Organic Church by Neil ColeI’ve been reading Organic Church by Neil Cole. I’ll admit that when I saw the cover I wasn’t too excited to read the book. The coffee cup just kinda turned me off for some reason. Then, at our Ecclesia Gathering Alan Hirsch kept raving about the book so I figured I would give it the old college try.

I’ve been really impressed so far. I love the way he talks about church and following the leading of the Spirit. It’s clear that the most important thing for him is seeing the Kingdom of God be more present in our towns, work places, cities and communities than it is to “grow a church.” While obviously these two things are not necessarily opposites sometimes it is all to easy for pastors / church planters / leadership teams to confuse the growth of the numbers of butts in the seats with the kingdom of God. Ego gets in the way, need for salary gets in the way and all kinds of other things get in the way. How we structure our churches organizationally play into this temptation quite a bit. I think the approach Cole is presenting here helps combat that temptation a bit. While I’m not ready to give up on an “organically organizational” approach to church, he makes some great points.

Perhaps one of the most convicting themes he seems to keep bringing up is when we is talking about the role of Jesus Christ ad the Holy Spirit in the leading of the church. He asks a very provocative question,

“Our churches should allow Jesus to be the leader on our team and set expectations accordingly. Someone might say, ‘Well of course we recognize jesus is on board; it is assumed.’ But the real test is if you conduct ministyr business expecting Jesus to carry the load – to carry the team. Or do you practice church as though Jesus doesn’t need to do anything, and everything is done for Him instead of by Him?”

Later he writes about this again,

“We must trust God to do His part. We must be willing to place ourselves in a position where, if He does not show up, we will be seen as complete fools. Most churches have not been willing to take that risk.”

Wow, Neil. Point well taken. Thanks for the smack in the face. I needed it.

So, does your church really need Jesus or could you get by just fine without him even showing up?