Behind the Man in Black – My review of Marc Eckel’s autobiography: “It’s Not About Me.”

4.0 out of 5 starsBehind the Man in Black,  April 22, 2014

Pulling back the canvas onEckel-AutoBio-Cover Splat Experience and the multi-talented Marc Eckel, this portrait is engaging on a personal level and certainly glorifies God. That is the heart of the author and you can see it on the pages of this autobiography. Possibly the greatest challenge for a writer is to write about themselves…and Eckel let’s you on the inside to see the anecdotes, successes, joys and pains of his life and ministry.

In a couple of hours, you can get a great overview of this captivating ministry and creative artist. The best part is “The Final Chapter” isn’t really the final chapter…it’s just a chapter from 2014. I look forward to the future ministry of Marc Eckel and Splat Experience in 2014 and beyond! The blessing of the Lord is clear…and I look forward to the EXPERIENCE.

P.S. If you haven’t seen a Splat Experience presentation, the pictures of the artwork in the appendix are outstanding (a great feature about the book). Even these pictures pale in comparison to the authentic worship experience of the presentations.

My 5 Star Review of Primal Fire

PrimalFireI’ve had the privilege of walking with Neil Cole and his cohorts (Phil Helfer, Ed Waken, Dezi Baker, and Paul Kaak) in varying degrees over the last 15 years. I’ve been an “insider” to the learning that has fleshed itself out into the work Primal Fire. Keen attention to the APEST (apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, shepherding, teaching) gifts has been part of my experience with the CMA movement throughout. (http://CMAResources.org). This is the best articulation of a true APEST team that I’ve experienced on the planet.

Many in mission circles are talking about the need for this APEST community of leaders, but hardly anyone really has that kind of community. What Cole and friends express in Primal Fire is the real deal. It is not merely theory, but theology, theory, principles, practice, victories and pains through real life and ministry. It is a treasure to have this snapshot as captured in Primal Fire.

A word of warning: Don’t merely flip to the chapter on your favorite or perceived gift (chapters 9-13) and read about what an apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd or teacher does. I was tempted to do that, but if you do (or maybe when) make sure to take the time to engage with the first 8 chapters of the book! If you don’t, you will be missing some VERY important foundations from the whole of the New Testament. Most importantly, you’ll skip a tremendous exegesis and exposure of Ephesians chapter 4 (which Cole appropriately dubs the “Magna Carta” of the church [primarily chapters 5-8]).

In those foundational first eight chapters, you’ll be challenged in your theology and your practice. For instance, Cole draws out that church leadership isn’t merely to servant-hood, but to truly be servants. And beyond that leadership in Jesus’ church and hierarchy have no place together! Into church practices, elders and deacons are addressed thoroughly. In fact, a revolutionary biblical proposal on deacons will have you chewing through the Scriptures again.

In the portions of the book that expose and articulate the five APEST gifts that Jesus gave (chapters 9-13), I believe that the authors’ hope is that these pages in Primal Fire will affirm what Jesus has given and will draw together fully functional APEST teams. In fact, as I finished this book (the first time), I left it with a missionary team in Chad (Africa) with the hopes that they would be able to capitalize on these insights to fuel a burgeoning church-planting movement there.

Since this is Jesus’ idea and His gifts for the maturing of the Body, I whole-heartedly encourage you to chew on the content of Primal Fire for the greater multiplication of disciples, leaders, churches and movements all over our globe.

 

Recommended Resources from Missionaries in Chad

This is a list of the “recommended” books and resources that were shared with us during our time in Chad. The hyperlinks to purchase books go to the Encompass World Partners Amazon Storefront, which gives a small percentage of your sale to Encompass (More Info).  Enjoy!!!

