Great Book! I love the non-traditional approach!! I think the core values of inter-personal growth is desperately needed in the American church. We have definitely produced a spectator-performer model of doing church. Sad
A family member had a copy of Viola's "Pagan Christianity" kicking around his library. The title caught my eye so I borrowed it and read it. I was so intrigued that I wanted to read more, so I purchased "Finding Organic Church."
"Finding Organic Church" first lays out a biblical case for why organic churches are the best way to meet as a church, and explains what exactly an "organic" church is. A good deal of the book is focused on the role of a church planter, what queues we can get for that job from the New Testament, and how that role ought to look today. Finally, the book covers many practical details about life in a new organic church.
Viola's case is well thought out, backed up soundly by Scripture, and humbly stated. This is not the book of some charismatic leader peddling a latest-greatest fad to naive Christians. The book is challenging because it asks Christians to give up much of what they know as "church," but it offers a tested and Biblical place to land for those willing to take the leap.
I predict that this book will be for our time and future what Roland Allen's Missionary Methods was for his time and future. The first two parts are a very thorough presentation of how church planting was done in the early church focusing on four key models. It's extremely detailed and packs together not only biblical principles and references but the backing of scholars and practitioners. Every church planter and leader would value this part. The last two parts are for every person who wants to get involved in a more organic form of church. Questions like how do you find others who have the same desire for church in your city, what are the best ways to get started, what are the differences between house church and organic church, the difference between restoration and revolution, how does a new church reach out, and the endless list of nagging questions like what do you do with the children, what about finances and giving, what about having a creed, how do the gifts operate, how do organic churches develop, what are the illnesses they are prone to contracting and the treatments, what are the seasons they will pass through, and many more on the ground questions. There's also a great section for pastors who want to make the switch from institional to organic with practical advice and another for people who feel a call to planting churches.This is a great follow to all of Viola's other books on church. It answers the why, when, and how questions. I also appreciated how the author didn't sound like a know it all, but someone who by trial, error, mistakes, and successes looks back on many years of experience and draws out conclusions, advice, and suggestions.