Organic church is a philosophy that some Christians are adopting in an effort to return to a different standard. Modern church models rely on large buildings, complex programs, professional pastorates, business models, and monetary dependence. By going back to the basics, people developed the idea of a “simple” church. Note that the organic church is an idea rather than a movement. It focuses on seeking ways to simplify ways of living while remaining faithful to biblical teachings. Accordingly, organic church models after certain passages in the Bible.
Acts: Organic Church Model
Churches described in Acts focus on small gatherings among Christians. Members of these small gatherings offer mutual help and comfort amongst the group while aiming for spiritual growth. The simple church model is alive and well, especially during the past 2 years of the global pandemic.
In essence, an organic church comprises those who actively reject the complex organizations associated with current church models in favor of those that resemble the early church.
Matthew 16:18: Organic Church Criticism
This verse reads: “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” People have criticized that the ideas the organic church follows will lead to the death of the church. These critics claim that organizational structures and programs in modern church models are necessary to keep Christendom alive. However, organic church believers respond by saying that belief is fear-driven, failing to recognize Jesus’s words that even the gates of hell cannot overcome the church.
Meeting in Homes… But Not Exclusively
Acts 2:46-47 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Many organic churches meet in homes, coffee shops, and even in the workplace. The place is not as important as the people who gather. Churches as groups of people instead of buildings will keep growing as long as it remembers that their gifts are rooted in teaching, shepherding, and evangelism. If they turn inward (rather than outward focused), these meetings can end up being more of a social gathering. The key is keeping the main thing – the main thing! What is the main thing? A working model for simple church would look something like this: Welcome – Worship – Word and consistent, intentional outreach.
Organic church is an idea that prioritizes people coming together to achieve spiritual growth. These believers reject dependence on the complex structures associated with modern church models. Such complexities have left some Christians distrustful of man-made religious systems, wanting to go back to a simpler system that remains rooted in faith and fosters faith in others. Thus, organic church philosophies highlight Biblical teachings to remind Christians that true society lies in loving one another, teaching, shepherding, and evangelism without relying on buildings and programs.