Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Organic Leadership, by Neil Cole

I'm reading through Organic Leadership, Leading Naturally Right Where You Are, by Neil Cole, on my Kindle. This book is actually the first real book I purchased to read in this fashion, and in some ways I like reading from a little electronic pad, in other ways I don't. I can't scribble all over the pages...and I would if I could with this book!

Cole challenges a ton of established traditions in our church life, like the distance between "professional" and "lay" ministry, the importance of the Sunday service, the use of too many commentaries and study Bibles, and criticizes simplistic, short devotional guides, calling them "spiritual junk food." Wow! I'm not used to this sort of tone from Cole, but it is definitely food for thought. He rails against the "institutionalization" of the church, and calls for a flattened authority structure, with King Jesus being in charge, and everyone else taking direct orders from Him.

Here are some quotes:

"Personally, I do not think that any teaching from the pulpit can be labeled meat. As long as it is predigested by someone else and then spoon-fed to others, it is milk. We eat meat when we consume the Word ourselves."

"I have heard pastors say that what we do on Sunday mornings is the most important thing we do all week. Such platitudes sound religious, but I do not believe they are true. I think God is far more concerned with how you treat your family, your neighbors, and the strangers on the street than how well dressed, timely, and inspired you are on Sunday morning at church services."

"Pick up your New Testament, open it, and read it as if for the first time. Search the Scriptures. Show me in the New Testament the verses that command us to gather together for a worship service, complete with sermons, announcements (commercials), tithes, and offerings. You will not find any verses that prescribe or even describe such a thing. What you will find are verses, chapters, and entire books dedicated to the church functioning as a spiritual family on a mission to redeem the lost."

"I am not saying that the Bible doesn't teach that we should get together as a family; I am arguing for the exact opposite. We are to be together, but not passively listening to a worship concert and a sermon."

"Most Christians are able to hear God's message only through the voice, mannerisms, and expressions of their favorite Bible teacher. Because their ears are so full of the preacher's voice, cadence, and accent, they cannot even recognize the Holy Spirit's voice."

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