Monday, April 16, 2007

Organic Church

Has traditional church evolved into its maximum potential? Is there a better way of spending money than theater style seating, 5,000 lumens LCD projectors and state of the art sound systems? How is a local preacher going to compete with the best sermons in the world available through technology? How big of a building is big enough?

Are people being better equipped and better connected because of the improved technologies?

It there a revolution going on that scares the bewilikers out of pastors who make a living off of the gospel?

Is there a new way of being church?

Frank Viola offers one example of this revolution using the term Organic Church. Here is an excerpt:

Organic Church. I’ve been using this term for around fifteen years now. Today it’s become somewhat of a clay word, being molded and shaped to mean a variety of different things by a variety of different people.

T. Austin-Sparks is the man who deserves credit for this term. Here’s his definition:

God's way and law of fullness is that of organic life. In the Divine order, life produces its own organism, whether it be a vegetable, animal, human or spiritual. This means that everything comes from the inside. Function, order and fruit issue from this law of life within. It was solely on this principle that what we have in the New Testament came into being. Organized Christianity has entirely reversed this order.

The phrase, "the organic expression of the church" was a favorite of Sparks’. I’ve yet to find a better phrase to improve upon it.

By "organic church," I mean a non-traditional church that is born out of spiritual life instead of being constructing 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. Put another way, organic church life is the experience of the Body of Christ. In its purest form, it's the fellowship of the Triune God brought to earth and experienced by human beings.

Neil Cole has authored an interesting book titled “Organic Church”. Here’s an interview in which he discusses what he means by this term.

No comments: