“Organic Church” is a phrase that has been used a lot recently. It’s a new concept that is also very old. We shouldn’t even need the phrase, except that, for centuries, the Church has been moving further and further away from authentic, organic expression — seeking the validation and “safety” of ever more institutionalized practices, structures and organizations.
We wake up today, in the twenty-first century, with our institutionalized mindset sorely lacking — woefully short on good news for the darkened age we find ourselves in, and pitifully lacking in the power that Jesus intended His followers to walk in. That power is the power of Love.
So we’ve had to begin to reclaim what love should look like in the context of the Body of Believers, and we’ve found that it has nothing at all to do with buildings, church boards, denominations, fundraising projects and special programs for the kids. Don’t get me wrong — I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with any of these things — but they don’t have anything to do with what the Church is about.
So we’ve been reclaiming authentic, organic Church in living rooms and basements across North America; in huts and high rise apartments in Africa and Asia; in coffee shops and bars; in warehouses and casinos — and yes, even in churches. It turns out that authentic, organic church depends on creating ecclesia, just as Paul taught. Ecclesia isn’t the result when you simply get a group of people together — it’s the life of God that arises among those people, when we allow the Spirit of God to do His work among us. It’s the “there I am in the midst of them” when two or three gather in His name. It’s not the gathering, it’s the LIFE! And that life arises when we operate IN THE LOVE that Jesus died to give us, and then as we take our place and function in the group as God created us to function.
Ecclesia arises in an open gathering dedicated to:
Loving God and loving each other
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” Matthew 22:37-40 NIV.
We Love God together by:
- Worshiping God
- Sharing God’s Word
We Love each other by:
- Praying for each other
- Investing in Relationship (fellowship)
- Supporting one another
We believe that each one has an important part to play…
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us” Romans 12:4-6 NIV.
We encourage everyone to take part…
“So here’s what I want you to do. When you gather [together], each one of you be prepared with something that will be useful for all: Sing a song, teach a lesson, tell a story, lead a prayer, provide an insight” – 1 Corinthians 14:26 (The Message).
So that we will grow, Jesus will be the head, and that the world will see Him.
“… speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” Ephesians 4:15-16 NIV.
That last bit: “…and that the world will see Him…” isn’t a handy ending put there to tie everything together nicely; it isn’t a throw-away tag line. It’s the threshold to the rest of the Christian life. It’s about the mission that arises in the individual, and in the ecclesia, when the Life of God is moving in them. When we are living out authentic, organic church the world will be impacted. We become the “city set on a hill”, a people who are activated to take the love of God out into the world. The life of the church is ecclesia; but that’s just the beginning. The destiny of the ecclesia is missio: the drive and the power to make a difference in the world around us simply by bringing the life of God out into the streets.