Sunday, January 10

The coming crash of organic church?

Christianity Today magazine just released an article entitled, Long Live Organic Church! But what do we do if the world isn't transformed? Is the organic/simple/house church movement doomed to eventually crash on the rocks like all other historical renewal movements? Read what Mark Galli has to say, and then share your thoughts in the comments section.

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Long Live Organic Church!
But what do we do if the world isn't transformed?
Mark Galli | posted 1/07/2010 10:30AM


I love the work that Neil Cole is doing—and Alan Hirsch (The Forgotten Ways), Bob Roberts (Transformation: How Glocal Churches Transform Lives and the World), Frank Viola (Finding Organic Church), and many, many others.

In one form or another, they are champions of "organic church." The term is fluid, but it contains at least three ingredients: Frustration with the-church-as-we-know-it, a focus on people (vs. programs) and mission (vs. institutional maintenance), and a vision to transform the world.

As Neil Cole put it in his book Organic Church, "It is not enough to fill our churches; we must transform our world." He puts it similarly in his latest effort, Church 3.0. The book is ostensibly about how to shift from program-driven and clergy-led institutions to churches that are "relational, simple, intimate, and viral." Still, says Cole, "Changing the church is not the idea of this book … . The only reason to shift from Church 2.0 to Church 3.0 is to change the world."

I love the passion. And the prophetic word to institutionalism (believe me, I know the evils of institutionalism: I'm an Anglican!). And the vision to make Christ's love and grace known to the four corners of the planet.

What I worry about is the coming crash of organic church. And after that, I worry about the energetic men and women at the forefront of the movement. Will they become embittered and abandon the church, and maybe their God?

That the organic church movement will crash, I have no doubt...

Read the rest of the article here.


10 comments:

Mark Finger said...

Personal obedience to the scriptures is not a man-made movement: it's Holy Spirit inspired living.

If someone is doing something other than that (in the name of God), I'm sure it will fail.

Peace

GuyMuse said...

Mark,

Even though the article starts out by naming a few individuals as champions of "organic church", I have personally read that 2 of the 4 listed, would not put themselves into that box. The truth is, there are no real "heads" leading what some might be calling a movement. There are a handfull of spokespersons, who are mostly book writers, but there is no organized structure, headquarters, official TV station, etc. You are right, Mark, anything man-made or kept propped up by the world's ways, is doomed to fail.

Frank Doiron said...

PART ONE: Doomed to fail is not the words I would use. Many would say the traditional church is a man made system and it has outlasted any renewal/restoration that has come and gone over the years. This also assumes that all of the former renewals were not of God because they were short lived. This also takes away the possibility that man has no part in quenching what the Holy Spirit is trying to do. Almost every move of God, in the past, has morphed into a traditional, institutional expression of church. Therefore traditional church is really God’s way. It is his way of handling all renewals because the traditional church has won out in almost every case. I personally do not see longevity as a sign of God’s blessing or short-gevity as something not being of God.

Part two: Will the organic church crash??????

GuyMuse said...

Frank,

Welcome to the "M Blog" and thanks for the comment. I personally believe that we are in the first phases of what could well be what others are calling a "Third Reformation". Usually huge paradigm changes, like those we are beginning to see, take several decades to work the needed changes. I look forward to your "Part 2".

Mark Finger said...

The body of Christ needs to reclaim the gospel truth that the principle task of every believer is to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). In Acts 1:1, Paul begins to write of "all that Jesus began "both to do and teach." Not only is 'doing' a necessary prerequisite for teaching, it is how we learn from the Holy Spirit, as fellow workers and co-laborers with the living God (1 Corinthians 3:9). By God's example, we see that spiritual teaching and learning only takes place in a relational context.

Yet, the modern church has taught (by direct example, context, and implication) that the work of the ministry is for a relative few.

Consequently, we can see why it is so important for us to “teach faithful men,” raising up new converts by the witness of the Holy Spirit to take up the work of the ministry of reconciliation:

For the necessary, relational aspect of teaching requires many new examples (mature, servant-leaders) to reach many new people.

Only a multitude can reach a multitude.

Let us not receive the grace of God in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1).

GuyMuse said...

Mark,

I agree with you that the secret of bringing in the harvest is in raising up 2Tim.2:2 faithful workers, and not depending upon lazy "pew warmers" who have spent a life in church, rather than being the church. Our focus here is on winning and discipling new believers, and working with these to bring in the harvest.

Frank Doiron said...

Will organic church crash?
This is not a critique of Galli’s article but only my opinion of organic church crashing.

I do not know. That should not be our concern. The bigger concern is that it does not morph into a traditional expression of church…..and then become institutional. That would be worse than crashing. Crashing offers a chance at re-inventing ourselves whereas becoming traditional/institutional is a guarantee that change will not happen. One of the first and most missional churches I came across in the mid 1990’s was the Church of the Saviour. They began in 1947 and I think are finally winding down. That is 60 years of missional living. Here is a quote from Elizabeth O’Connor from her book “Call to Commitment” This was written in the early seventies.

We have never expected to hit upon that final stable structure. This is important for a church to understand, for when it starts to be the church it will be constantly be adventuring out into places where there are no tried and tested ways. If the church in our day has few prophetic voices above the noise of the street, perhaps in large part it is because the pioneering spirit has become foreign to it. It shows little willingness to explore new ways. Where it does it has often been called an experiment. We would say the church of Christ is never an experiment, but where that church is true to it's mission it will be experimenting, pioneering, blazing new paths, seeking how to speak the reconciling words of God to it's own age." It cannot do this if it is held captive by the structures of another day. (Elizabeth O’Connor….Call to Commitment)

Organic church is a response to a church that has basically turned in on itself. (I am sure that there are exceptions). One of the lessons I took from this article (Mark Galli) is this: We need to be faithful. If the organic church crashes it will not be because of the vision we have for winning people for Jesus (and that we fall short of our goals) but because those in the organic church are not faithful to that vision. There still remains too many house churches whose only purpose it to meet on Sundays.

GuyMuse said...

Frank,

Good thoughts. Thanks for sharing. What you write at the end is especially true,

Organic church is a response to a church that has basically turned in on itself. (I am sure that there are exceptions). One of the lessons I took from this article (Mark Galli) is this: We need to be faithful. If the organic church crashes it will not be because of the vision we have for winning people for Jesus (and that we fall short of our goals) but because those in the organic church are not faithful to that vision. There still remains too many house churches whose only purpose it to meet on Sundays.


May we each be faithful to carry out the vision that was first given to us by our Lord 2000 years ago to make disciples of the nations.

Larry Lunceford said...

Guy, thank you for connecting us to this article. While I may not agree with his assessment that "no one else has succeeded, so you won't either" (my words), overall there was genuine love and kindness in his tone and I wonder if deep down inside he hopes he's wrong! And his comments on transformation gave me pause, but in a good way, as in iron sharpening iron. If we're not careful we wind up quoting each other so much that we forget to periodically "see if these things be so" from the Word. I'm using his article as an opportunity to prayerfully think through just what our mission really is. You have served us well, Guy, for sharing this. My sincere thanks.

GuyMuse said...

Larry,

You might be interested in reading Alan Hirsch's comments on the article here, as well as Neil Cole's thoughts here, and Bob Roberts here. All three share interesting perspectives and responses to the CT article.