I just wanted to share some comments on Neil Cole’s Ten Essential Principles from his book, “Church 3.0: Upgrades For the Future of the Church." My notes in red.
1. It is decentralized; no central control center must approve all decisions. Everyone is empowered with the work so that the movement spreads to the outskirts spontaneously without needing permission or support.
This is so vital and so difficult because the nature of humans and organizations is to contain and control. Kingdom life IS organic life IS under the impetus of the Spirit who “blows where He wants to.”
2. It is composed of self-replicating units of people at every level of development—disciples, leaders, churches, and even movements themselves. Every unit of church life must be capable of reproducing itself without needing persuasion, manipulation, or programs from the outside.
This means that disciples are finding their source of life and intimacy in Jesus. If our life is coming from any other source (the need for success, the approval of others, etc), then it will turn in on outside and fail to naturally reproduce.
3. It has minimal organizational structure that is dictated by the life of the church, not the other way around. We say, “Don’t organize it until you have an ‘it’ to organize … and even then, go slow.”
There is a place for structure but, as stated, it must support the organic life that is taking place not dictate to it.
4. It does not depend on outside resources. All resources for the harvest are found in the harvest. Part of what a CMM [church multiplication movement]does is redeem what was stolen from God by the Enemy. All that is necessary for a harvest can be found in the harvest.
The greatest hindrance I see in two-third’s world countries is church models that require money (buildings and staff) and that are therefore dependent on outside resources. The church that Jesus birthed does not, in and of itself, require finances to impact and change the world.
5. It is driven by ordinary Christians who have been transformed by God and who cannot help but share the Good News. Absolutely essential, this is the fuel of the spreading movement.
6. It is relationally linked rather than corporately or organizationally bound. It is not an accepted application and dues that hold these churches together, but relationships. They are not bound in dependence on one another; nor are they independent— they are interdependent.
Formal organization creates hierarchy and control which, by definition, constricts the natural multiplication of living entities.
7. It is characterized by reproduction at all levels simultaneously. This reproduction develops first in the smallest unit of church life and then spreads throughout, ultimately reaching the global scope of a movement.
I believe the quality of reproduction, while not a model, is a principle of life that can look many different way, but is an essential part of any living thing. Which the church is and must always be.
8. It begins its momentum with the spiritual, before the strategic. Personal transformation precedes community transformation.
I believe there is an important blending of personal and community transformation that is at the very heart of the Gospel as per point number ten below. Nevertheless, I do agree that personal transformation, with the right DNA does lead to community transformation and not the other way around.
9. It moves evangelism from individual conversions to group conversions. Entire households, social webs, and tribes come to Christ rather than individuals.
Taking Christ’s life into every social web of life is the key to seeing our world changed as opposed to dragging people out of their social webs into our Christian-ghetto clubs.
10. It is dedicated to having kingdom life touch the domains of society and culture, not just individual lives. The people of such a movement represent Christ’s kingdom incarnationally throughout all parts of society.
The Gospel is, by definition, a Kingdom, wholistic, life-changing, community-changing force. May we unleash it in its full destiny upon the earth!