 

Online Bibles (especially for Arabic )

 

Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles through Islamic Africa – by Steve Kemper

 

Church Planting Movements by David Garrison

Timothy Initiatives 

 

From Seed To Fruit: Global Trends, Fruitful Practices, and Emerging Issues among Muslims by J. Dudley Woodberry (Editor)

 

Where There Was No Church: Postcards from the Followers of Jesus in the Muslim World by Ej Martin

 

Miraculous Movements: How Hundreds of Thousands of Muslims Are Falling in Love with Jesus by Jerry Trousdale

 

David Watson a key leader in finding effective ways for church planting movements  (even in Muslim environments)

 

Primal Fire: Reigniting the Church with the Five Gifts of Jesus by Neil Cole

 

Western Christians in Global Mission: What is the Role of the North American Church? by Paul Borthwick

  • “Borthwick has long been a spokesman for being globally mission-minded. This book of helpful and oft times stinging anecdotes communicates succinctly that the North American Church still has a role in global mission going forward. This book contains an important general & global perspective which provides an important contribution to mission literature. This is the type of book that is accessible for anyone who can read in English.” (via @MikeJentes review on Amazon.com)  http://bit.ly/KbrCP9

A Future For The Latino Church – Dr Daniel Rodriguez via@PlantLB

Daniel Rodriguez (’78, MA ’81), associate professor of religion and Hispanic studies at Pepperdine University, has noticed a worrying trend in Latino churches across America. While the Latino churches as a whole are growing, the younger, bilingual generations seem to be giving up on worship. Somewhere between a church’s fellowship hall, where the Spanish-speaking congregation will typically meet, and the auditorium, housing the English-speaking congregation, the children and grandchildren of Latino immigrants are getting lost.

In his latest book, A Future for the Latino Church: Models for Multilingual, Multigenerational Hispanic Congregations, Rodriguez makes the argument that Latino congregations need to be “sensitive to idiosyncratic differences between generations that are sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle.”

Ultimately, Rodriguez doesn’t prescribe spiritual medicine to Latino churches to cure fractured congregations, but instead hopes to inspire through the achievements of congregations that are successfully bridging the generational divide.

 

“My hope is that the leaders who read my book can keep their churches intact so that the grandma who doesn’t speak any English, her grandson who doesn’t speak any Spanish, and the father and mother who are bilingual can all fit under the same roof,” he says.

Read the entire article at Pepperdine Magazine

Discovered via @PlantLB » A Future For The Latino Church – Dr Daniel Rodriguez.

My Highlights from Leading Cross-Culturally by Sherwood Lingenfelter

One of the areas of great growth and learning for me since I’ve been with Encompass World Partners has been in cross-cultural relationships. One of the experts in that area, and former board member with Encompass is Sherwood Lingenfelter. I encountered his book Ministering Cross-Culturally and learned a lot!

I have poked around in Lingenfelter’s more recent book Leading Cross-Culturally primarily because of our implementation of coalitions which are an architecture for everyone everywhere to engage in mission! It will be best if multiple cultures are involved, and it will also be a stretching experience for everyone involved.

Last night I was transfixed by chapter 8 on “Power-Giving Leadership.” Lingenfelter walked through the sticky Paul, Philemon, Onesimus situation. What a beautiful example of Paul giving away his position and power and empowering Philemon to lead and be like Jesus. This study provides an excellent contribution to Biblical leadership!

 

Lingenfelter’s definition for the book: Leading cross-culturally, then, is inspiring people who come from two or more cultural traditions to participate with you (the leader or leadership team) in building a community of trust and then to follow you and be empowered by you to achieve a compelling vision of faith.

LeadingCrossCulturally-coverBelow are a string of some of what I found to be the best quotes in my reading so far:

The most important part of empowering new leaders is to support them in the early stages when they need help and to release them as soon as they can walk in the ministry by themselves. Consider the analogy of a toddler learning to walk: as soon as the child takes steps alone, we encourage the child to keep going. Some people are very cautious about releasing young leaders; this is a serious mistake. To release is not to abandon but to let the young leader learn to walk. It is vitally important that we allow young leaders to take halting steps, allow them to stumble, even fall, and then, as mentors, encourage them to get up and try again. We can always support them and help lift them up after they have fallen. But they will never be successful leaders unless we release them to play the game, to do the work for which we have equipped them.

The focus of power-giving leadership is to follow Christ and, in so doing, to lead others to follow Christ. In the patterns of “normal” cultural life, our power and skills may produce leaders but probably won’t produce followers of Christ.

