Organic Church

I get this question a lot, so I thought I’d post the exchange here, so i won’t have to rewrite it so many times:

First of all, thank you for the encouragement you have been to us in the last year. We left the institutional church a little over a year ago and honestly do not think we can ever go back. Your blog, book – So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore, Transitions and The Shack have been both freeing and refreshing to us.

Secondly, not asking you to critique or anything but how does your belief system differ from the organic church movement? We read Pagan Christianity and it really opened our eyes. We don’t want to start a house church because we think that can be just moving the institution to the home. If you are willing to give it, we would like your opinion on the whole apostolic house church movement.

To answer your question, In my view the organic church movement, is not very organic. How can it be when they give you all the models to follow? And I’m never thrilled with movements. They always seem to have too much of a touch of man’s plans and human efforts behind it. People create the illusion of a movement for many reasons. Some might be sincere, thinking they are providing a valuable resource for God’s people, though that is rarely the result. More often they end up only trying to validate people that they are part of ‘something special’, or to sell them their books and seminars. God just doesn’t work that way. He moves freely in the earth inviting people to him.

The apostolic house church movement is also too man-driven and program-centered for my tastes. Body life rises out of brothers and sisters who simply want to learn to share Father’s life together as friends and to have his heart in reaching out to others in the simplicity of living their lives. People doing that will find the life of the church springing up around them. It can’t be imposed by implementing any system or model, which only teaches people to play church instead of really living as it.

Thus, discipleship (learning to walk with Jesus) precedes any depth of real community together. So learn to follow him. Encourage others to do so. Follow what God puts on your heart to do together in joy and freedom and you’ll find yourselves being the church. Set up a weekly meeting with a mini-ritual and soon you’ll feel like its just a routine you’re going through. Because it is. But let God connect you with people who want to share a journey, and your life together can take on a myriad of expressions in different seasons as best serves his purposes in the community in which you live.

God wants to give us real frienships with others and teach you to share his life together. We’ll get to experience that simply if we don’t try to put something else together on our own first. Then we’ll just end up with another substitute, not the real deal.

He can do this in you. Ask him to show you and just follow what he puts on your heart each day as you learn to live in the reality of his love…

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22 Comments
  1. Dave A April 16, 2008 at 9:05 am

    I say amen to what you shared, Bro. The truth is, I’ve attempted to “build” this thing called relational christianity/organic church/intentional community/blah, blah, blah, and thankfully all me wonderful plans have failed miserably. So now I just look for those “God opps” and try to live this life with those right in my moment’s midst.

    Yeah, that sounds so good and right and so my heart tells me but my reality says it’s damn lonely at times. I can be surrounded and am at times, with professing believers but the exchange of real life is not there. So I am learning to accept the fellowship of but a small handful of Jesus lovers at the moment.

    I think that most of us have been so programmed to believe and desire this thing called community, fellowship and liken it all unto some big group that we’re supposed to belong to. It’s very hard to put that out of ones expectations and to simply live in the quiet reality of smallness.

    Hope this made sense.

  2. Roger C April 16, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Well said Wayne and Dave. I could not agree more in my heart, it’s my head that continually needs the repentance. (changing of mind)

    Dave, I have, and continue to experience your journey in the last 3 years as well. What I have found some comfort in, is that Father is using this to draw me to Himself thus hopefully allowing me to offer the freedom for Him to draw others as well. Please be encouraged that the struggle you face in this will produce the fruit that Father can harvest, in this temporal setting and the eternal.

    Be His.

  3. Dave A April 16, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    I say amen to what you shared, Bro. The truth is, I’ve attempted to “build” this thing called relational christianity/organic church/intentional community/blah, blah, blah, and thankfully all me wonderful plans have failed miserably. So now I just look for those “God opps” and try to live this life with those right in my moment’s midst.

    Yeah, that sounds so good and right and so my heart tells me but my reality says it’s damn lonely at times. I can be surrounded and am at times, with professing believers but the exchange of real life is not there. So I am learning to accept the fellowship of but a small handful of Jesus lovers at the moment.

    I think that most of us have been so programmed to believe and desire this thing called community, fellowship and liken it all unto some big group that we’re supposed to belong to. It’s very hard to put that out of ones expectations and to simply live in the quiet reality of smallness.

    Hope this made sense.

  4. Roger C April 16, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Well said Wayne and Dave. I could not agree more in my heart, it’s my head that continually needs the repentance. (changing of mind)

    Dave, I have, and continue to experience your journey in the last 3 years as well. What I have found some comfort in, is that Father is using this to draw me to Himself thus hopefully allowing me to offer the freedom for Him to draw others as well. Please be encouraged that the struggle you face in this will produce the fruit that Father can harvest, in this temporal setting and the eternal.

    Be His.

  5. Dave April 16, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Thank you, Roger. That was encouraging for sure.

  6. Ann April 16, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Thank you Wayne, Dave, and Roger. A hearty “Amen” to everything said. I’m experiencing the same.

    The Adventure continues….

  7. Dave April 16, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Thank you, Roger. That was encouraging for sure.

  8. Ann April 16, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Thank you Wayne, Dave, and Roger. A hearty “Amen” to everything said. I’m experiencing the same.

