In the last few years, many books have been written about organic church by people like Neil Cole, Milt Rodriguez, Tony and Felicity Dale, Frank Viola, Wolfgang Simpson, Jon Zens, and many others. I have read many of the books. Some writers claim that they have an exclusive right to use the term organic church, others are more open.
The truth is, organic church has been around since the beginning of Christianity. (However, until recent times it was persistently persecuted and/or destroyed by the institutional church.) The one place where the New Testament gives direct instructions on how to have church (I Corinthians 14:26) describes what nowadays is called organic church. Here are some alternative names for organic church:
Participatory church — allows the people present to openly share in the meeting what God has put on their heart.
Spirit-led church — gives people the opportunity to say and/or do what the Holy Spirit tells them to.
Show and tell church — lets people show and tell what God has done in their lives.
Support group style church — is set up like a support group with people sharing their hearts with one another and encouraging one another.
Simple church — has put aside the trappings of tradition and lets church happen as people come together and share.
Sermon-free church — has no featured sermon by one individual because everybody shares teachings, Scriptures, and words of encouragement.
Tag team church — allows the Holy Spirit to “tag” one person after another to share.
Interactive church — fulfills the “one-anothers” of the New Testament by allowing people to minister to one another in the church meeting.
Unprogrammed church — a term used by Quakers to describe their style of organic church where they gather and wait for the Holy Spirit to prompt people to share something.
Open church — the name for organic church used in the book The Open Church by James H. Rutz.
Hatha church — based on the Scripture, I Corinthians 14:26, in the King James Version: “When you come together, every one of you hath a . . .”
Improv church — based on the Holy Spirit’s improvisation as He spontaneously gives various people words to share in the meeting.
Non-church — an organic church movement begun in Japan about 100 years ago.
Non-traditional church — a church that openly breaks out of the mold and seeks to function by New Testament concepts rather than by traditional religious ones.
After writing this blog post this morning I went for a prayer walk in the McFerrin Park Neighborhood of East Nashville carrying The Salvation Army Flag. When I was on Dickerson Road a guy yelled from across the street: “What’s that flag?” He then ran through the traffic and came to my side of the street. I got to explain to him that the flag represents the blood of Jesus and the fire of the Holy Spirit.
I then told him about the organic way we have church at The Salvation Army Berry Street Worship Center. He replied: “That’s hands-on church.” Wow. Still another name for organic church!
If you are in Nashville, experience hands-on church with us at 225 Berry St., 37207, on Sundays @ 10:45 am. & Thursdays @ 6:30 pm.