What Is Organic Church?
Neil Cole is the founder and executive director of Church Multiplication Associates, which has helped start hundreds of churches in thirty-five states of the USA and thirty nations. He is seen by many to be one of the key founders of what is known as the organic or simple-church movement.
Neil wrote this in his article A Dangerous Question and Organic Church (read the full article here):
I have come to understand church as this: the presence of Jesus among His people called out as a spiritual family to pursue His mission on this planet.
We’ve come to refer to some of the ideals of church planting movements as an “organic church.” By organic, I don’t mean that it is pesticide free. It’s a matter of churches being alive and vibrant as living organisms.
The core reality is not how the followers are organized, discipled or helped. The core reality is Jesus Christ being followed, loved and obeyed. Christ alive, forming spiritual families and working with them to fulfill His mission, is the living reality of the organic church. The church really is an embodiment of the risen Jesus. No wonder the Bible refers to the church as the body of Christ.
Church as a Living System
In this video, Neil uses Jesus’ parables to explain how church can be understood as a living system:
The idea of the seed growing by itself is illustrated in this story from Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel:
Grace Missions and Organic Church
We believe that the concepts of organic church can be applied in any culture, in any place. The Director of Grace Missions, Rev Ross Rennie, is putting these ideas into practice where he lives in Chester, England. His vision is to start a simple church on organic principles in his home. He is not trying to compete with existing churches or steal their members. He believes there is a vast pool of people who need Jesus but who would not darken the door of a church building. Ross’s heart’s desire is to welcome some of these people into his home, share the gospel of grace with them, see them established as disciples of Jesus, and then encourage them to start simple churches in their own homes: a multiplication of ‘churches without walls‘.
If you live in the Chester area and would like to join them in this venture, please contact Rev Ross.
Read All About It
Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens by Neil Cole
Churches have tried all kinds of ways to attract new and younger members — revised vision statements, hipper worship, contemporary music, livelier sermons, bigger and better auditoriums. But there are still so many people who aren’t being reached, who don’t want to come to church. And the truth is that attendance at church on Sundays does not necessarily transform lives; God’s presence in our hearts is what changes us. Leaders and laypeople everywhere are realizing that they need new and more powerful ways to help them spread God’s Word.
According to international church starter and pastor Neil Cole, if we want to connect with young people and those who are not coming to church, we must go where people congregate. Cole shows readers how to plant the seeds of the Kingdom of God in the places where life happens and where culture is formed — restaurants, bars, coffeehouses, parks, locker rooms, and neighbourhoods. Organic Church offers a hands-on guide for demystifying this new model of church and shows the practical aspects of implementing it.
While it may seem revolutionary, this model of church — bringing God’s message where people are rather than expecting them to show up at church — is in keeping with the message of Jesus, who lived among the people of his time. Organic Church shows how we can return to those ancient roots by letting the church be alive, organic, growing, spreading in the most likely and unlikely places.