Monday, August 23, 2010

Organic church stuff...

I've been reading Neil Cole's book Search & Rescue: Becoming A Disciple Who Makes A Difference, and am quite enjoying it. I also happened to run across an article by Neil published in Leadership magazine (I think) called "Defending The Organic Model." It has also been posted on the blog Out of Ur as, Defending Organic Church (Part 1). I like how he ended the article:
In organic church life the flow of fruitfulness is from the inside-out. In an institutional approach we try to form disciples from the outside-in by using conformity and behavior modification practices. This will not work.

The goal should not be to plant a church, but to plant the seed of the gospel in good soil. Instead of seeing church as the agency of change, we must see it as the outcome of changed lives. Jesus is the Savior, not the church, and we must plant Jesus rather than churches.

I really like this idea. But I have to admit, I'm a little hesitant to separate Jesus and the church quite that much - the church is the body of Christ, after all. But... I think I like what he's getting at.

Out of Ur also shared a second post by Neil, Defending Organic Church (Part 2), where he outlines three great points:

1. Make disciples, not organizations, and let Jesus build the church out of changed lives.
2. Lower the bar on how church is done and raise the bar on what it means to be a disciple.
3. He pushes his LTG's (Life Transformation Groups) as a 'simple method of empowering ordinary people, even brand new Christians, to connect to God's word and obey without creating a dependency upon others who will tell them what to think and do.'

I like all three, but especially 1 & 2. I will be discussing LTG's later, and I really like the idea behind them too. However, I admit that I still struggle with the lack of dependency thing. Not that I am in favor of institutionalism, but I am hesitant to go completely the other way and say we should not be dependent on the church at all either. I think there is something to be said for submitting to community. So I'm a bit conflicted, but I'm still working through it. Good stuff, nonetheless.