Any of you who know me have witnessed a major change in my life. God led me out of traditional church three years ago this January. Basically, going to church became repulsive, why? Because I read my bible and believed it. It says to care for the poor, the orphan, and the widow. We cared for the staff, the building, debt, ourselves and well, what was left over we tried to be nice with the crumbs off the table. No fighting, get in line, donate to the food pantry, donate old clothes to the benevolence closet. It was one of the hardest things to do was walk away from organized religion. We somehow lost our way in the organized church. It became less about relationship, more about self-preservation, and a whole lot about pipe dreams that go down like balloons after a party.
Enter a book by Neil Cole, Organic Church. It shares a story about disciples groping their way along the streets of LA into the coffeehouses, tentaments, and the lives of undesirables. Turns out, they found their evangelism amid listening to the voice of God and reading lots of scripture via the tiny LTG’s which are life transformation groups, not unlike what Wesley did in Methodism. In an article on cmaresources.org Cole shares: 20 Books that Shaped Us. In there you will find a treasure of guidance, one in particular stood out, it was by a missionary to China his name is Roland Allen. Allen wrote two books, but the one I’m focusing on is Spontaneous Expansion of the Church and Causes that Hinder It.
He was forced from his work in China twice, once by war, and once by his health. Each time though he found the church functioned and grew exponentially even in his absence. There is a reason for it. You will find many ideas from this book in Organic Church. Organic is just another word for natural or simple. It’s not hard unless you load on a ton of theology and man-made tradition, and well, you get the idea.
There is a curious Greek word Oikos, meaning household. A man’s household is a group in relationship, even before the evangel steps foot in the door. In Luke 10 this man is a person of peace. We are instructed to stay in his house and eat what he provides, and not to go door to door. Bingo. This is a key to winning folks to Christ. Another key is being a person of peace yourself, no agenda other than making disciples to your savior Jesus. We’re not trying to Fill A PEW SUNDAY and win a chicken dinner. We are recommissioning the great commission.
Another great key I’ve learned is that DNA is holy. Don’t mess with the DNA Jesus puts in every believer, it must remain intact. What is that DNA? It’s a potent reproductive tool of the Spirit of God. It is what gives every believer the right and sacred duty of bearing the good news of Jesus. In other words, every Christ follower, is ordained to make more Christ followers. Disciples making disciples. Here is a question for you. Name ten people you have discipled to Jesus. Okay, name five, well, how about one person’s name that you have discipled? Oh wow, you see the problem? We’ve somehow been distracted by church and meetings and buildings and weddings and funerals and being the church and worshipping, that we forgot to make disciples. Isn’t that the pastor’s job? No, it’s the sheep’s job, actually doing the work of the ministry on a very personal level. The pastor is lucky to care for 12. He’s loaded down with responsibilities, he’s busy spinning plates, and somehow things have crept into his job description that don’t belong there. Some of those things will crush him, a load only Jesus can carry because he is God and we’re not.
So what’s up? Making disciples is job 1 in the Kingdom, God will show you how. Remember job 1 includes making disciples that replicate, you must teach them they are carrying precious seed of the kingdom, the DNA of heaven is in them, they are to do the work of the ministry. God is looking for a few good men? No disciples, he’s looking for disciples who make disciples.
In Jesus, Bruce Dickey
PS Cole uses DNA as an acronym, you will see it over and over if you read any of his books, I also recommend Search and Rescue. D Divine truth, N Nurturing relationships, A Apostolic mission. As the institutional church we had D and N down pretty good. The word GO from the lips of Jesus means, you are sent, no one is exempt. The mission will make a church, not the other way around. Jesus kept few secrets, especially from his own. Light shines brightest in the darkness.