I’m a reader. I admit that. I read Neil Cole‘s Organic Church in the course of 3 days. The author advocates a different kind of church planting theology, method, and strategy. Throughout the book, I found myself resonating profoundly with some statements, while cringing at others.
Instead of bringing people to church, so that we can then bring them to Christ, let’s bring Christ to people where they live. We may find that a new church will grow out of such an enterprise, a church that is more centered in life and the workplace, where the Gospel is supposed to make a difference.
If you want to win this world to Christ, you are going to have to sit in the smoking section. That is where lost people are found, and if you make them put their cigarette out to hear the message they will be thinking about only one thing: “When can I get another cigarette?”
Though, I stand in absolute agreement in regards to this world’s need for believers to step out of the church and live on mission within their everyday context, I am skeptical and concerned with the house church movement.
My fear in regards to house churches (or organic churches in this case), is the lack of training. Despite Cole’s best efforts, I remain less than convinced that new believers have any place as church planters / pastors. Interestingly, so was the apostle Paul who instructed Timothy that new converts were not to be installed as elders. Even Paul, who was led to Christ by Christ himself, was discipled by God for a period before entering into evangelistic ministry.
Ultimately, this is a point that I disagree with humility. After all, he’s led a movement that has seen hundreds (thousands?) of churches planted. I have not planted one.
And there is an enormous amount that we agree on. I love how he states it, “Every Christian is a church planter, every home is a church, and every church building is a training center.”
The book is a great resource for anyone interested in a different kind of church that is certainly able and apt to reach those that most churches would not reach. And that’s the sort of thing that different parts of Christ’s Body are supposed to do.