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Why Organic Church has an Edge on Outreach by Neil Cole

I was asked by a Christian Magazine why Organic Church has an advantage to more conventional church expressions in reaching lost people. Here is my answer.

When we teach about organic church (OC), it is not the kind of church (organic, seeker sensitive, purpose-driven...whatever) that is attractive to lost people, it is Christ, and Christ alone. When we make it about church--what kind of church, what is done at church, how is it done, who is the preacher/singer--we miss the point. Unless we realize that it is Christ in us that makes church anything better than the Kiwanis club we miss the plot. Lost people are not spending their hours trying to figure out how to get to church, or what kind of church they would like. The typical lost person sees only two things that church is good for: marrying and burying, and most are trying to avoid both.

But lost people are curious about Christ (As the Passion of the Christ demonstrated). It is not accidental that the two books that have sold the most recently are both about Jesus Christ--The Purpose-Driven Life and The DaVinci Code. Jesus is on people's minds and in their curiosity. They want to be a part of something that is significant. And, they want to be a part of a close knit family that cares for one another. I believe that our expression of church provides a better opportunity for people to experience those things. Being another spectator on Sunday morning is not enough for most people who have not yet found Christ.

Coming into a living room with a close knit spiritual family where everyone is involved, each praying and singing and sharing their inner lives, is quite amazing for someone who has not learned to trust yet. Then sensing the power of Christ working in and through those people can break any heart. The love we have one for another is a powerful ingredient in evangelism, but sitting in an auditorium listening to a preacher talk about it is not as powerful as being able to actually witness it and experience it first hand. A neighbor nudge for two minutes on Sunday morning is not enough to display God’s power in us.

I have seen toughened street gangsters, weep in the presence of Christ among His people and just pour out confession because of the conviction of Christ. I have seen Palestinian Muslims surrender everything to Christ in the midst of a spiritual family. I have witnessed tough gang assassins surrender to Christ in prayer. Just last week, four fraternity students gave their life to Christ in a meeting at the frat house in front of their peers. Christ in us is powerful, it is the hope of glory. Simply being another anonymous person in a pew is not so powerful, no matter how expressive the music or moving the sermon is.

Of course, another edge that OC has in reaching out is that it is able to go where lost people live life. Rather than being merely another attractional church waiting for lost people to come to it, OC brings Christ to where people are. Church should happen wherever life happens, you shouldn't have to leave life to go to church. That means His church is truly "holy and apostolic" in the fullest meaning of the word...sent by God to the world on a mission.

For me, however, the greatest advantage of OC is that regular Christians are empowered to do the work of the kingdom and are not waiting for the professionals to do it for them. To unleash an army of ordinary Christians empowered with Christ on a sleeping world is my hope and dream. OC can do that. Now, all of us are priests and everything is sacred. To the pure all things are pure. A job at Hewlett-Packard is a holy calling into ministry. All of us are called to ministry. All are ordained. The workplace becomes a sacred calling for the ordinary believer to bring the kingdom of God into a dark place.

Christian leaders are no longer to do the work of the ministry, but to equip the Christians to do the work. Evangelists are not called merely to evangelize, but to equip the saints to do evangelism. Teachers are not only called to teach, but to equip ordinary Christians to learn how to fulfill the great commission and “teach them to observe all that (Christ has) commanded (us).” This is a revolution that will turn church as we know it upside down, and in the process all the passive Christians will be poured out into the world like salt out of a salt shaker. Wow, now that will change the world!

See also the article:  Gardener vs. Warrior Modes of Evangelism by Keith Giles

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