Features & Articles - Church & Church Planting

Article Search

Why Organic Churches Will Continue to Make Sense, Particularly in Multihousing Settings by Ed Stetzer

We recently hosted another meeting of the Church Planting Leadership Fellowship here in Nashville.

One of the speakers for the event was Neil Cole. I've written about Neil on the blog in the past as well as in the book 11 Innovations in the Local Church (with Elmer Towns and Warren Bird).

Neil's strategy for church planting is one that runs countercultural to the typical American model-- large start, rented facilities, band, etc. Instead of duplicating Sunday morning worship experiences, Neil advocates the creation of simple, organic house churches that can multiply rapidly. His focus is not on the weekly worship experience as much as it is on daily disciple development.

For Neil, that simplicity boils down to having the right DNA in a "church":

D--Divine Truth
N--Nurturing Relationships
A--Apostolic Mission

This method of church multiplication and church planting has been very successful overseas, but it not as well known (or impactful, I think) here.  I think one of the more likely places that organic churches might take root is in the urban centers of the U.S.

So, I thought it interesting to find former megachurch pastor Francis Chan now engaged in planting such churches.

Many of you know of Francis through his books Crazy LoveForgotten God, andErasing Hell or through his BASIC DVD series.

He served as pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, Calif., until just last year. After taking some time off in 2010 and 2011, Francis has landed in San Francisco and is working to start a church planting movement in the inner city through organic communities.



Chan may use different terminology than Neil Cole, but the premise is the same - to bring life-change through small, organic communities that live out the gospel daily with a focus on discipleship rather than large worship gatherings.

You might find interesting a panel I moderated with Chan, Cole, and Dave Gibbons that touches on these issues:

Francis Chan, Dave Gibbons, Neil Cole Panel with Ed Stetzer [VERGE 2010 Main Session] from Verge Network

In his book Organic Church, Cole writes:

Instead of bringing people to church so that we can bring them to Christ, let's bring Christ to people where they live. We may find that a new church will grow out of such an enterprise, a church that is more centered in the life and the workplace, where the gospel is supposed to make a difference...What would it be like if churches emerged organically, like small spiritual families born out of the soil of lostness, because the seed of God's kingdom was planted there? These churches could reproduce just as all living and organic things do...We must take Christ into people's lives, and it must be in the context of relationships.

Relationships matter to God. They matter to people as well. And in a multihousing context where relationships can be easily formed and quickly grown, organic churches sown with gospel seeds and watered through gospel-centered discipleship can produce gospel fruit even in the hardened soil of urban population centers.

©2011 Ed Stetzer

Originally posted on Ed Stetzer.com here
Ed tweets @EdStetzer
Used with permission.

Related Articles:

Ed Stetzer's Interview with Neil Cole on Journeys To Significance
The Shirtless Guy & Why it Makes Me Think of Neil Cole by Ed Stetzer
Video Interview by Ed Stetzer with Francis Chan, Neil Cole & Dave Gibbons

Making Disciples is the Key to Movements by Ross Rohde
Make Disciples Like the Apostles Did | Video by George Patterson
Making and Multiplying Disciples | Video by Neil Cole

<< Back to Features and Articles

Featured Article

Discipleship: Copies of the Original
by Chris Suitt

We must start helping people learn how to stay focused on and living in the presence of Jesus all day long...more


To submit an article for consideration on our website, send an email HERE with the subject line "Article for CMA website".

facebook logo
Facebook Page
CMAResources Twitter

CMA Logo

Join Our E-Newsletter List

Sign up today to receive updates on happenings from CMA

Sign Up Now

See the Archives of past e-newsletters HERE


Primal Fire cover

Primal Fire

by Neil Cole

Primal Fire is a book that any Christian can read and find helpful in their calling to serve Jesus. It is a paradigm shifting work that will affect the way we understand ourselves and how we relate to one another in Christ's body...more

MP3 Downloads

MP3 Downloads - Only $.99

Helpful teachings on many facets of organic church!

More than 40 different recordings from some of the finest practitioners in our movement...browse them all


Cultivating E-Book Cover

Cultivating a Life for God

by Neil Cole

The best selling book by Neil Cole, offered in E-Book format is now FREE for a LIMITED TIME! This clarion call to the work of disciplemaking and provides profound and practical help for any who would step up to the task of making disciples...more