“Giving Philemon the freedom to choose is also a vision to grow (‘I know you’ll do even more than I ask’). Part of empowering leadership is to remind people of who they are and the way their (potential) actions are consistent with their identity in the Lord”

The power-seeking leader uses position and authority to exert mastery over others. In this situation, Paul used a letter to engage in a power exchange with Philemon. He had Onesimus in his custody, and he could have easily written a different letter that would have asserted Philemon’s obligations to him and induced Philemon to release Onesimus to Paul without ever letting Onesimus out of his sight. Paul understood that if he took that tactic, it would be a false path to acquire something that he desired. He would pervert the relationship that God had given him with Philemon, using his position as the senior brother in Christ to advance his own selfish interest. In doing this, Paul would have, in fact, undermined Philemon’s faith and the work of the grace of God in their relationship together.

Jesus must become the center of who we are…

To restore our human psyche and relationships to the will and purpose of God, Jesus must become the center of who we are and replace our quest for power. Only as we are motivated by the Holy Spirit and through the living Word of God can we relate to one another within the structures of human society to accomplish the purpose of God.

I will first argue that we must put Jesus “in the place of power as a proper source of healing and will”

The task and the routines of daily work always erode our mission and vision for the ministry. They also erode our spiritual values. The question is not whether our values are eroding; team values are always eroding. The question is, what are we doing as leaders to renew our sense of mission, to restore our vision, and to renew the values that are critical for multicultural teamwork? Our hope for effective leadership and ministries lies in aligning ourselves with the mission and work of God in a lost and broken world.

Leaders in particular must surrender their obsession to control and achieve, through worship at the cross.

While the process will be difficult, with periods of intense testing and struggle, building covenant community is a process of refocusing from doing what we want to being the people of God.

In the end the work of the kingdom depends on our obedience to the King. God cannot rule in people who are disobedient and in conflict with one another. God rules as we obey God and love one another.

Every leader who expects and hopes to be effective in leading cross-culturally must give repeated attention to the mission, the vision, and the values that are essential to kingdom work. Every team meeting should include some intentional renewal of mission, vision, and/or values. As soon as that component of the team is lost, the mission and the vision will be lost to the routines and the pressures of doing our daily work. Every case study that we have considered here has suffered because of a loss of mission, vision, and/or values among the people who were part of the multicultural team process.

Saying, “I was wrong,” is more powerful than saying “I’m sorry.”

One of my colleagues, Janice Strength, notes that saying “I was wrong” is far more powerful than saying “I am sorry.” She notes that we often push children to say “I am sorry” when they and we know they are not. To acknowledge “I was wrong” is to take responsibility for the action we have done.

I remind students in my classes that we are first emotional creatures and only secondarily rational. As we respond to crises or stressful situations in leadership, we rarely operate based on reason and rational processes. When things get tough, we first respond emotionally—frustration, anger, fear, disappointment, and betrayal. These emotions often get the best of us, leading us to seek power to protect ourselves, which in turn undermines the will and purpose of God.

I remember praying, “Please remove this person from leadership and give me someone else who can do the job more effectively.” God’s answer to this prayer was, “Absolutely no; don’t you understand my work?” I learned over a period of time that God loves weak people and that God intends leaders to work with the people whom God gives to them.

Cross Cultural Books to Recommend

I’ve been learning lots about cross cultural ministry over the last few months. I’ve interacted with these books below:

I haven’t finished reading them all, but they come with HIGH recommendations. I’ll let you know more as I finish and use them!

Work Matters: A Reflection from Bob Genberg

A friend of mine, Bob Genberg read the book “Work Matters” and wrote an article for our sister church.  I was gripped by his article and how it described an orbit that is easy for us to fall into.  I thought I’d post it here for your consideration:

My bedside alarm activates and Jackson Browne’s “Before the Deluge” nudges me out of my slumber. I get up in a sleepy haze and get dressed for work. I gather my backpack, kiss my wife and daughters goodbye, and fall into freeway traffic. Another workday has begun and I’m on autopilot. Lately, I’m realizing how easily and insidiously this has become my default mode. Autopilot. The mode that understands the spoken and unspoken guidelines that shape my interactions with others. Whether this involves feigning interest when a supervisor drones on about a new pet project that is sure to be as revolutionary as the reinvention of the wheel, or replying “fine, fine,” when someone asks me how I’m doing—even when I’m struggling with personal pain and heartache. I’ve learned how to compartmentalize my life in order to make it more manageable. Perhaps to keep, as George Castanza said in a Seinfeld episode, my worlds from colliding.

