past. I'd love to share this (and the previous post) on CP. I believe that many planters sense God leading them to plant for the Kingdom in non-traditional ways.

If you would grant us your kind permission to share, we would, of course, cite you as the author and include your photo/bio. Please let me know what you think. Thanks!


Grace+peace,

Daniel So
General Editor, ChurchPlants.com