Okay, so I stole the title of this post from a site that promotes “organic” foods. But, it’s something to think about concerning the church also.
In his latest post, Lionel at “A View from the Woods” explains “Why I Chose the ‘Organic’ Way.” He gives us three reasons: 1) leadership, 2) learning, and 3) relationships. After explaining why each reason led him to a more “organic” expression of the church, he wraps up with this:
Leadership, learning and relationships amongst family should happen like a family. We are not an education institution, an entertaining institution, or a networking institution. I am not saying these things donâ€™t occur when we meet, we are a family. We are a group of unlikely people, baptized into the Spirit to become one people. We have this thing that is unique to every other people group. It is called â€œfellowshipâ€, it is a metaphysical union that supersedes all earthly relationships. We are beginning everlasting life together and we are to express Godâ€™s life in one another. I do understand the benefits of organized church life. I understand having the dynamic pastor, the nice buildings, the nice worship team, the pristine teaching, the polished liturgy. I do and sometimes I miss it; however, I will never trade what we have today for anything else. I believe what we do is too important and means to much as we express ourselves to the world. What happens in the average church on Sunday is no different than what happens 5 days a week on my job, shallow relationships, a sense of togetherness with no real fellowship and so forth and so on. I want to know and be known by those who I will spend everlasting life with, the biggest reason is so that I may look more like Him.
I don’t think any believer would disagree with Lionel that leadership, learning, and relationships are important for the church. Like Lionel, I prefer more organic, and less structured expressions of the church. However, I think, we can find “organic” and healthy expressions of these things within more organized, institution-based churches.
But, I also think that as we pile on organization and structure and programs and etc., we tend to lose the organic (person-to-person) nature of the church. Instead of focusing on building each other up toward maturity in Christ, we tend to focus on building up our organization, protecting our programs, and defending our structures.
Meanwhile, the people – especially the little people who don’t matter as much in our organization, programs, and structures – tend to get pushed to the wayside. They become consumers and customers instead of partners and brothers and sisters.
But, of course, it doesn’t have to be like this. I know that many beautiful, healthy, Christ-honoring relationships are built and are grown in the midst of organized and structured churches and programs.
So, what is my point? Should we all (like Lionel) seek “organic” churches? Not necessarily.
Instead, we should all seek organic, natural – super-natural – relationships with other brothers and sisters, regardless of what structure or organization the church takes.
And, if the organization or structure gets in the way of those relationships? Well, just remember, the church is not the organization nor the structure. We must focus on the people. When the organization or the structure gets in the way, we must be willing to put it aside, or to step around it.