Saturday, June 23, 2012


The New Testament uses a number of descriptive words to describe the church.  For example, the terms body, bride, family, living temple, etc are used to describe the church.

Each of these terms indicate the church is a living organism as opposed to an institutional organization. When I say the New Testament church is organic, I mean its alive!  It has a spiritual origin not a man-made origin.  I think most believers, today,would agree with that.  But what does organic church look like?  Has this really taken root in our spirit?

Frank Viola illustrated it wonderfully in his book Reimagining Church (p. 32) when he wrote, "Whenever we sin-scarred mortals try to create a church the same way we would start a business corporation, we are defying the organic principle of church life.  An organic church is one that is naturally produced when a group of people have encountered Jesus Christ in reality (external ecclesiastical props being unnecessary), and the DNA of the church is free to work without hindrance.

To put it in a sentence, organic church life is not a theater with a script; it's a gathered community that lives by divine life.  By contrast, the modern institutional church operates on the same organizational principles that run corporate America."

Just as we see the triune God have fellowship as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the church is an organic extension of our living God.  The church is a community of believers sharing and expressing God's life in the earth.  One could say the church is the earthly image of God.

The very essence of the church displays traits and characteristics we find in our triune God.  Among these characteristics are mutual love for one another, mutual fellowship with one another, mutual dependence on one another, mutual honor expressed to one another, mutual submission to one another, and true authentic community with one another.

Looking at the Trinity, its important to note the absence of hierarchical leadership. There's no fussing over who's in charge.  There's a complete absence of religious programing.

You see, these things are man-made, not God-made.  These are not characteristics of God neither should they be characteristics of His church.

Organic expression of church will reflect four elements:

1) It will always express the Headship of Jesus Christ as opposed to the headship of a human being.  Jesus is Head of His church!

2) It will always allow for and encourage every member to function in the gatherings.

3) It will always hold to the theology of the early church.

4) It will always be rooted in the fellowship of God.

We recently spent a good amount of time writing, in this blog, how that most of the practices of the institutional church of today have their roots in paganism.  After a period of time these pagan roots have become traditions in the modern church.  It is through these the traditions the Word of God becomes ineffective (Matthew 15:6; Mark 7:8-9).

People often ask, "What has happened to the church?  Why is she not having the impact on society that she should?"  I believe it’s because society has had its impact on the church thereby rendering her ineffective in today’s world.

The religious traditions we hold so dear, today, have shaped our Christian walk.  These church traditions have shaped our minds and even put is into to a box, spiritually speaking.  Think about it, we open our Bibles and read in to the Scriptures our religious traditions.  We have been trained to think that way.  
For example, when you see the word “pastor” in the Bible we think of someone who preaches behind a pulpit on Sunday mornings.  When we see the word “church” we think of a place where we go for a service.  Do you see the problem? 

We are good at taking things out of context as we read them in Scripture.  In fact, it’s become a common practice to lift a number of verses out of their context to prove a point, establish a doctrine or defend a tradition we hold dear.  Oftentimes we do it without even realizing we are doing it.  If we would read the New Testament in chronological order and take out the chapters and verses it would go along way in giving us the proper narrative that God intended.

As stated previously, many of our current church practices, methods and doctrines are without Scriptural foundation.  They are man-made.  They are also at odds with the organic expression of church.  Most even do not express the Headship of Jesus Christ.  Instead they embrace man’s ideas and traditions therefore stifling out any organic expression of church life.

Frank Viola said it well in His book Reimagining Church  (pg 45), “The DNA of the church produces certain identifiable features.  Some of them are the experience of authentic community, a familial love and devotion of its members to one another, the centrality of Jesus Christ, the native instinct to gather together without static ritual, the innate desire to form deep-seated relationships that are centered on Christ, the internal drive for open-participatory gatherings, and the loving impulse to display Jesus to a fallen world.”

The church is to be an organic expression of our faith.  She is alive!  She is growing!  She is beautiful when she is allowed to function as God intended.  She is NOT a business.  She is NOT a bunch of lifeless rules and traditions. 

Let’s return to the basics of letting Jesus be Head of His church.  Let’s return, like the early church, to the centrality of Jesus Christ.  Let’s express organically as we live, breathe, grow and function together as the body of Christ.

Until next time, enjoy the journey!


It you know of someone who would be challenged and encouraged by this blog please pass on a link to them.  You can share this blog easily by clicking on the links below.  I believe the church needs to be set free from the bondage of the status quo she has been in for so long.  The blogs over the next few weeks will help us to see how this can be done.  If you are interested in reading more regarding the organic expression of church life I recommend Frank Viola's book "Reimagining Church".

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