So it’s ‘organic’ church but God still needs a facilitator, right?

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Organic meaning: relating to or derived from living matter; living, live, animate, biological, natural

So some of us who have stepped outside of the traditional and institutional system of church life as we have known it, call our meeting together ‘organic’ church. Now, I know there are many brothers and sisters in the body of Christ who meet this way and although once described their meetings as ‘organic’ are turning away from the expression ‘organic’ church.  This is because as they rightly say, it has become a term used to label a whole lot of different ways of meeting together that are actually not truly organic at all!

Now ‘true organic’ church is not a denomination or a model, it’s not even a name or a noun. The word ‘organic’ is an adjective, it is a description of the ekklesia  NOT a brand. Therefore, by calling our meetings ‘organic’ church we are describing the way in which the Lord Himself functions among us, the members of His body.

Organic by its very ‘nature’ (it is NATURAL or in this context Supernatural) is not interfered with by man, just as organic food is not interfered with by chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides! That means there’s no need for man or woman to facilitate in a truly organic expression of Jesus Christ. Jesus can do it ALL Himself because the ekklesia IS Himself just in many parts being brought together.

In 2012 seven of us here on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia embarked on meeting together as an ‘organic’ expression of Christ. We had spent some time with Milt & Mary Rodriguez who are workers in planting groups like ours and most of us had read Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church and Finding Organic Church.  Still, none of us were sure how to do this without having a leader or facilitator although knew that the absence of such a position was key to it truly being an ‘organic’ expression of the Lord.

Well, here we are, coming up to our third birthday and we’re all still here. No-one has the position or responsibility of leader/facilitator/preacher/prayer/worship leader/pastor/elder/teacher. It’s a miracle. And it’s taken a lot of ‘dying to self’ and it still does and it always will.

We are not in any way perfected in this ‘organic’ church life together, and we are always susceptible to returning to old ways of organised Christianity because that’s our background and our human nature. However, having walked this journey together now for this long, I’m pretty secure in the fact that if one of us were to wander into doctrines and leadership tendencies etc, the rest of us would gently steer that brother or sister back to focussing on Christ and letting go of all the ‘self’ stuff. In fact, we’ve seen this happen and it has been graciously received. Another miracle.

Now, all this isn’t to say that when we gather together there isn’t preaching, ministering, prayer, singing, scripture reading, teaching, prophecy, or even leadership. On the contrary, there are all of these.  I used to think of ‘organic’ church in terms of there being no leadership which I had trouble believing (knowing myself and the nature of humanity). However, now what I see occurring is that EVERY member leads at different times, but UNDER THE HEADSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST AS THE HOLY SPIRIT FACILITATES. (I know capitals means shouting but I’m not really shouting, I’m just trying to make my point very clear 🙂 )

So we say it’s ‘organic’ church but God still needs a facilitator? He already has one – His Holy Spirit.

You see, God doesn’t need any one of us to be facilitator. He can do it Himself. He really can! How do I know this for certain? I’m experiencing it. I’ve been experiencing it for three years. It’s no longer a hope, it’s now my testimony! Woo hoo! (Click on this link for another brother’s testimony ( http://www.marklake.org/christian-communities-hierarchy-exclusive-clergy-exist-possible/)

Do you believe Jesus can do it Himself?

Sometimes we, just like our little group when we started in 2012, cannot fathom that Jesus can actually run a meeting.  We seem able to fathom that all creation was made by and through Him and that He fills the universe but can He really run a church meeting? (sounds pretty silly doesn’t it?) We get all caught up in questions like;

  • How will we know when to stop eating and start getting spiritual?
  • Who will set the agenda?
  • Who will tell us when it’s time to sing, if we are going to sing, and what we will sing? Who will start the singing?
  • Who will read the bible and when should it be read? Should it be read at all?
  • How will we know when to pray or stop praying?
  • How will we know what to talk about?
  • Don’t we have to learn something?
  • Don’t we have to have some teaching?
  • Who’s going to address any issues?”

…etcetera, etcetera, etcetera! (in the words of the late Yul Brynner!)

Folks, I’ve gotta tell ya, Jesus can do it all. Yes He can.

“But how?” you ask. Good question.  The answer is Jesus can lead a church meeting/gathering by us laying down all of our agendas. In other words, if we decrease He can increase. This means laying down our preferences, doctrines, practises, talents, traditions, dreams, spiritual ambitions etc, and bearing the cross with one another. By bearing the cross I mean preferring one another over ourselves, giving up the rights to our own lives.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13). The word ‘life’ in this verse is the Greek word ‘psuchè which means soul-life).

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4).

So do we think this is easy for us to do? No way! It goes against our very human nature and that’s why something organic can’t be mixed with man’s touch and still be organic. That defies all sensibility. Either a thing is organic or it is not. Either Christ is the Head or He is not. Any mix and it is no longer organic or no longer led by Christ.

Of-course, Jesus has now constrained Himself to His body, which is the church. So Jesus has chosen to live in and through us to express Himself so that He will be exalted and His sovereignty will be displayed as a witness to all powers and principalities. He expresses Himself, THROUGH the members of the body but it is HIS Headship, HIS life, HIS personality that is being expressed as the Holy Spirit facilitates Christ’s Headship. That means, not our charisma, talents, skills, abilities.

This is great news people! Christ is able! God has it all sorted in His Son. But it’s through the laying down of our own lives, that He has the room to function as He wants to. So let’s let Him be Head and trust Him, as we take our hands completely and utterly off His Church.

