I received this email yesterday. Thought it was worth posting.
Hey Frank, I’ve been following a recent discussion on organic church and I’m frustrated. It seems like some people are using the word “organic church” to just mean Christians in a home who want to multiply rapidly, and with a pastor over them. One pastor wrote an article about it saying organic doesn’t work, then another guy who uses the organic church label is trying to defend it, but his whole understanding is pretty mechanical. He sees organic church to be all about church multiplication, that it has to start with lost people, has to have strong leadership. I appreciate your two books Reimagining [Church] and Finding Organic [Church]. They enriched my understanding of what organic church is. Does it irritate you when people use these same terms so differently?
My answer: I’ve resigned myself to the fact that there is and will continue to be massive confusion on the term “organic church.” The word has been hijacked and turned into something very human, very man-centered, and taken captive by the network marketing movement of the business world. What many are calling “organic” just isn’t. Not even close. And Jesus Christ is not central to it.
In every case I’ve seen where people say, “I tried it, and it doesn’t work,” it’s a straw-man. They are talking about something very different from what the NT envisions as a local ekklesia birthed by God. Typically, it’s someone who has never experienced authentic organic church life as a non-leader first. Often these folks aren’t called by God to the work, they weren’t prepared properly, and they were never sent out by an existing organic church. They went but they weren’t sent. And they had little to no experience or preparation. You can’t establish that which you’ve not experienced yourself.
So of course it doesn’t work. As I argue in Finding Organic Church, how could it when we defy the spiritual principles that God has written in the bloodstream of the universe and that are consistent all throughout the NT.
Further: what some are calling the “organic church Movement” simply doesn’t exist.
You’re free to pass on these articles if you think it will help. I am very encouraged that more and more people are recognizing that the organic expression of the church of Jesus Christ is far deeper than they once thought (or had been taught). So the confusion is not universal, thank God.