Not long ago, I came across Nathan who has a blog called “Joined to Him.” He is writing a series of posts called “Why I’m Pro-Organic Church.” (Here are “Part 1,” “Part 2,” and “Part 3.”) I don’t know if there will be more parts to Nathan’s series, but these three provide a great definition and description of what organic church means.
In the first post of the series, Nathan describes his own journey. I’ve always found it interesting and encouraging that many people have started from very different places but have come to very similar conclusions concerning the church.
At one point, Nathan describes some of the questions he started asking:
While this was happening I was asking myself many questions about church. I was asking if the modern day church was the church Christ died to obtain and Paul died to plant and establish. I wondered why we did church the way we did? Why we have a pastor, Sunday service, offering, pews, ten minutes of singing followed by an hour long sermon delivered by the same person each and every week? Where did this all come from? Is there something more?
In the second post of the series, he defines what he means by organic church. This is extremely important, especially for the audience that Nathan is writing for (his friends and family primarily).
Here is part of Nathan’s definition:
By “organic church,” I mean a non-traditional church that is born out of spiritual life instead of constructed by human institutions and held together by religious programs. Organic church life is a grass roots experience that is marked by face-to-face community, every-member functioning, open-participatory meetings (opposed to pastor-to-pew services), non-hierarchical leadership, and the centrality and supremacy of Jesus Christ as the functional Leader and Head of the gathering.
Finally, in the third post of the series, Nathan describes several practical aspects related to organic church. This is also extremely important, because it takes “organic church” out of the concept or ideal phase and puts feet to it.
For example, here is one of Nathan’s “practical characteristics”:
The second practical characteristic is that the meeting is open and every member can function as they are lead by the Christ the Head, through the Spirit. This is in line with the early church gatherings spoken about in 1 Cor. 14, where every member could bring a song, hymn, teaching etc. to the gathering for the building up of the church. Practically, members might write songs together or alone, exalting Christ or an aspect of His riches. The song would be brought and sung together. Songs might happen spontaneously. People might write poems glorifying Christ. Somebody might feel burdened to bring a teaching to the group, etc. All things are done for the building up of the church. Each member is allowed to function in their God given roles. Each member is an active priest in the priesthood of all believers.
I encourage you to read all of Nathan’s posts. You may not agree with everything he writes, but I think you’ll find much to encourage you in your own journey with Jesus Christ and among your brothers and sisters in Christ.