What Is My Definition Of ‘Organic’ Church and How Is It Different To ‘Institutional ‘ Church? 


Someone recently asked this question on Facebook. I thought it was a good question because there’s so many different types of gatherings that are calling themselves ‘organic’ which clearly are not. And so this was my reply with some added thoughts based on my experience and understanding.

To me, true and authentic organic church is simply, Christ. In ‘organic’ church, Christ is the Head and the life of the church. That’s what organic church is – His life.

It is the expression of Christ moving and expressing Himself, revealing the Father, the Father revealing the Son, the Holy Spirit administering the gifts amongst the priesthood of all believers as they are each functioning and being built together by the Lord Himself. It is a community of believers learning to live by Christ’s indwelling life. A community whose love for one another astounds the world and reveals Jesus Christ as God’s Son.

Any kind of structure that exists is there to support the body, not the body supporting the structure.

It is birthed by the Spirit and has God’s DNA in it because it is Christ in His body.

To me, it is The Way, as the believers in the New Testament called it. As believers lay down their soul lives for Him and one another Christ is being expressed in and through His body as He pleases – the most beautiful bride ever to exist!

It is simply, Christ as one with His own body.



Planted, Not Potbound!

The other day a sister shared with us in our group, what she saw of the Lord whilst planting some trees with her two little boys in tow. She explained the process of digging the hole and filling it with water and then removing the potted tree from its pot. She explained how because the tree had been growing in a pot, its roots had grown long over time, but they went round and round in circles and were all tangled and bound up.

She said it reminded her of being a believer within the church system or institutional church. As was her experience, in that environment, although a believer and growing in one’s relationship with the Lord, as represented by the roots being long, the experience of a Christian life just goes round and round in circles. Although having the appearance of a healthy tree, its growth is truly stunted.

She talked about her experience when she was a baby Christian in a mega-church.  She was so excited when a women’s conference was being organised and she loved it! After some time there was a winter conference and she loved that too. Later that year there was another event of some kind that she also really loved.  She said how exciting it all was.

The next year, to her surprise, another women’s conference was happening and she was thrilled. Following that, there was a winter conference and after that, the same event as the previous year. She thought this was pretty cool, because it was all so great last year.  However, the following year, it all happened again.  She said to herself “Oh, I get it, so we just do this all the time, there’s nothing new, we just go round and round in circles” and she wasn’t as excited anymore.

This sister had seen such a great example of this, with those circled and tangled long roots from inside the pot.

A tree is often used in scripture to represent believers;

…But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers (Psalm 1:2, 3, NIV).

… They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:3, NIV).

…The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God (Psalm 92:12-13, NIV).

Hmmm. Planted in the house of the Lord – not potbound.  This sister then shared how she had to manually untangle those roots. I imagined her pulling at them with her fingers, to set them free so that when she planted them, they could stretch out far and wide and go deep into the rich soil, letting the tree grow tall and strong, enabling it to flourish.

She likened this to the untangling that needs to occur in our lives when we come out from the church system or institutional church, having been potbound for so long. How we need this untangling! Our roots may have grown long, having an appearance of health, but how bound and tangled they can be! The longer they are, the more tangled they are and the harder they are to untangle!

Lord, we are Your trees of righteousness, not your potted palms! Untangle our roots Lord, though it is a painful and lengthy process, that we would be planted by You, in Your rich soil, for You are that rich soil.  We want to be planted in the courts of our God, and Jesus, You are those courts. Cause our roots to go deep that we will grow like an Oak tree, to display Your splendour!