Brief Book Review of Organic Leadership, by Neil Cole

Title of Book: Organic Leadership: Leading Naturally Right Where You Are, (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2009)

Overview: Cole suggests that the division between the clergy and the laity is not only unnecessary it is harmful to the church. Cole does not say that we should abandon the current system (p. 36, 66) but he advocates raising up leaders from within and giving them both freedom and responsibility to express their priesthood as believers. His contention is that leaders will only emerge and develop if present leaders give them room to express their uniqueness and opportunity to develop their skills. The current pattern of leadership development is too controlling according to Cole. There is a freshness to Neil’s writing and the book represents a maturing of his thinking from Organic Church.  (Portions adapted from


Critique: This book had much less of the “incendiary-bomb-throwing-texture” that some in the “organic church” camp seem prone to with the exception of chapter 5 which was filled with overstatements and either/or statements that were logically unnecessary (see the last paragraph on page 92 or the paragraph beginning with “In chapter 12 …” for examples).


  1. Use Organic Leadership to train elders and house church pastors in a cluster.
  2. Look for and pray for God to raise up leaders from the harvest for the harvest (Luke 10:2)
  3. Assign it for reading and discussion.
  4. Use the 18 movies quoted as illustrations as part of the starting point for the teaching time with the men.
  5. Add the third quote below to your LTG (Life Transformation Group) process.

Best Quotes: “It is dangerous when the institution becomes the leader’s source of identity and purpose.” (p. 34)

“It will cost us to break the cycle of dysfunction in the church, but it is the only way for God’s people to gain the freedom necessary to carry the kingdom of God into the world.” (p. 41)

“1.   When will Christ be enough?
2.   What will it take for the Spirit of Christ to be the most noticeable thing about you?
3.   How can you cooperate with the Spirit’s stripping process?
4.   In light of Philippians 2, what will you begin to look for in the people around you, and how will this affect the way you respond to them?” (p. 201)

3 thoughts on “Brief Book Review of Organic Leadership, by Neil Cole

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.