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Search & Rescue: Becoming a Disciple Who Makes a Difference [Hardcover]

By Neil Cole (Author)
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Item description for Search & Rescue: Becoming a Disciple Who Makes a Difference by Neil Cole...

A former California lifeguard, Neil Cole weaves together his personal experiences of saving lives with biblical principles for how to make and multiply disciples.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Baker Books
Pages   240
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.32" Width: 6.52" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   0.98 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 30, 2008
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
ISBN  0801013097  
ISBN13  9780801013096  

Availability  0 units.

More About Neil Cole

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Neil Cole is an experienced and innovative church planter and pastor. He is the founder of the Awakening Chapels, which are reaching young postmodern people in urban settings, and a founder and executive director of Church Multiplication Associates. He is the author of several books including Organic Church and Church 3.0, both from Jossey-Bass.
Neil blogs at

Leadership Network, a division of OneHundredX, seeks to accelerate the impact of 100X leaders. Since 1996, Leadership Network Publications have presented thoroughly researched and practical concepts from leading thinkers, practitioners, and pioneering churches.

Neil Cole was born in 1960.

Neil Cole has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Leadership Networks
  2. Shapevine

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Discipleship
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Search & Rescue: Becoming a Disciple Who Makes a Difference?

Search and Rescue by Neil Cole  Apr 14, 2010
An excellent book with many real life examples of heroes in their own right that truly inspire me to step out of my comfort zone and be a disciple of Jesus that makes a difference.
Newly Acquired  Mar 8, 2010
I recently purchased this text for an upcoming Sabbatical Leave I'll be taking in May/June. It came highly recommended by a personal friend and I've been made aware of its general concepts pertaining to disciple-making.

Looking forward to reading it.
Discipleship IS the key  Sep 25, 2009
I am so impressed with Neil Cole. After seeing him at our denominational spring conference, I became convinced of his direction. God has planted within him a desire for Kingdom growth by following Christ's last words to us- to make disciples. We have gotten off track by promoting programs and increasing church sizes, but we have not nurtured disciples who in turn are capable of multiplying themselves through the Holy Spirit. I can't wait to read his other books.
Great reminder on discipleship fundamentals  Feb 24, 2009
I was introduced to the principles in the 2nd half of the book earlier in my church planting journey. I only wish I paid closer attention back then. I simply didn't have the maturity and perspective to see disciple-making at the core of church planting. Despite having two seminary masters' degrees and being a favored student in my church planting classes, four years into my first planting experience I came to the shocking realization that I didn't know how to make disciples outside of "preach it; program it, and they will come."

Cole's books have been a God-send to me to help me think about disciple-making as Jesus and Paul did it, and also to help me think about biblical values like multiplication and reproducibility. Search and Rescue is his most updated treatise on the fundamentals of disciple-making that provides us with an updated example of his movement's disciple-making tool (the Life Transformation Group) that is being used all over the world. Whether people in urban Western settings to people in the African bush, thousands upon thousands of men and women are using this simple, reproducible tool to make more and stronger disciples everywhere. It seems to me the closest thing to what John Wesley and the Circuit Riders used to disciple those were coming to Jesus en masse: leaderless, simple, obedience-oriented, and reproducible. I see their value, not only as a student of history, theology and mission, but also as a practicing pastor/church-planter. We introduced LTGs organically into our church community and began watching people start to do crazy missional things like ministering to day workers, the homeless, under-performing elementary schools. Cell group material and scads and scads of expository sermons never activated these same people into such action that have been sustained for nearly two years to date.

I wholeheartedly recommend this for anyone who is looking to get back to the basics and learn from someone who is a proven disciple-maker and has learned from some of the best thinkers on disciple-making movements from a biblical and missiological perspective -- be it Roland Allen, Thom Wolf and church planting guru, George Patterson. Anyone looking for the next cool and trendy program or strategy will be utterly disappointed. Anyone looking, however, to launch movements of Jesus-followers that spread like a virus would do well to read this book.
Search & Rescue Struggles to Stay Afloat  Nov 6, 2008

Neil Cole's Organic Church was an overnight success. I have referred back to several times for organic church principles that have shaped Austin City Life. However, Cole's newest book Search and Rescue: Becoming a Disciple Who Makes a Difference struggles to stay afloat.

The hyper-sensitive Calvinist shouldn't judge the book by its cover. This is not an Arminian tirade on Calvinist failures at mission, though recent research appears to support such conclusions. Using the metaphor of "search and rescue", Cole is not trying to make a statement regarding Total Depravity, that we are alive and afloat in our sin, versus dead and drowned in depravity. Rather, Cole uses his lifeguard experience as an illustration of how the church should make disciples, which includes "seeking and saving the lost". And here is his where the book begins to drown.

Part 1

The book is littered with pictures and inundated with stories from Cole's lifeguard days in California. I'm all for a good illustration, but Cole takes this way too far, dominating the entire book. Not only is this filler, it obscures some of his helpful comments on discipleship. In addition to riding the wave of lifeguard stories, in the first half of the book, Cole also attempts to surf 2 Timothy for discipleship principles and insights. Unfortunately, he offers mainly superficial observations and poor exegesis, particularly his comments on why we should not follow the reward structure of farmer/athlete/soldier in 1 Timothy 2 at a motivation for discipleship. He doesn't seem to get Christian Hedonism. However, it's great to see him addressing the notion of motivation in discipleship, in which he deconstructs religion and other forms of external motivation, pointing to the gospel as "that which transforms the soul" (97). You can skip the first four chapters of the book and go straight to chapter five, where he develops his insights from Organic Church on building the church by multiplication, not addition. If this is new to you, its worth reading about in either book.

Part 2

The second half of Search and Rescue is self-admittedly a rework of Cultivating a Life for God, which rehearses the story and structure of Life Transformation Groups (LTGs). These groups of 2-3 are formed around three practices: 1) Confession of sin 2) Reading lots of Scripture 3) Praying for the lost. They are simple, reproducible, and strategic. Before I came across Cole, I had been doing something similar with friends for several years. I really like the simplicity and reproducibility of the LTG concept. Cole has inspired me to implement my own version--Fight Clubs--in our church. A summary of LTGs is found on page 175.


Cole's strength is questioning the status quo. He doesn't do a lot of that in this book. However, when he does it is refreshing and edgy. Like saying that we slow down the obedience of disciples when we run them through content heavy discipleship material. Or that the Early Church met in accountability groups. Or that when pastors talk about Greek and Hebrew from the pulpit they separate themselves from the flock and distance the church from the Bible.

All in all, the book isn't worth buying, especially if you have read Cole's other stuff. I've shared most of the nuggets and purchased it in hope of finding much more. In fact, the richest paragraph in the book comes from Alan Hirsch's preface:

It was Oliver Wendell Holmes who said, "I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity the other side of complexity." Simple answers, offered without taking into account the vast intricacies of human life in an infinite universe, are close to being out right worthless to any human being in need of real truth that addresses real, live situations. Simplicity this side of complexity simply doesn't fit or resonate with our condition and is not worth a dime. However, when simplicity presents itself beyond the complexities that we all face, and it takes into account the nuanced and often perplexing situation we find ourselves in, the these truths are worth all that we own.


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