I believe a new “organic” move of God is emerging in the West, which affirms the good things about organic/simple church but rejects the crazy stuff of the past.
With this new move, we are finally climbing out of our ruts and catching up with our “organic” brothers and sisters in the rest of the world – who never fell prey to the crazy stuff and thus moved far beyond us.¹
We also are seeing healthy connections form between fellowships in different regions, as locally-rooted leaders use Skype and other Internet tools to build mutually helpful relationships with each other.
The Crazy Stuff
Insanity is doing the same things over and over, and expecting different results.
And a sure sign of insanity is denying you’re crazy when confronted with all the crazy stuff you do and believe, along with the crazy consequences.
If we don’t talk honestly about the crazy stuff in the organic church community – the existentialism, the weird doctrines, the insular cultism, and the introspective vision of “Christ” which concurrently negates the authority of scripture, diverse gifts, the Great Commission and external fruit – then we will remain trapped in our ruts as we repeat the same mistakes.
I, and others, have a passion for health and reject such insanity.
As a result, a new generation of “organic” fellowships is emerging. They have avoided the crazy stuff, and are seeing the promise of “organic” health finally start to happen.
One thrilling development is how God is knitting together local leaders from around the world – who are firmly rooted in local, accountable community while actually helping to start and grow local, healthy fellowships.
Over the last few months, I have been amazed as I watch the Lord stir up the desire in more and more of these local leaders to reach out, find and connect with each other – in informal ways that avoid the crazy influences of the past.
These men and women are amazingly unpretentious. They assume no airs and don’t care about titles, and likewise are unimpressed with many of the self-professed “apostles” and “workers” still floating around and peddling the crazy stuff of the past through various books, blogs, “ministries” and conferences.
As local leaders, they have watched others dabble in the crazy stuff – especially the existentialism, the insular cultism, and the so-called “Christocentric” theology which divides Jesus the living Word from the authority of His written Word, His diverse gifts, His commands, and His expectations of external fruit – and seen that it doesn’t work.
They also are waking up to the cold, hard reality that those who helped derail the organic church community in the past with the crazy stuff:
- Generally were not themselves rooted in, accountable to, or part of any local, functional fellowship;
- Typically have no history of actually starting healthy, sustainable fellowships themselves (even though their books and blogs imply otherwise);
- Are not real “church planters” (a term they sometimes use for themselves), but rather latch onto existing fellowships as the outside “worker” or else insist that others move from across the country to join them; and
- Often have some deeply flawed, hidden past (wow, has this been an eye opener!) – along with a history of repeatedly destroying fellowship after fellowship with their over-compensating, self-proclaimed “new revelation”, intense “vision” and cultish ideas.
Nonetheless, God is raising up local leaders who are committed to the essential “organic” principles of open, participatory fellowships and keeping it “simple” – while avoiding the extremes of the crazy stuff on the one hand, and all the institutional baggage of the traditional church on the other hand.
Of paramount significance, however, they have no interest in bypassing the proving ground of functioning community, healthy fellowship and real accountability – and are committed to avoiding the mistakes of the past by first learning to help things work locally before presuming to tell others how to “do it”.
Although locally rooted, they also have an outward focus and want to connect with local leaders who are actually doing the real work of building healthy, sustainable and reproductive fellowships in other communities and regions. Their goal is not to promote their “ministry” (most of us died to that flawed concept long ago). Rather, they simply want to get to know, and help, each other.
Skype and other Internet tools have been a great way to build these informal relationships, as we learn from each other and encourage one another through open, candid dialog and transparent honesty.
I’m not saying everything is perfect. Far from it! But as our different fellowships confront new challenges, we have an increasing resource of diverse fellowships which can informally share their experiences – the good and the bad – with each other.
As I often say, the issue is not whether we are perfect, but how do we deal with our imperfections!
This is just beginning, but it is refreshing to finally learn from each other, leave the crazy stuff behind, and start seeing health emerge in various fellowships and regions. The organic Dark Ages are ending.
As we share the joys and challenges of what God is doing in each of our different communities, my life – and the fellowships I’m part of – have been greatly enriched.
~ Jim Wright
¹ By “organic”, I mean simply this: The wonderful, dynamic, multi-gifted and participatory Body of Christ – where we minister one to another in community and as we otherwise gather together.