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#3 - A Surprising Proposition: Six Ingredients To Catalyze Movements by Neil Cole

A Good Catalyst is Surprising.

There is a problem with the status quo. Even when you read the words "status quo" you felt some disdain, didn't you? Status quo doesn't stimulate any excitement or creativity. It is the curse word of the new millennium.


The Gospel is all about transformation-change. The Christian life and the status quo are opposites. If I read my Bible correctly, any life that stays the same is not Christian. Nevertheless, so much of the religious world values "not rocking the boat" and maintaining the status quo. We, of all people, should be the ones who not only embrace change-but bring it with us wherever we go. Our reputation, however, is the opposite of that. "Religion" says, Godin in Tribes, "at its worst reinforces the status quo, often at the expense of our faith." [p. 81]

To incite movements we must acknowledge the spot we're in and then set off on an alternative course. At the risk of the obvious: to stay put is to not move. We cannot be a movement and remain in the status quo.

We must present an alternative that is surprising enough to capture the curiosity of others. In Made to Stick, Heath and Heath say, "We need to violate people's expectations. We need to be counterintuitive...we must generate interest and curiosity...by systematically ‘opening gaps' in their knowledge-and then filling those gaps." [p. 16] Christianity is an invitation to launch on a mysterious journey from which we will never return. Our message should be memorable because it is not what was expected. When someone finds an unusual solution to a dreaded problem it is hard to forget. In fact, it becomes hard to keep to yourself.

The Gospel is a solution to death, not just eternal death, but a life slowly dying because of inescapable sin day after day. Freedom from the captivity of sin is Good News worth telling. And it is a surprising proposition that we are set free from death because a perfect proxy, sent from a loving God, died in our place and then rose from the dead! How could we not want to tell people this powerful and surprising idea?

It is a sin to present the Gospel in a boring way. Everything about the Good News is surprising, transforming and should incite movement. The Gospel is not an invitation to walk down an aisle or a sawdust trail; it is an invitation to the adventure of a lifetime! It is an introduction to a journey that will end with great significance and a life lived well. It is an invitation to an intimate relationship with an eternal God who adopts you as his beloved Son or Daughter! The Gospel presents the opportunity to have Christ's intimate presence at all times and in all circumstances. The greatest surprise in all of life is called a mystery by the apostle Paul: it is Christ in you the hope of glory. Who can resist that?

There are six ingredients of a good catalyst that ignites and accelerates movements. Read more about each at the links below.

  1. A Simple Process
  2. A Small Pattern
  3. A Surprising Proposition
  4. A Significant Principle
  5. A Sticky Potential
  6. A Spreading Pathway

Church 3.0 Journeys To Significance

© 2012 Neil Cole
Used with Permission.

Originally Posted on his blog COLE-SLAW


Neil tweets @Neil_Cole













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A Simple Process for Evangelism & Starting Churches

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