[I originally wrote this article describing
The original definition of the Greek word used for “church” (ekklesia) in the Bible’s New Testament simply means a group of people “called out” for an assembly or meeting. In its New Testament context, “church” does not in any way imply a particular building of a particular denomination standing in any particular place. It is simply a group of people called out to follow Christ and doing so together.
There is a movement taking place around the world where Christians are seeking to experience the same kind of Christ-life, relational community, and faith-filled worship as is described of the early Christians in the New Testament. Christians are being called out of the mainstream institutional church setting and called into organic church life. The House Church Resource website states that currently there are approximately five million adult Christians meeting in home churches. So what is this organic home church life that draws the participation of so many?
Organic home church life is defined by people that have been called out to be Christ-followers coming together to share their life and faith. They become family to each other providing care, support, and encouragement in the joys and struggles of daily life. Their unity is based on their love and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ with their eyes focused on His life, example, and teachings. It is a church which is birthed and which flourishes by the experiences and the life of Christ within the people. However, it is not for everyone since it is a church life of active participation and intimate fellowship.
Church planter and writer, Frank Viola, defines organic church as “a non-traditional church that is born out of spiritual life instead of being constructed by human institutions and held together by religious programs. Organic church life is a grass roots experience that is marked by face-to-face community, every-member functioning, open-participatory meetings (opposed to pastor-to-pew services), non-hierarchical leadership, and the centrality and supremacy of Jesus Christ as the functional Leader and Head of the gathering. Put another way, organic church life is the experience of the Body of Christ.”
Organic home church meetings are informal and very similar to family gatherings. Everyone is welcomed and encouraged to participate and share how God is working in their lives with testimonies, songs, prayers, and revelations as described in 1 Corinthians 14:26 and Colossians 3:16. The members function and participate as a whole instead of any one individual having the major focus. The meetings are not planned or coordinated to follow any one particular pattern every time. The Holy Spirit of God is allowed to guide each meeting and the members follow that guidance.
If this is the kind of church life that you have been looking for you can get further information and check out various other resources at Discovering God Ministries and click on the “Ekklesia” link.
Mary Ann - thank you for your blog. I came upon it searching for others interested in house churches and alternative Christian communities. I had not heard about the "Organic church" concept, though I have read some Frank Viola and will definitely get his latest book.ReplyDelete
I am a writer/pastor with a sabbatical coming up and I'm trying to make contact with people and communities I can visit to learn more about starting such a community. Any other contacts or organizations you know about that could be helpful to me would be much appreciated.
Also, if you get a chance, could you check out my blog at http://faith4tomorrow.blogspot.com and my website at www.booksandbridges.com? I'd love to get your feedback. At my blog, be sure to look at the first and last entries. Thank you and keep up the good work.