Let’s let go and let God be God, He really is pretty clever 🙂

Comments welcome 🙂

 

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6 thoughts on “So it’s ‘organic’ church but God still needs a facilitator, right?

  1. I was trying to explain to a friend who had visited us from out of town and has gathered with our “small group” how our small group has struggled to truly function in our gatherings “under the headship of Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit facilitates” us… She commented how we didn’t seem to have a “leader” in the group and that I or another brother in our group should and could be the facilitators. “Every group needs a facilitator,” was her convinced response. That response was not a surprise since that is the norm in hers and most church circles. I didn’t have a chance to give that a response at the time, but what you’ve written has put into words what is so difficult for most “organic” gatherings to truly take hold of. (Well at least ours.) Most have never seen and or experienced it being modeled… Your thoughtful insight would at best seem foreign to those in the group with whom I gather. A worst it would receive shocked rejection. Oh, the baggage we carry… But thank you Donna. You have given me fuel for a fire I need to carry into our gathering…

    ~rob

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    • Dear Rob, please disregard my previous reply which I have deleted as I fear it was based in too much of my own wisdom which of course is no wisdom at all. I have a lot to learn. I thank you for your comment and sharing your experiences. Is this something that the group you meet with, are talking about? Have members of the group read any of Frank’s or Milt’s books? Has the group ever done a book study on this sort of thing? Those things might help? We hadn’t done a book study but like I said, most of us had read some books and we all met at an ‘organic’ church conference so we all knew what we were looking for (what we believe Christ is looking for) though it was all still new to us too. Also some of us were blessed to visit a planted group where we witnessed the Lord functioning as Head, where the members of the body let Him have His way as they preferred one another, lay down their talents and ambitions, so that Christ alone was seen. We’re always being encouraged to visit other groups where possible for the very reason that you say “most have never seen or experienced it being modelled”. Since reading your comment I’ve been praying for you all because it’s certainly not easy, learning this new way of letting God take the reigns Himself. Alas, God is gracious and patient with us, and as we’re often reminded by others, God is in no hurry. He will do all things in His time. I pray He encourages your heart Rob. 🙂

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      • Thank you for your replies (Both of them!) I think those I meet with realize there is more available (More of Jesus) more of Him possible, within the gathering. And they do long for that… About half of our group got to gather with Milt and Jon in Sonoma,CA, recently. That was helpful, but really, not enough of us were there. For me it was an amazing confirmation of much that have been reading of Frank’s (And since then of Milt and Jon). For years my bride and I have had this ‘out of the norm’ understanding of how “church” functions, planted years ago by Watchman Nee and others and more recently crystallized by Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, etc… We, as a group have not done a book study of any of Frank’s works, the book studies that we have tried haven’t gone too well(!)(Wrong books!?) so right now it would be real tough to do that again…Only a couple of people within the group have read any of Frank or Milt or Jon. I do and will continue to encourage that on an individual basis. I fear much of our vision of what could be is clouded by this: All but Pam and I are still committed to, and involved with the “normal” institutional paradigm of church: Normal church as we’ve known it, rather than The Normal Christian Church Life, that Watchman Nee wrote of and experienced and the normal of the church of Acts as lived it out way back when. Frank, Milt and Jon among others here recently have been reminding us of our biblical roots… we as a group have not been able to truely grasp it yet…

        …as you said, “It’s certainly not easy, learning this new way of letting God take the reigns Himself.”, but
        “God is gracious and patient with us, and as we’re often reminded by others, God is in no hurry. He will do all things in His time.”
        I remain encouraged in Him. Thank you for your prayers,

        Rob.

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      • Yeah, I hear your heart in this brother and will continue to hold all of you up in prayer, and trusting God to bring about what He wants in each heart individually and in the corporate expression of His Son amongst you all. I’m glad you remain encouraged in Him. What have we but Him, hey?

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  2. Jesus spoke of being the One Shepherd of one flock, consisting of believers who know Christ as the Door that enables them-both individually and corporately-to enter into Him in order to come away from such blessed encounters with something of His fullness (John 10:9, 16)

    If and when a “facilitator” is needed within the corporate body of Christ, to those particular assemblies, He will cause someone to organically emerge from within the genuine body life of corporate fellowship under the shared life of God in Christ; someone who-as a simple brother or sister- has been exposed to and by genuine body life experience. That’s why to “some” assemblies “He” gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, and/or pastor/teachers…”for” the perfecting/maturing of the saints, work of the ministry, and for the building up of the body of Christ…”till”(not meant to be an indefinite facilitation) the corporate body of Christ grows further into the unity of the faith, of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect (mature, fully equipped, lacking in nothing)-corporate-man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13-my paraphrase)

    Once Christ the Head is done implementing a member of His corporate body to help facilitate the above corporate objective, rather than over reach his or her grasp, that individual resumes functioning as a simple brother or sister within the bride and body of Christ-unless and until they are once again needed to organically emerge as whatever the bride needs her Bridegroom to be for a particular corporate life/growth/change season.

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    • Thank you J for sharing these insights. 🙂 It is truly amazing how these expressions of Christ, from whom all ministry flows, naturally emerge from within the corporate body where He is allowed to be Head. I pray that He continues to teach us how to let everything of ourselves go into death, truly grasping in our experience the reality of the work He achieved through the cross, that only His life is seen and expressed. What a mighty God we have.

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