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Church Transfusion: Changing Your Church Organically--From the Inside Out Hardcover – September 19, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1118131282 ISBN-10: 1118131282 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews Review

Featured Guest Review: Q&A with Neil Cole, author of Church Transfusion: Changing Your Church Organically--From the Inside Out

Neil Cole

Q. Why is the organic church movement still so important?

A. Christianity is still fraught with pollutants. If we do not purify the people of God from the institutions of men that keep them encased in artificial mechanisms, then we will never be able to see transformation of neighborhoods and nations with the power of the Gospel.

Q. What would you say is at the heart of the organic church movement?

A. We have always declared that the heart of the organic church movement, indeed all of church, is what we call the DNA of the body of Christ. For us the DNA stands for Divine Truth, Nurturing Relationships and Apostolic Mission. So at the very raw center of our movement is love and how we relate to God, one another and the world around us.

Q. What’s the most crucial ingredient for a traditional congregation that wants to make the move toward being more organic?

A. The way you lead in a man-made, top-down organization and the way you catalyze the outward spread of influence in a movement are not only different but are actually polar opposites. Everything the leader has learned to date about how to succeed in the institution must be questioned and replaced with a new sense of identity and practice. We have devoted several chapters to this topic.

Q. What three pieces of advice would you give to pastors and congregations that are drawn to an organic church model?

1) Don’t try to change a church corporately with a program. Implementation of real change must come from the heart of the disciples not the staff offices or a pulpit.
2) Allow a new pilot project on the side to thrive and let that group of people have contagious influence over the rest of the church. Protect it from the people who will see it as a threat.
3) Start with planting the Good News of Christ’s DNA in a few disciples that will make more. Let the health of a few drive the change rather than a top-down approach that never really infiltrates the hearts of the disciples.

Q. If church leaders only did one thing to receive the transfusion you talk about in your book, what would that be?

A. Death: to yourself as a leader, and for the church. Yikes, does that sound too harsh? Well, if it does, that is only an indication of how far removed we actually are from the Gospel. We are supposed to be a people for whom death has no sting, the fact that it is so feared and threatening is a symptom of a very serious problem. Jesus clearly said that if we cling to our lives we will lose them and if we lose them for the Gospel’s sake we will gain them. We believe this applies to us as individuals and as ecclesia.

From the Inside Flap

Many churches are striving to turn things around, to be more relevant, and to have a greater impact on the lives and communities around them. They look for a new program, better staff, a different worship style, or updated strategy, but find that these changes only seem to increase costs and frustration levels. Just as our life is in our blood, the life for Christ's body is in His blood. Changing a church is more than setting a new goal or direction. Churches need more than an organizational transition; they need a full transfusion of Jesus' blood—His life—within every disciple. Anything less will perpetuate more of the dysfunction and unhealthy church practices that have already plagued them for too long. In short, churches need the DNA of Jesus' lifeblood. Church Transfusion will help leaders of any church to discover how to release a healthy missional DNA into the hearts of its disciples.

In Church Transfusion, Neil Cole (author of Organic Church, Church 3.0, andJourneys to Significance) and his coauthor and ministry partner, Phil Helfer, first point out that change is possible with God, presenting many different examples of churches that have experienced this kind of life-giving transfusion. The second half of the book lays out some of the practical considerations for those who want to release real organic health within their churches.

Where Cole's Church 3.0 painted a broad picture of organic movements, Church Transfusion gives practical help to transfuse health and life so that a church can enter into the rapid movement that God is unleashing. The content will be helpful whether you are pastor of an established church or wanting to revitalize a network of small organic churches. Church Transfusion is a powerful, practical, and creative follow-up to the bestselling Organic Church.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (September 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118131282
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118131282
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #654,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Ward on October 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Every Christ-centred church prays for revival. Usually, they are imagining a Billy Graham style revival - crowds flooding to hear a dynamic preacher proclaim the "good news"; people moved by the message and coming forward to make "decisions for Christ"; churches filled with new converts the following weekend. I grew up in a church full of Godly people who earnestly prayed to see this kind of revival happen in their lifetime.

There's a revival happening, and it doesn't look anything like they imagined. If anything, it's nearly the negative image of their vision. It started slowly and quietly, but it's starting to gain momentum. And it's turning the church upside down.

Neil Cole and Phil Helfer's new book, "Church Transfusion", paints a picture of stark contrasts between church-as-it-is and church-as-it-could-be. Some churches may find it a challenging and confronting read, but they can't miss the hope, inspiration and passion that these two men have, and the stories of radical change and transformation in real churches worldwide.

The book is sprinkled liberally with high contrast word pairs. Churches are called to shift their thinking from big to small (disciples, not crowds); from fast to slow (multiplication, not addition); from a business to a family (don't follow worldly models for success); from dependency to detox (move away from a codependent relationship with leaders). Leaders are encouraged to move from management to engagement; from position to submission; from control to order.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ed Waken on December 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
If you thought Neil Cole was about house church, this book will change your perspective. The principles of organic ecclesiology are laced throughout this book and are easily applied to any church model (conventional, mega, legacy, cell etc). One of the major contributions of Neil Cole to the church is the ability to take profound principles and make them simple so anyone can do them. When this is coupled with Phil Helfer's shepherding experience of leading a conventional 60 year old church that has a very organic soul, the practical principles and applications pop to life with vibrant conviction and cost.

Church Transfusion has several mouth punching, honest realities that churches and her leaders need to face if real change and subsequent impact is to occur in our culture. Church Transfusion shares many helpful and practical contrasts between what the church has been and what the church can transfuse towards. These helpful contrasts will stimulate deeper conversations with amongst church leaders to seek Jesus and see where He wants any particular church to adjust.

There are several case studies of churches that have transfused from more conventional principles to being organic in their principles. The divergence of models within these case studies is helpful to see that there is proof to what Helfer and Cole have written.

One the most helpful contributions of this book is its look at leadership and reducing the maturing of believers to asking them to 'Listen to Jesus and do what He says'. Helfer and Cole take a good bit of pages to talk about helping people understand and live out the fact that they are equally connected to the only Head of the Church, Jesus Christ.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Darren Cronshaw on September 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Neil Cole and Phil Helfer are founders of Church Multiplication Associates, an organic church planting movement that has planted thousands of churches in more than fourty countries and trained 50,000 people in church planting principles. They are well known for their championing of reproducing healthy disciples, leaders, churches and movements. But their interest is not just in newly planted "simple churches". Cole was a pastor of an inherited church for eight years, and Helfer has pastored the same medium-sized traditional-looking church for the last two decades (described as "a church with a traditional skin and an organic soul"). Their heart is to cultivate organic principles in all sorts of churches. Their agenda is not to turn existing churches into house churches, but to help any and all models of church become simpler, more organic and focused simply on disciple-making.

Contemporary missional literature has helped leaders be aware of the disconnection between church and culture and the need for change and new models. Many leaders and churches accept the need for change. But they are often unsure how to process a transformational journey in existing churches without undue bloodshed. "It's far easier to give birth than to raise the dead" say church planting advocates, but God is a God of Easter and Resurrection as well as Christmas and birth. The Western world needs many new church plants to reach all sorts of sub-cultural groups, but we also need help with `re-planting' existing churches that are not living up to their calling.

Cole and Helfer reframe revitalisation not as a set of organisational steps and transitions, but about a transfusion of new life and missional purpose into a church's DNA.
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