    The Adventure continues….

  9. TC April 18, 2008 at 7:04 am

    I really appreciate all the comments – and Wayne’s blog. This blog, and a few others, have been such an awesome help as I crawl towards ‘the promised land’. I left the IC about 18 months ago – I grew up in the IC as a pastors kid, and even helped lead a group of people out of a legalistic church to my living room, and then to do the big church thing all over again. That whole gig burned me out big time and I just left – I guess my ‘church’ now is my wife and two boys, and their buds who hang around. It does get lonely at times, even when my family (beyond my wife and boys) don’t get it and question what we’re doing – but I have the same questions at times. When stuff goes bad I wonder… ‘maybe it is safer inside?’ I do desire some community with people who are free range believers, beyond my wife and boys and the blogs, but I wonder at times if it will ever happen. I’m tired of waiting and thinking, ‘yeah, maybe one day’… and I wonder if ‘one day’ will really ever come.

  10. TC April 18, 2008 at 10:04 am

    I really appreciate all the comments – and Wayne’s blog. This blog, and a few others, have been such an awesome help as I crawl towards ‘the promised land’. I left the IC about 18 months ago – I grew up in the IC as a pastors kid, and even helped lead a group of people out of a legalistic church to my living room, and then to do the big church thing all over again. That whole gig burned me out big time and I just left – I guess my ‘church’ now is my wife and two boys, and their buds who hang around. It does get lonely at times, even when my family (beyond my wife and boys) don’t get it and question what we’re doing – but I have the same questions at times. When stuff goes bad I wonder… ‘maybe it is safer inside?’ I do desire some community with people who are free range believers, beyond my wife and boys and the blogs, but I wonder at times if it will ever happen. I’m tired of waiting and thinking, ‘yeah, maybe one day’… and I wonder if ‘one day’ will really ever come.

  11. Eve May 6, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    I just keep thinking “Nazareth”. God works through humble, insignificant, and even lonely places to accomplish great things in the Kingdom. Wish I could stop longing for Jerusalem and be content with my Nazareth sort of life, even with how simple and disconnected it may be.

    I love this blog and am reading the Jake book online. I’m up way too late b/c of this book…life changing for sure. And, even more exciting, it is life confirming. Thank you for all this content. It is so needed for those of us already getting burned by this “organic” movement. We can’t go back to traditional ways very easily and we can’t continue in the lie that what we are experiencing is “IT” either. It is nice to know others are experiencing the same “smallness” feeling. THANK GOD! I mean, it sucks, but we aren’t alone – though we may feel alone at times.

  12. Eve May 7, 2008 at 1:48 am

    I just keep thinking “Nazareth”. God works through humble, insignificant, and even lonely places to accomplish great things in the Kingdom. Wish I could stop longing for Jerusalem and be content with my Nazareth sort of life, even with how simple and disconnected it may be.

    I love this blog and am reading the Jake book online. I’m up way too late b/c of this book…life changing for sure. And, even more exciting, it is life confirming. Thank you for all this content. It is so needed for those of us already getting burned by this “organic” movement. We can’t go back to traditional ways very easily and we can’t continue in the lie that what we are experiencing is “IT” either. It is nice to know others are experiencing the same “smallness” feeling. THANK GOD! I mean, it sucks, but we aren’t alone – though we may feel alone at times.

  13. ahron valverde June 10, 2009 at 10:48 am

    so what you people are telling me is there is no such thing as organic church? the more i look for it the more i cant find it. please tell me is anybody in the u.s.a doing it?

  14. Wayne June 10, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Ahron,

    Maybe you are looking in the wrong places for it. I don’t know if there are any where you’re from, but I suspect there are. I meet brothers and sisters from all over the planet who are living out organic body life. It flows out of relationship, however, not an organization, even a house church trying to be organic. I pray God will show you that reality when he is ready to do so…

  15. ahron valverde June 10, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    so what you people are telling me is there is no such thing as organic church? the more i look for it the more i cant find it. please tell me is anybody in the u.s.a doing it?

  16. Wayne June 10, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Ahron,

    Maybe you are looking in the wrong places for it. I don’t know if there are any where you’re from, but I suspect there are. I meet brothers and sisters from all over the planet who are living out organic body life. It flows out of relationship, however, not an organization, even a house church trying to be organic. I pray God will show you that reality when he is ready to do so…

  17. ahron valverde June 24, 2009 at 10:58 am

    if what you are talking about is fellowship then i have had that , i live in so. cal and i want to go to a organic church.

  18. ahron valverde June 24, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    is their anybody out there that goes to an organic church in so. calif please let me know .

  19. ahron valverde June 24, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    if what you are talking about is fellowship then i have had that , i live in so. cal and i want to go to a organic church.

  20. ahron valverde June 24, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    is their anybody out there that goes to an organic church in so. calif please let me know .

  21. ahron valverde June 26, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    is there anybody that has been to an organic church in califorina . please tell me what is is like.

  22. ahron valverde June 26, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    is there anybody that has been to an organic church in califorina . please tell me what is is like.

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