I recently read Neil Cole’s Organic Church (2005) to supplement my learning of how organic churches are planted and reproduced. This reading was part of my preparatory training as I get ready for a brief pilgrimage in England. In my trip to the U.K., I will study a large church, well known for multiplying organic and missional communities. Because Cole is one of the leading voices in organic, church multiplication, I thought posting a review of some of my insights from his book might be helpful to others interested in Cole’s work.
Neil Cole tells his story of going from a pastor and church planting resource developer for his denomination, to becoming part of an organic church producing movement. One of the most inspiring stories Neil shares is that upon first review by his denominational assessment, Cole was not approved to be a church planter. Yet after a couple years and many experiences in organic church he was retested by C. Ridley’s church planter’s assessment, and scored higher in the areas of his previous incompetence. Cole is very honest in sharing both the success and failures he’s experienced, and is not shy about sharing the story of Church Multiplication Associates either.
I definitely enjoyed Part Three: “From the Microscope to the Telescope” and Part Four: “The Epidemic Kingdom and How it Spreads” the most because Cole explains the “how-to” of organic multiplication. In the front of my copy of Organic Church I have written down the main themes as they relate to the American post-Christian, agri-culture: A) Remember Jesus is Lord of the Harvest and the Master Gardener. Only God produces growth and He knows when it is time to prune. B) The Laborers always need to be aware of what season they are in C) Sometimes you need to till the ground and pull weeds before you can plant. D) The most receptive soil is often that which is most fertilized E) Living Water and Light are essential. F) Growth happens first, and then fruit is produced. G) Branches must stay connected to the Vine in order to live and thrive H) Seed is meant to be scattered.
Lastly, Cole explains that the spiritual DNA of an organic church looks like this: (D)ivine Truth-Faith, (N)urturing Relationships- Love, and (A)postolic Mission-Hope.
This was the first book I’ve read by Cole, but I’m really interested in reading what else he has to say in his other works.