Neil Cole on Stopping Movements

Neil Cole delivered one of the most pointed talks at Exponential.  It is easier to stop a movement than to start one, therefore he taught us how to stop a movement.   Every institutionalized or denominational system was a movement at one time, but they stopped doing something.  We need to identify the pitfalls.

 10 Ways to Stop a Movement

  1. Proactive to Protective – programs and policies to protect the organization
  2. Aggressive Mission to Accumulated Wealth – rise in assets and decrease in risk-taking
  3. Biblical to Non-Biblical – tradition is as important as Biblical objectives
  4. Leadership to Management – just take care of what you have
  5. Volunteer to Employees – Staff a Growing Church
  6. Servant Leadership to Leaders who are Served – protecting positions
  7. Presence of Christ to Policies – boxed in approaches that are “acceptable”
  8. Margins to Mainstream – seeking to influence the influencers, instead of taking the marginalized
  9. Organic to Organizational – gather over plant/send
  10. Flat Structure to Fat Structure – hierarchy

The cure for any illness is death.  Let the institution die if you want a movement.  Every time Cole has helped kill a dying church, it has revived in some way.  Jesus always instructed death as the way to new life.  Of all people on the planet, we should be the ones who are not afraid of death.  Why are we afraid of our churches dying?

The USA Church is okay at addition, good at subtraction and division, but needs to become great at multiplication.  If you couldn’t handle a million converts this year, you don’t have a multiplication based structure.  You’re just hitting the plus sign harder.

What church Multiplication is not.

  • Church planting without multi-generational reproduction. Don’t call it multiplication until you hit the fourth generation.
  • Gathering Christians from other Churches to start a new one. This isn’t even addition, its subtraction.
  • A denominational hub that sends multiple planters. This is just reproducing the institution.

What Multiplication Is

  • Self Perpetuation – has all needed resources to reproduce within. Don’t need external help.
  • Self Propagating – didn’t need external catalyst or inspiration. Inspiration/vision is within.
  • Start with Micro and then go Macro. Don’t try to give birth to full grown adults.
    • Disciples à Leaders à Churches à Movements
    • Church is the product of the great commission, not the means. Don’t plant churches, plant the gospel. Structure is good, but the structure supports the life, not creates it. Structure has no value if there is not a life requiring it.

Upside Down Kingdom: Every disciple is falls little short of the master.  If we keep making disciples of ourselves who make disciples of themselves, we get further and further from the original version.  This is why people like Jesus but not his followers.  We need to work off the master copy.


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