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Finding Organic Church: A Comprehensive Guide to Starting and Sustaining Authentic Christian Communities Paperback – September 1, 2009
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The author of "Pagan Christianity?" (with George Barna), "Reimagining Church," and the bestselling "From Eternity to Here" has written a detailed manual on how to start and sustain an organic church. Everything from what to do with the children, to the developmental stages of church growth, to the diseases of an organic church and their cures are all covered in this comprehensive volume. Church planting principles for organic styled churches are packed together with the author's practical experience of living in and starting such churches. Each chapter is full of advice, outlining the unique problems that such churches will face and their solutions. Church planters of all types will benefit from this book as well as those wishing to explore an alternative way of church gathering. Christian Book Reviews, 2009 --Christian Book Reviews
A Book Long Overdue
In my opinion, this book has been long overdue. For many years we have needed a book that draws both from the New Testament and current practical experience in the areas of church planting and sustaining. Some very helpful books from the last century were Watchman Nee's "The Church and the Work" and Roland Allen's "Missionary Practices: St. Paul's or Ours'?" which are both quoted in Viola's new work. However, what has been needed is a fresh look with current real-life experience in this arena. We have needed someone to give modern day language within the context of what God is doing today. Frank Viola does just that in "Finding Organic Church." He skillfully draws from both the New Testament and over twenty-one years of experience planting and working with New Testament style churches. This piece of work will be invaluable to anyone who seeks to be involved in such churches and especially those who feel called by God to plant them. The book is divided into four main parts:
* Planting the Seed - Biblical Principles for Church Planting
* Tilling the Ground - Answers to Questions
* Cultivating the Soil - Practical Steps for Beginning
* Pulling the Weeds - Health and Development
In all of these parts, Viola takes the biological (organic) view of the church, as given in the New Testament, and weaves that theme into all of his points. Then he dives into each one of those areas that include: The need for itinerant church planters, God's way of planting churches, objections and questions, practical help for meetings and community life, the stages of an organic church, the seasons of an organic church, the diseases of an organic church, and how a worker cares for an organic church. This book thoroughly covers the topics of finding, planting, and sustaining organic expressions of the church. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is truly a treasure that is chock full of resources and helpful to anyone involved in or interested in God's way of planting and developing His church on the earth today. - Rebuilders, 2009 --Rebuilders, 2009
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says 'organic church'. There's a lot of other people using the terms and one is almost forced to define them to make sure you are talking about the same thing. ( organic church may or may not be "house church".. and it definitely isn't "simple church"... or some other small break-a-way (from institutional) type of church.
For those who have recently started down the road of 'organic church' .. or have been in it for awhile, this book is full of Frank's own experience in this area. The Church meeting is for Him.. and should be God-centered as opposed to man-centered. The mission of the Church should reflect God's eternal purpose in Christ and not just be focused on human needs... The life of the Church should come directly from Him and not be fueled by programs or traditions and should result in true NT community and Body Life 7 days a week... She should look like a loving Family to anyone looking in.. and on and on... Frank Viola does a great job of offering suggestions and directions that might prove helpful in your situation as you learn to pursue Him corporately!
A long, deeeeeep exhale of relief now envelops me, as I finally feel I have the confidence and firepower to humbly entertain Frank's pleas for "the revolution" he mentions in closing the book. My heart is stirred, my mind is prepared, my soul is happy, and my feet are ready to walk it out... in loving experience of our Savior's fulness and majesty, now to be realized by His Bride.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all you've said, written and done, Frank. And for making it simple enough for the "no longer church-ians, but Christ-ians" to not only grasp, but prayerfully entwine their church-lives around "in a new and living way." --You rock, dude!
There are other extremely significant spiritual principles laid out in the first few chapters of the book related to the restoration of true apostolic workers, and biblical church planting methods. In a world today with endless missionary/evangelistic methods that have probably touched us all at one point or another, Viola finally comes to draw the line between our ways and God's ways of raising up churches and church planters. Even though I have read the book of Acts and the Epistles many times before, I somehow failed to see/understand the apostolic activities of the 1st century. Something `of old' is being dug up and restored today.
Finally, this book redefines the meaning of the word `practical'. I have never read a book so practical that it even suggests the optimal room temperature for a house church meeting! Believe me, you won't be left stranded with spiritual principles and questions like "How do we do this?" or "How do we start?" Viola gives us a lot of help in actually finding organic church life as the book is so appropriately titled.
One of the lines that impacted me the most occurs in chapter 19 which reads: "If you focus on the church, you will get division. But if you focus on Christ and embrace His cross, you will get the church."