Monday, January 28, 2013

Organic Outreach?

There's a lot of talk on the internet about Organic Church. I know the internet gives any cause a voice, but when we moved into our Outreach Saga and started meeting outside of the traditional church, it was heartening to find other like-minded people.

I've paid attention to several writers: Frank Viola, Alan Knox, Neil Cole, Alan HirschChurch In A Circle, Church Multiplication Associates, and Simple Church to name a few. These sites have information pertinent to doing church organically, in a different pattern from the typical Sunday morning setting. They talk about the body doing ministry together, meeting out in the world (rather than a church building), and growing disciples in more of a relational manner. 

These are all very helpful resources, and I'm grateful to these brothers and sisters for sharing the way the Lord is leading them and their testimony and experience in walking out church in a new way.

I've come to realize an issue though. My group that I'm involved with isn't doing strictly Organic Church. 

We met in a park during the summer and fall, moving into a local counseling center for the winter weather. Many people share during our times together. We eat, sing, and bring the Word as we're led. These are things that an organic church will do.

The thing that may be different is that we're an outreach at the same time. 

We're in a neighborhood with low income housing, and we've mainly reached people in this apartment complex. I think most of the people coming are Christians, but I'm not certain in every case. Some have been in the church and felt rejected. Others come because we are so close and accessible. 

It seems we are a little different than a lot of the organic church talk I've followed online. Maybe I'm wrong and not catching it. 

The challenge is that we've got a core of believers that have had relationship with each other over a long period of time with a desire to be the church instead of doing church. Then we have another population of people that we're getting to know and trying to disciple. It is very exciting what we're doing each week, and it is a huge blessing to be ministering to each other. I am touched as often as anyone else is. That doesn't take away from the sensation I have of walking on the water at times - trying to keep my balance as the waves shift beneath me!

I guess the point of this post is to throw this situation out there. Does anyone have experience doing organic church as an outreach? If so, I'd love to dialog with you on this topic. If you have a heart to pray for us, that would be greatly appreciated! 

So leave a comment if you're interested in a discussion on organic church and reaching out. I'll meet you in the blogosphere.


  1. Jason,

    Thanks for pointing me to your post. What you describe sounds very familiar; it would be a good description of the group(s) that I gather with regularly. The benefit of what you're describing is that the whole community is involved in "outreach," evangelism, and discipleship.


  2. Alan,

    Thanks for stopping by to comment. I'm glad to hear that we're not as uncommon as I thought. Our gathering keeps things interesting, that's for sure. I really appreciate your blog and am often lurking and reading posts.


  3. Hi Jason,

    Your community sounds awesome! Have you read Mike Breen's stuff at the 3DM website? Your group sounds like a "Missional Community" - you should read up about the missional movement in the UK and Europe.

    I think of "organic" as natural and reproducing - like a plant, which is susceptible to the seasons and may die in a natural cycle, but will produce seed which grows multiple new plants. Your group seems to fit that category to me.

    - Kathleen

    By the way, I feel chuffed to be mentioned in the same sentence as Alan Knox, Neil Cole, Frank Viola and Alan Hirsch!!! You've made my day! :-)

  4. Jason,

    I've added your blog to my Google Reader, and I'm looking forward to "lurking and reading" your posts as well. :)


  5. Kathleen,
    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing. I've looked at a bit of Mike Breen's stuff, so I'll have to check that out a little more. I'm definitely hoping that we have some organic multiplication as well. And you should belong in that group!

    That's great! I post on missional stuff on Mondays and writing topics on Wednesdays in general (I also write fiction). I look forward to more discussion with you and others as we encourage each other on this road we're on.

  6. Jason, my church does an outreach that sounds very much like what you do. A group of our members has gone to live in a hotel where many homeless live. They have started having "church" in the courtyard, though I'm not sure if it's a regular event. If you'd like to learn more, I can give you the name and email of the pastor who could answer your questions.