Aren’t buzz words fun? Sometimes I think we throw them around just for the fun of it. But I think there is something to be said for the title of this post. And no I am not referring to a church that eats only organically grown vegetables or hormone free meat. But organic has a couple of different definitions and I would like to point towards the following: organic – denoting a relation between elements of something such that they fit together harmoniously as necessary parts of a whole; characterized by continuous or natural development. Have you ever stopped to think about church as a congruence of people that fit together “harmoniously” or as a group that is “characterized by continuous or natural development”? Unfortunately in today’s world we have started to adopt language for the church like “corporation”, “business”, or “investment”. Hollow meaningless words adopted from the world of finance and industry that almost stand in opposition to who we are called to be. In fact when we hear the church being described in the New Testament we are given pictures like “bride”, “body of Christ” and “one body with many members”. Something is not adding up.
It is funny that I should be so consumed with the way we talk about church and church endeavors as I am employed by a rather large church and it allows me the opportunity to think about and speak about such issues (for which I am incredibly grateful). But I think that is where my thinking begins and why I am so impassioned. I have been involved in a lot of conversations lately revolving around how we can make church better and it always seems to come back to trying to do church differently. I even spoke about Jesus clearing the temple to our students recently and there take away was that if Jesus stepped into our church today he might do away with a lot of things that drive us further away from each other and create anonymity.
I know that a lot of this seems like rambling, so I will try to bring it to a head. Acts 2:44 puts it this way, “All the believers were together and had everything in common.” I almost feel like you need to read that about five times before continuing. How many of our church’s can be described in this fashion today? But yet this is what it meant for the church to be organic. It was harmonious and because of that it developed and grew at a rapid rate. But today we find ourselves being categorized like a business and programming as if we are marketing our Christianity when we are really called to simply model the community of the early church…What would Jesus turn over if he entered our houses of worship today?
The problem with all of these questions is that I don’t have an easy answer. I am not sure anyone does. But I think we need to start talking and thinking about the life of the church and where it is going. There is a world out there that is so thirsty for community that an online community could claim to be the fifth largest world religion if it chose too. May we be so bold as to model genuine community in what ways we can while there is still time to be faithful to the call of Christ and His Body…the church.