Church Leadership Strategies, Organic Church

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Part of the ministry resources on Strategies Church Leadership, Church Health and Renewal.

Introduction, Definitions

Not all who use the term “Organic Church” mean it in the same way. There are at least two common usages.

Within the missional/Missio Dei and emergent conversations, “organic” refers to a strictly deinstitutionalized pattern for Christian ministry, most commonly facilitated by loosely organized house-churches or missional communities. Or, if in a larger congregation, it is intentionally organized around smaller organic units. It elevates features such as meeting in homes, no professional pastor, everyone involved in worship, congregational/consensus decision making, no official leaders or elders but teachers and exemplars, etc. Two primary authors on this model are Frank Viola and Neil Cole. See the Resource Guide on Missional/Organic for a description and a list of suggested resources.

There is another use of “organic” that simply proposes a more natural way of developing established congregations. It is a “sow and grow” approach that stresses churches, whether newly planted or well-established, should be seen as living organisms that have natural ways of thriving. They have their own “seed” that grows naturally from the inside out. If leaders attune themselves to what God wishes to do with each living congregation, they can help churches grow from the inside out in ways that are innate to their identity. “Organic” simply means a more natural development rather than forcing all congregations into a set mold that may not fit their DNA. Unlike the missional/organic model described above, it does not carefully prescribe what an organic church should look like, but allows for considerable diversity based on a congregation’s unique culture. A closely related concept is congregational culture/church identity.

This resource guide is focused on the latter of the two, and a separate guide is devoted to the Organic/Missional communities.

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Ministry Resources

These volumes listed below are excellent. They are not listed in any special order, as each makes a special contribution to the subject.

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Related Ministry Resources

See Other Resources on Church Leadership and Renewal:

Ministry Resources on Related Areas

See Resources on Over 100 Areas of Christian Ministry:

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