Tom Nelson, in his book Work Matters, has helped me catch a glimpse of how this compartmentalization leads to a fractured worldview, fractured living, possibly a fractured soul. He points out that a proper viewpoint is essential for correct and vital living, as incorrect thinking fosters withdrawal from the world, rather than engagement in it.

Tom writes specifically about our relation to work, and lays the foundation of…   >>Read the Rest HERE

Work Matters: A Reflection from Bob Genberg | Grace Community.

Helpful 20 Points of Scripture Twisting – A Synopsis of James Sire’s Book

Scripture Twisting

Came across this helpful synopsis of the 20 common ways that the Bible passages are misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misapplied. Thanks to ApologeticsIndex.org

 

Scripture Twisting In debating and discussions with non-Christians such as Mormons or atheist, I have found many areas of twisting of the Scriptures. In the book “Scripture Twisting,” James Sire has a chapter devoted to each of the methods, and I have seen them ALL used from time to time.

1. INACCURATE QUOTATION: A biblical text is referred to but is either not quoted in the way the text appears in any standard translation or is wrongly attributed. Example: The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi says, “Christ said, ‘Be still and know that I am God.'” Whereas this text is found ONLY in Psalms.

2. TWISTED TRANSLATION: The biblical text is retranslated, not in accordance with sound Greek scholarship, to fit a preconceived teaching of a cult. Example: the Jehovah’s Witnesses translate John 1:1 as “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the word was a god.”

3. BIBLICAL HOOK: A text of Scripture is quoted primarily as a device to grasp the attention of readers or listeners and then followed by a teaching which is so nonbiblical that it would appear far more dubious to most people had it not been preceded by a reference to Scripture. Example: Mormon missionaries quote James 1:5 which promises God’s wisdom to those who ask him and, then, follow this by explaining that when Joseph Smith did this he was given a revelation from which he concluded that God the Father has a body.

4. IGNORING THE IMMEDIATE CONTEXT: A text of Scripture is quoted but removed from the surrounding verses which form the immediate framework for its meaning. Example: Alan Watts quotes the first half of John 5:39 (“You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life”), claiming that Jesus was challenging His listeners’ over emphasis of the Old Testament, but the remainder of the immediate context reads, “and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (verses 39-40), which shows that Jesus was upholding the value of the Old Testament as a testimony to Himself.

5. COLLAPSING CONTEXTS: Two or more verses which have little or nothing to do with each other are put together as if one were a commentary of the other(s). Example: The Mormons associate Jeremiah 1:5 with John 1:2,14 and thus imply that both verses talk about the premortal existence of all human beings; Jeremiah 1:5, however, speaks of God’s foreknowledge of Jeremiah (Not his premortal existence) and JOhn 1:2 refers to the pre-existence of God the Son and not to human beings in general.

6. OVERSPECIFICATION: A more detailed or specific conclusion than is legitimate is drawn from a biblical text. Example: The Mormon missionary manual quotes the parable of the virgins from Matthew 25:1-13 to document the concept that “mortality is a probationary period during which we prepare to meet God.” But the parable of the virgins could, and most probably does, mean something far less specific, for example, that human beings should be prepared at any time to meet God or to witness the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

7. WORD PLAY: A word or phrase from a biblical translation is examined and interpreted as if the revelation had been given in that language. Example: mary Bake Eddy says the name Adam consist of two syllables, A DAM, which means an obstruction, in which case, Adam signifies “the obstacle which the serpent, sin, would impose between man and his Creator.”

8. THE FIGURATIVE FALLACY: Either (1) mistaking literal language for figurative language or (2)mistaking figurative language for literal language. Example of (1): Mary Baker Eddy interprets EVENING as “mistiness of mortal thought; weariness of mortal mind; obscured views; peace and rest.” Example of (2): The Mormon theologian james Talmage interprets the prophesy that “thou shalt be brought down and speak out of the ground” to mean that God’s Word would come to people from the Book of Mormon which was taken out of the ground at the hill of Cumorah.

