“Organic Church” by Neil Cole

With today’s tip, I’m taking a break from the practical ministry how to’s. Instead, I’m beginning a summer series focusing on ministry perspective.

I’ve found the summer can be a great time when we aren’t in our normal routine that we can gain greater perspective on what God might be doing. The summer can have times of frenzied activity. But typically there are also relaxed times to think.

So over the next several weeks, I going to tell about some books that I’ve found particularly helpful for me in gaining ministry perspective. I’ve read every book I will mention. And in some cases, our staff team spent a semester discussing it.

Today’s book is Organic Church by Neil Cole. It’s classic win, build, send. Chapter Nine, “It Takes Guts to Care for People.” is worth the price of the book. It defines rapid replication. Just a couple of excerpts here to drive the point home.

“The Holy Spirit is a better teacher than we are. The Spirit of God is a better strengthener (or comforter) than we are. The Holy Spirit is a better evangelist and trainer in evangelism than we are. Best of all the Holy Spirit is a constant presence, which we cannot be.

“When we allow, or even demand, that new converts wait and receive instruction and training before they can become workers, we are effectively granting them permission to be passive, inactive, selfish and stagnant.” p. 150

“I believe one reason the Lord took Phillip away so dramatically was to establish for all of us that the Lord can use a new convert as a worker immediately.” p. 151.

Cole then proceeds to tell a story of a Satanist different ones had shared Christ with. He argued point by point with them. But when a young woman only a few weeks old in the Lord said that she could see that he was lonely, his whole perspective on Christianity changed. Cole writes, “There are two closely related sins we need to repent of in the Western church. We need to repent of underestimating what God can do through a new believer. Second, we need to repent of over-estimating our own value in helping new converts grow and become strong believers…We end up creating a sense of dependency on human help rather than on the Holy Spirit…” p. 154.

Just some things to think about.

  • How quickly do I give students, faculty, and volunteers ownership of the mission of “turning lost students into Christ-centered laborers.”?
  • Do I love doing the ministry so much that I prevent others from entering into that same joy of ministry?
  • Do I unknowingly foster a subtle dependence upon me?
  • Are there things I can do to make ministry even more transferable? to bring about rapid replication?
  • Do others see what I do and think “I can do that”?

Tips about ending the campus year well.


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