The Church – Organic or Organizational – Part Four

We have looked at the characteristics of the institutional church or the organizational church. Let’s look at some of the characteristics of the organic church…

  • The form of the church follows the life of the church – just as the form of the human body springs out of the life of the human.
  • There are no clergy or professional ministers. Everyone is part of the “priesthood of all believers” and thus there is no division between those who are the professionals (clergy) and the laity (amateurs). Therefore, the members do not recognize the separate class of ‘laity.’
  • The organic church recognizes that all members are acting priests and encourages all members to fulfil their calling as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Allow and encourage all Christians to function in the weekly meetings of the assembly.
  • The members recognize that they are the church and thus the building is simply a place for the church to assemble. So, they affirm that people do not go to church; they (together) are the church. This is not only being theologically correct. It is the actual experience of the members.
  • Unified around Christ alone. There is no other test of true fellowship.
  • Sustained and held together by relationships built on Jesus Christ.
  • Are not dependent on a building. They can meet anywhere and be ‘the church.’
  • There are no clergy salaries.
  • Resources are spent on expanding the Kingdom, planting new expressions of the church, and helping those who are in need.
  • Leadership comes from the entire body. Apostles equip the church in the beginning. Elders (when the emerge) oversee the church together.
  • Decisions are made corporately by consensus and confirmed by those who are viewed as the leaders.
  • Shepherds are plural. They are a gifted people who care for the flock.
  • The leadership is always a team and never a solo person. 
  • The focus of the life of the church is on pursuing Jesus Christ corporately in face-to-face community. Everything else within the life of the church springs out of this.
  • The church passes through seasons just like a human does. It is not locked into a ritual or one specific way of doing things.
  • Gifts are not seen as offices, but as functions. They emerge naturally and organically, over time. They come up out of the soil, and are typically not titled.
  • There is a close-knit community. Members are like family to one another. They live a shared life in Christ.