Neil Cole’s most recent book (2012) is “Church Transfusion: Changing your Church Organically From the Inside Out.”
Let me first say that, as with all of Neil’s books, it is filled with many quotable insights (see below) that make the book worth reading. Even as he looks at the prospect of changing traditional church systems into organic, missional forces, he maintains a sharp and clear focus on the themes he laid out in Organic Church and Organic Leadership.
That said, tackling the question of whether churches can shed their institutional frameworks in order to function organically is a bit (to me) like asking if water can be turned into wine. We know it can happen, after all Jesus did it. In the same way, we know churches can be ‘transfused’ with new life, but… oh how challenging.
To Neil’s credit, he does not water down this challenge as he states that churches wanting a truly organic transfusion will have to:
- See it
- Want it
- Pray for it
- Pay for it
- Do it
The last two will require (in this writer’s opinion) a commitment that probably few will make, but for those who do this book will be an invaluable guide.
Some Neil Cole-isms from Church Transfusion:
“It is time to abandon the domestic faith of suburban consumer Churchianity to live a life of risk for the love of a Savior who left heaven to live among the poor and marginalized people of a backward and oppressed nation.”
“He did not hang out in safe places. I imagine that today you would be more likely to find Jesus in a gay bar than at a church service.”
“Why would you want to give up the daily miracle of God’s actual presence and leading, a presence that parts oceans and causes water to flow from rocks or breaks the political oppression of Pharaoh? Why would we want to be like everyone else on the planet when we could live a supernatural life of love every day?”
“When a church starts to accumulate things and hold on to them as prizes worth defending or preserving, they will quickly find that their affection and provision is not found in Christ but in the maintenance and management of possessions and property.”
“Resurrection power is available only to the person or church that is willing to die.”
“Churches were never meant to become providers of spiritual goods and services to consumers, even if there are many who appear more than eager to buy.”
“Have the people of God been divided between those who provide services and those who pay to have them provided? Absolutely! May God have mercy on us all!”