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Book Review: Cultivating a Life for God - Neil Cole

I just finished a book by Neil Cole called Cultivating a Life for God. It was a short read with a ton of great insights. Cole has a way of turning a phrase, as well as restating the basics of Christianity in a way that is fresh and insightful. The subtitle of this book is this: Multiplying Disciples Through Life Transformation Groups. He basically lays out a vision and strategy for discipleship that is simple, reproducible and transferable. It focuses on multiplication without being overbearing, as well as helps instill a value for the greatness of God's word without being legalistic. I would whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a simple and effective tool for making disciples that reproduce.

Here are a few of the more memorable parts of the book:

- We cannot cause the growth, only release it. (p. 23)

- Strong disciples make a strong church. Growing disciples make a growing church. (p. 28)

- If disciple-making and multiplying is essential for all, we must find a way to make it available to all so that it can be passed from generation to generation. (p. 33)

- Not all Christians are meant to be leaders, but all are meant to be reproducing disciple-makers. (p. 33)

- When we approach disciple-making, wanting to pass the baton on to succeeding generations, we must refine the process so that it is simple and transferable. (p. 35)

- By combining discipleship with leadership development we eliminate a good percentage of Christians from participation in the Great Commission. (p. 36)

- The church is suffering from a bottleneck of teaching without obedience. (p. 36)

- A second logistical advantage to a group of two or three is that they can meet almost anywhere. (p. 51)

- If we cannot see multiplication at this level (groups of two and three), we will not see it at higher, more complex levels of church life. (p. 51)

- ...I could not find a single verse in all the Bible which commands us to plant and multiply churches. It's just not there! The command that God gave us was to make and multiply disciples, not cell groups or churches. Jesus does want to build His kingdom through church planting and multiplication, but His plan is to do so by multiplying disciples. (p. 52)

- Because the system (of groups of 2 or 3) is simple enough to pass on with one easy description the flame spreads unhindered. Ordinary Christians are empowered to do the most important work any of us can do. (p. 94)

- It is true the the Life Transformation Group system has a high commitment level for a ground floor entry point to the church. Many, if not most, church growth philosophies today try to lower the level of commitment up front so as to attract more people and hopefully woo them into Christianity gradually... When Jesus spoke of an entry point unto salvation and the kingdom of God, He didn't attempt to lower the standard so that more could enter in, He did the very opposite. He said, "If anyone wishes to come after Me let him deny himself, pick up his cross and follow me. He who wishes to save his life shall lose it, and he who is willing to lose his life for my sake, and for the gospel's sake shall keep it." (p. 97)

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