Organic Church


One of the books I read while in Paris was Organic Church by Neil Cole. The basic premise of the book is that the way we do church today is quite often contrary to what Jesus taught, and that we should be “growing faith where life happens”. It was a quick read (read it in a day), here’s some thoughts…

“We want to lower the bar of how church is done and raise the bar of what it means to be a disciple.
[One of the goals of CMA]

“Someone once said that we shape our buildings and then they shape us.”

Cole makes this statement in one of the chapters, which reminded me of conversations we had at the Soliton sessions (here and here) last month, where I first heard this idea. It’s something I’m thinking about at the minute, I don’t think I’ve got very far with it but I’m mulling it over. I read somewhere about how one of the reasons churches need to spend so much money on buildings etc is because we have increased our need for private spaces. We no longer live with the hospitality that allows our homes and our buildings and our personal property to be used for public/corporate worship etc. What would happen if we opened ourselves up again and regained such a deep sense of community that we allowed anything of our to be used in/for church meetings? There will probably be more thoughts on this later!

“Men are looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.”
[E.M. Bounds]

A reminder to live fully for Christ… nothing else matters. We pray for his will in how to build the church, for how to do so many things for him (which isn’t a bad thing), but how much time do we spend praying that God would mould us into the leaders he needs us to be? What if, for example, our churches aren’t growing because we aren’t leaders that are growing enough to shepherd them?

“Many take Christ’s words and apply them backwards. They teach that if you have position in the Kingdom of God it is important to lead as a servant. But Jesus meant us to see that those who first serve are indeed the leaders that others will follow.”

“Instead of drawing people out of community and robbing what community already existed, Jesus’ plan is to inject the Gospel into an existing community.”

This sentance is a good indication of the contents of the rest of the book – instead of creating highly engineered church environments where people can come to do life, we take church to the places the people already are.

“Many of us settle for lesser lives, for stories not worth telling.

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5 Responses to “Organic Church”


  1. 1 Randy March 24, 2007 at 3:24 am

    Of course nobody comments when you post something so relevant to the culture we live in and our faith….geez
    Excellent thoughts.

  2. 2 Dave March 24, 2007 at 9:09 am

    Our church is currently in the process of buying a new building. We’ve been meeting in a sixth-form college refectory for the past few years, and we’ve outgrown it.

    Our motto is “Building a church, not a church building.” Focussing, obviously, on building bigger and better people is our aim, not necessarily making the building our first priority.

  3. 3 emmsy March 24, 2007 at 11:19 am

    Randy… nice to hear a new voice… how’d you stumble over here?

    Dave… Hope I didn’t come across as saying all buildings are wrong! I’m just externalising some thoughts from the book. I’ve been to a lot of churches, and in the summer I went to a few really big churches in Chicago… who obviously own big buildings. I like the sound of what your church is doing – holding off buying until necessary, using the resources around you rather than plunging head-first into buying property. The church community I’m currently involved in does something very similar. We meet for Sunday services in a school assembly hall, although we also own a small property for offices.

  4. 4 Randy March 24, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    Who knows….I’ve just been thinking alot about things like this lately so I decided to comment.

  5. 5 Andrew January 2, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    The Church use to be part of the everyday town’s community. Today Government plays the role of meeting peoples need leaving the church to be an isolated club. Cole’s book has fresh ideas of bringing the church back into the community. I myself am tired of big churches. Most offer great worship and teaching but it is really easy to get lost in the crowd. Lord willing I would like to see an organic movement grow in the Chicago area.


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