There is a lot of buzz going around these days about being organic, but what does it mean? What exactly do we mean when we say we are organic, or that we wish to be organic? Is it in our structure, our relationship or our discovery? To answer this question we have to first understand what organic is. Organic is the natural growth path that something takes, but it is not free of system or organization.
Today the church finds itself looking to be organic; it looks toward this in an attempt to fix itself. The attitude seems to be: “if I can only be more organic that will fix the problem. Unfortunately being organic isn’t a quick fix for anything, in fact it may not even be a fix at all. But wait you say, “you seem like you would be an organic fellow.” And to that I say yes I am, but being organic is not the fix.
There are very serious heart issues that are tied into being organic. One cannot just simply decide that they are going to be organic, without having thought through what that means. Just as a tiger cannot decide that it is going to be a puma, or more drastically a gazelle neither can an institution decide we are going to be organic.
Why is it that this is so? There is a significant strain of thought that follows each way of life. First as an institution churches look toward programs to fix problems. Sure there may be good intentions behind the programs, but they are programs nonetheless. Programs that tend to be very rigid and can only take people so far because they are so limited in their design and thinking.
Second, an institution does not see beyond itself. This is often the hardest pill to swallow in the church world because we like to think we are doing kingdom work, but do we really know what that means? Most American churches do not look at kingdom growth, but toward self-growth. The question often is how many people can I get in the doors of my church rather than how many people can we introduce to the Kingdom of God. The answer to this question is often muddied by the fact that we are doing this for the kingdom, but are we really? What if those people go somewhere else? What if the people you are trying to reach go to another church? The American church finds itself becoming very territorial about people rather than joyful that people are coming to the kingdom.
Organic churches have a much different stream of thought. To truly be an organic church means to grow without restraint, not looking to programs but to the natural relationships that come from being of one mind in Christ (Phil 2.1-2). This is not to say that being organic is abandoned of systems, God did not create any organism that exists outside of a system. It is to say that the systems that make up the organism exist to promote growth, not hinder it.
Organic churches look to expand, even beyond itself if need be. There are times that seeds find themselves in places beyond the reach of the main organism, to which they grow and begin to expand themselves. Each organism is working with the same goal in mind under the same charge, and eventually come together and see a greater movement take place. Because there is one God and Father of all over all through all and in all to which we live under (Eph 4.6).
This moves us to work for one Kingdom, not our kingdom but His kingdom. Our heart moves from see “our church grow” to the church growing. Being organic is allowing the Holy Spirit to truly move in our hearts to do something, and then doing it. As organic churches we look for opportunities to see the most amount of people enter the kingdom as citizens, through the Gospel of Christ. Being organic looks toward having all things in common (Acts 2.44) and really allowing one another into each other’s lives so that we might experience real redemption, restoration and renewal in our lives and the lives of other.
Our heart must connect to the heart of God. We should look to see people come to the kingdom by any means necessary so long as they do not compromise the message of the kingdom, that is the Gospel. We must find ourselves connecting with this idea; the wrong way of doing kingdom work is when the work is not bent on growth of the kingdom. The church will grow of that I have no doubt, but we must connect with the organic nature of what the church is.
Through out the book of Acts there is no sense of the institutional monster that is the church in America. The church was a wild and dynamic people who were raw and being changed by the spirit. The church was not perfect, but they were looking to live toward that end. Pressing on one another, to expand the kingdom through living as family discipling one another and being continuous mission.