Organic Church FAQ's:
What is an Organic Community?
An Organic Community is a small group of people who gather together to share life in Christ centered relationships, ministering together, learning together, loving together, recreating together, worshiping together, and encouraging one another in the midst of life. Organic communities are generally small reproductive communities who have an apostolic mindset of starting new communities.
How do you maintain doctrinal integrity?
DNA is passed on from generation to generation. There must be high levels of trust both for the denomination and from the denomination. This kind of trust is built through relationship. If the relationship is weak, the trust will be weak. Therefore it is essential that apostolic leaders remain connected to an "Organic Church Network", its annual gathering of Organic church leaders and maintain a healthy working relationship with their local District Leadership. We are not "islands unto ourselves" and must maintain healthy trust relationships at all levels. We also believe that discipleship is more relational than academic. Doctrinal integrity is passed on as we maintain healthy, accountable relationships with those we are ministering to and with.
Is Organic Church a method?
No, Organic Church is a set of principles that can be applied in any church context.
- Missionary way of living
- Emphasizes power of cellular multiplication
- Simple and reproducible
- Obedience focused discipleship
- Relationally driven
How do you measure success?
Success is measured against the mission. We believe that success will be seen in everyday life as participants demonstrate a passionate love for God and a practical love for others everywhere they go. Success will also mean that disciples are making disciples and all are participating in the mission and vision - not just the leadership. Success will not be measured by how many people sit in a building but more by the multiplication of disciples making disciples.
What do the communities study?
Each community is committed to studying God’s Word together on a regular basis. The study might look different for each community. However, we believe that the Word of God is the seed that must be planted into our lives for true transformation to take place. Therefore a key element in the DNA of each community is the discussion of and group interaction with the Word of God.
Do I still attend a local church?
Due to the flexibility of the Organic Church, participants could attend worship services at a local church if that is what they desire. We simply ask that the accountability to and their priority be their Organic community. However, if there are special services, special events that one would like to attend we would welcome that and even encourage that.
What about my kids?
One of the most commonly asked questions is about children. We believe that family matters and children and youth are a vital part of community life. We believe that the best place for a child’s spiritual formation to develop is in their home with their parents. Therefore, we see it as the responsibility of each community to equip parents to raise Godly children. We also believe that children learn through what they observe others doing. Therefore, their involvement in community life and ministry is vital. We also recommend and will provide for each community to have a special time with the children during their weekly gathering. This is primarily an issue when we try to cram life into an hour "Bible Study". There will be times when a community may want to do some things as adults and will individually or together make arrangements for child care and at other times the activities might revolve around the kids. Each community will grow together as a family.
We encourage each community to allow enough time in their weekly gathering to minister to the entire family.
How often do you meet?
We encourage each group to meet at least weekly for a scheduled time together. However, group participants may find themselves meeting more regularly as they begin to share life together. At times all the men may gather or all the women may gather or a couple of men may share coffee together for individual accountability. This is about sharing life not a day of the week. We believe it is more important to be the church all week than it is to focus on going to church once a week.
Do the participants tithe?
We believe that the stewardship of God’s resources is critical for the life of the believer and the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Each participant is encouraged to invest in God’s Kingdom. We encourage tithing, however, are more interested in participants being generous and sacrificial in their giving.
What about evangelism?
We believe that all believers should be a part of making new believers. We believe that believers who are passionate about loving God and practical in their love for others will impact the world around them and others will be drawn to the Kingdom of God. God never intended us to “build His church”. He said He would do that. What He has called us to do is go and make disciples. As disciples go and make disciples, He will grow his church. One of the marks of a follower of Christ is one who goes and finds others who will follow Christ. Unfortunately, in many cases, we have spent so much time getting people in church we have not invested in relational discipleship. We are asking believers to win the world one disciple at a time by extending the love and grace of God that was extended to them, to their families, friends, business associates, neighbors, and others that God brings across their paths in daily life.
Are groups open or closed?
Each community is open and is welcoming to new participants. We do not want to become "holy clubs". We encourage groups to reach out to those around them. We don’t encourage rapid growth but discipleship growth. Invite someone and spend time investing in their spiritual growth before inviting a crowd. At the same time, many people will want what you have found and it may be time to start another community. Part of the DNA of each community should include the reproducing of itself. We believe that the Kingdom of God is not a "holy club" that excludes, but its very nature and purpose for existence is for those who are not yet a part of the community.
How are leaders selected?
Participants with gifts and abilities to lead will naturally rise up in an "organic fashion" and be identified by the leader and encouraged to start a new community. New communities should be started in accountable relationship with the leader of the reproducing community. We believe that everyone in the community has something to offer and communities will, by their very "organic nature", be very participatory. Communities should be developed around the principle of "simple and reproducible". Simple does not mean simplistic. We believe every believer can be a missionary, and every house can be a church and every church can be a training center sending out missionaries.
How are leaders trained?
In "Simple and Reproducible" communities training is primarily relational discipleship. Therefore, basic training begins with good discipleship. Beyond that each community leader should receive training through Organic Church events, personal coaching, classes, seminars, recommended readings, and other available training that is found in the journey. Apostolic leaders are encouraged to receive additional training in denominational mission, vision, and doctrines as well as in issues related to community life, relevant practical ministry, introductory counseling issues, and leadership skills. Training is a journey not an event. The heartbeat of each Organic community should be discipleship which is a process of training believers to be like Christ.
When and how do communities split?
It is not the desire to become little holy clubs, but to grow and expand around the world. One of the difficulties with group life is how to launch new groups. As communities grow, there will come a time when size will be restrictive. Groups should not be forced to divide but should be raising up leaders within each group with the mindset of impacting our world by starting like minded groups. With this mindset and DNA in the group, some of the participants may join together to start a new community. The most effective reproduction is when a community is started in the residence of a new believer and his or her extended family and friends are invited. It should be a natural part of the DNA of every community to start new communities. Therefore, size is irrelavent and not the determining factor in starting new communities. When a missionary is ready to be sent, it's time to start a new community.
Can I participate and not join?
Yes. However, we believe that it is important to be committed to one another understanding that we function as a body. Therefore, it would be difficult to maintain sideline participation over a long period of time. At this time most groups do not require a formal membership but encourage a commitment.
Do Organic Pastors receive a wage?
We are seeing many different blends of support for Organic Leaders. Some receive a wage from a network of churches that partner together to help support the "apostolic leader", others simply are bi-vocational and receive nothing from their personal Organic Church community. Some work with a district in other capacities with some support from them. One of the keys is to remember the importance of simple and reproducibility. The most reproducible model is bi-vocational.