9. SPECULATIVE READINGS OF PREDICTIVE PROPHESY: A predictive prophesy is too readily explained by the occurance of specific events, despite the fact that equally committed biblical scholars consider the interpretation highly dubious. Example: The stick of Judah and the Stick of Joseph in Ezekiel 37:15- 23 are interpreted by the Mormons to mean the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

10. SAYING BUT NOT CITING: A writer says that the Bible says such and such but does not cite the specific text (which often indicates that there may be no such text at all). Example: A common phrase “God helps those who help themselves” is not found in the Bible.

11. SELECTIVE CITING: To substantiate a given argument, only a limited number of text is quoted: the total teaching of Scripture on that subject would lead to a conclusion different from that of the writer. Example: The Jehovah’s Witnesses critique the traditional Christian notion of the Trinity without considering the full text which scholars use to substantiate the concept.

12. INADEQUATE EVIDENCE: A hasty generalization is drawn from too little evidence. Example: The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that blood transfusion is nonbiblical, but the biblical data that they cite fails either to speak directly to the issue or to adequately substantiate their teaching.

13. CONFUSED DEFINITION: A biblical term is misunderstood in such a way that an essential biblical doctrine is distorted or rejected. Example: one of Edgar Cayce’s followers confuses the eastern doctrine of reincarnation with the biblical doctrine of being born again.

14. IGNORING ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATIONS: A specific interpretation given to a biblical text or set of text which could well be, and often have been, interpreted in quite a different fashion, but these alternatives are not considered. Example: Erich von Daniken asks why in Genesis 1:26 God speaks in the plural (“us”), suggesting that this is an oblique reference to God’s being one of many astronauts and failing to consider alternative explanations that either God was speaking as “Heaven’s king accompanied by His heavenly host” or that the plural prefigures the doctrine of the Trinity expressed more explicitly in the New Testament.

15. THE OBVIOUS FALLACY: Words like OBVIOUSLY, UNDOUBTEDLY, CERTAINLY, ALL REASONABLE PEOPLE HOLD THAT and so forth are substituted for logical reasons. Example: Erich von daniken says, “Undoubtedly the Ark [of the Covenent] was electrically charged!”

16. VIRTUE BY ASSOCIATION: Either (1) a cult writer a ssociates his or her teaching with those of figures accepted as authoritative by traditional Christians; (2) cult writings are likened to the Bible; or (3) cult literature imitates the form of the Bible writing such that it sounds like the Bible. Example of (1): Rick Chapman list 21 gurus, including Jesus Christ, St. Francis and St. Theresa, that “you can’t go wrong with.” Example of (2): Juan Mascaro in his introduction to the Upanishads cites the New Testament, the Gospels, Ecclesiastes and the Psalms, from which he quotes passages supposedly paralleling the Upanishads. Example of (3): The Mormon DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS interweaves phrases from the Gospel of John and maintains a superficial similarity to the Gospel such that it seems to be like the Bible.

17. ESOTERIC INTERPRETATION: Under the assumption that the Bible contains hidden, esoteric, meaning which is open only to those who are initiated into its secrets, the interpreter declares the significance of biblical passages without giving much, if any, explanation for his or her interpretation. Example: Mary Baker Eddy gives the meaning of the first phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father which art in heaven,” as “Our Father-Mother God, all harmonious.”

18. SUPPLEMENTING BIBLICAL AUTHORITY: New revelation from post biblical prophets either replaces or is added to the Bible as authority. Example: The Mormons supplement the Bible with the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.

19. REJECTING BIBLICAL AUTHORITY: Either the Bible as a whole or texts from the Bible are examined and rejected because they do not square with other authorities – such as reason or revelation = do not appear to agree with them. Example:Archie Matson holds that the Bible contains contradictions and that Jesus himself rejected the authority of the Old Testament when he contrasted His own views with it on the Sermon on the Mount.

20. WORLD-VIEW CONFUSION: Scriptural statements, stories, commands or symbols which have a particular meaning or set of meanings when taken within the intellectual and broadly cultural framework of the Bible itself are lifted out of that context, placed within the frame of reference of another system and thus given a meaning that markedly differs from their intended meaning. Example: The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi interprets “Be still, and know that I am God” as meaning that each person should meditate and come to the realization that he is essentially Godhood itself.

NOTE:

This material comes from the appendix of James Sire’s Scripture Twisting Methods of the Cults, and summarizes his in-depth treatment of each of these points. This book should be part of every Christian’s library

 

Thanks so much ApologeticsIndex.org for this synopsis! Originally Posted here >> Apologetics research resources on religious cults and sects – Scripture Twisting Methods of the Cults.

Skunk Works are Needed

Skunk Works

In 1943, at the height of World War II, the engineers coming from the same schools being taught by the same professors were not producing the technological breakthroughs that were needed. To get faster and better results, Lockheed decided to try something different. The company selected its most creative engineers and put them all in a tent set up at the end of a runway next to a plastics factory in Burbank, California. The engineers were told to think together outside the box on a specific project.

The members of this group began to push boundaries and try new things. Without all the red tape of the standard business bureaucracy, they were able to get things done much faster, usually ahead of schedule, and often with nothing more than a verbal agreement and a handshake.

Skunk WorksThey became known as “skunk works” because of the smell of the plastic factory wafting into the tent. The name came from the Li’l Abner comic strip, and it stuck. Today skunk works has become a technical term in research and development and in the diffusion of innovation. It is widely used in business, engineering, and technical fields to describe a group within an organization given a high degree of autonomy and unhampered by bureaucracy, often tasked with working on advanced or secret projects…. Read the rest here

Excerpted from “Church Transfusion: Changing Your Church Organically From the Inside Out” by Neil Cole and Phil Helfer (Jossey-Bass, © 2012)

Trusting God by Jerry Bridges for Free on Kindle

Just found out that this book by an amazing man-Jerry Bridges–is free on Kindle from Amazon is FREE…for now!
Trusting God by Jerry Bridges

From a bestselling author comes this truly revelatory and Biblically-grounded resource that seeks to explain some of the most difficult questions we often face when confronted with tragedy, loss, and adversity

Originally: $7.99
Free!
Get Deal
Deal ends: Unknown

Some thoughts on Organic Church

Organic Church

Organic Church“We believe that church should happen wherever life happens. You shouldn’t have to leave life to go to church.”

I remember when I was younger (and more idealistic for some silly reason), I wanted every time I got together with friends for us to have a prayer time, or a singing time – worship, basically a time where we touched the heart of the Father. Well, needless to say, it didn’t happen very often. Most people, even my strong Christian friends, weren’t interested in “getting spiritual” in normal every day contexts. But this is what Neil is saying, that church should happen where ever we are.

“Most Christians today are trying to figure out how to bring lost people to Jesus”. (Organic Church by Neil Cole, p.24) Think about this phrase for a second. It sounds great, mainly because we have heard it so many times. Now consider “The key to starting churches spontaneously is to bring Jesus to lost people. We’re not interested in starting a regional church but rather making Jesus available to a whole region.” This makes more sense I believe. Cole talks about how so many of our churches go out of their way to attract people into the building, so that they can hear the message. I would dare to say that people just aren’t interested no matter what we do. They are seeking, but not enough to travel here and there. Taking Christ into their world, where life happens, is what Cole is advocating.

After many circumstances, and times where his heart broke for the young people of California in tears and prayers, he and some friends began to hang out at a local coffeehouse. “We played checkers, chess, or dominoes with the regulars who came to the coffeehouse, and we became part of the crowd. We would listen intently to people’s stories and offer compassionate prayer for those who were hurting. We did not preach at people, but they would often ask us about our spiritual lives….Before long my living room was filled with new life. Rather than move to a larger space, we sent small teams of two or three to other coffeehouses to start other churches.” (p.26)

I don’t want to get too long here, but I really want to quote Cole from page 26-27:

“These churches we were starting were small (avg. 16) and simple. …we valued a simple life of following our Lord and avoiding many of the complexities of the conventional church. Complex things break down and do not get passed on, but simple things are strong and easily reproduced. Ordinary Christians were able to do the extraordinary work of starting and leading churches because the work was simple, the results powerful.

…’We want to lower the bar of how church is done and raise the bar of what it means to be a disciple.’ If church is simple enough that everyone can do it and is made up of people who take up their cross and follow Jesus at any cost, the result will be churches that empower the common Christian to do the uncommon works of God. Churches will become healthy, fertile, and reproductive.

The conventional church has become so complicated and difficult to pull off that only a rare person who is a professional can do it every week. Many people feel that to lower the bar of how church is done is close to blasphemous because the Church is Jesus’ expression of the Kingdom on earth. Because church is not a once-a-week service but the people of God’s family, what they have actually done is the opposite of their intention. When church is so complicated, its function is taken out of the hands of the common Christian and placed in the hands of a few talented professionals. This results in a passive church whose members come and act more like spectators than empowered agents of God’s kingdom.”

Comment – I find we often talk about being empowered agents, but I am beginning to believe that we can talk all we want, but the very structure of North American church hinders and limits the Christian, turning them unintentionally into that “passive church”

Last quote – “The organic or simple church, more than any other, is best prepared to saturate a region because it is informal, relational, and mobile. Because it is more financially unencumbered with overhead costs and is easily planted in a variety of settings, it also reproduces faster and spreads further. Organic church can be a decentralized approach to a region, nation, or people group and is not heavily dependent upon trained clergy.”

___
Reposted from the blog: simmerings of a saxon

Quick Explanation of Neil Cole’s Books

Neil Cole

Our calling at Church Multiplication Associates & @CMAResources is to multiply healthy disciples, leaders, churches and movements.  Neil ColeOur friend, Neil Cole has articulated many of the things we have learned in these areas in his written works.  Below is a listing of those resources authored by Cole and their focal points:

 

Disciples:

Search & RescueIf you want to learn about making and multiplying disciples, then read Cultivating A Life for God  and/or  Search & Rescue [paperback version is titled  “Ordinary Hero“]

* (Practical Resource- Life Transformation Group brochures

 

Leaders:

If you want to learn about growing, releasing and multiplying leaders, then read Organic Leadership 

Organic LeadershipIf you want to lead a group of emerging leaders through advanced doctrinal study so they can be trained in context, and not be shipped off to a seminary, then check out TruthQuest 

If you want to learn about leadership development, learn about your own development, and get a great, practical,  and biblical perspective on the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul, the read Journeys to Significance

If you want to shape a leadership development track for your ministry or network of churches, check out Raising Leaders for the Harvest

*(Practical Resource- Mentoring Guides for coaching leaders)

 

Churches:

Organic ChurchIf you want to be challenged about your view of the church, and think biblically about how to take the church to people, then you should read Organic Church

Church TransfusionIf you are part of a conventional church and want it to become a seedbed of mission and multiplication as the church was meant to be see Church Transfusion

If you want to gain insights that will pave the way for the emergence of fruitful multiplication of disciples, leaders, churches, etc. with a thick resource including 3-ring binder, 8 audio CDs and the Powerpoint, check out Beyond Church Planting by Neil Cole and Bob Logan.

 

* Practical Training- Organic Church Planter’s Greenhouse Story 1 & Story 2

 

Movements:

If you want to read about the top ten questions people ask about organic church, learn from a practitioner inside of a church multiplication movement and get a vision for the future of the church, then check out Church 3.0 

Neil Cole and CMA mentioned in Starfish & Spider

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Starfish & The Spider

 

The Starfish & the Spider- The unstoppable power of leaderless organizations
by Rod Beckstrom & Ori Brafman

Epilogue to the Paperback Edition page 209

 

Watch author Ori Brafman do a Presentation on the concepts at our CMA Conference!

 

Absence of structure…a major asset

The Starfish & The Spider“The absence of structure, leadership & formal organization, once considered a weakness, has become a major asset. Seemingly chaotic groups have challenged & defeated established institutions. The rules of the game have changed.”

 

The Starfish & the Spider- The unstoppable power of leaderless organizations
by Rod Beckstrom & Ori Brafman

 

Watch author Ori Brafman do a Presentation on the Book

Foreigners and Aliens – quote from Roland Allen

Roland AllenThis year is exactly one century since an English missionary named Roland Allen wrote
a ground-breaking book, Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?  In the book, Allen wrote truthfully and prophetically,

“Foreigners can never successfully direct the propagation of any faith throughout a whole country. If the faith does not become naturalised and expand among the people by its own vital power, it exercises an alarming and hateful influence, and men fear and shun it as something alien.”

 

Other Articles on Roland Allen:

The Legacy of Roland Allen: Part One-His Life
The Legacy of Roland Allen: Part Two-His Philosophy of Missions
The Influence of Roland Allen on 21st Century Church Planting
Audio Presentation on Roland Allen by Dr. J.D. Payne

 

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