It’s a strange word, I know, but bear with me. Some seek to define the Church by what it once was, others as by what it currently is, and some, by what it will be, or is becoming. I think that there’s a host of genuine conversations and questions that are being had and asked by those who are seeking to re-engage church. Of course, for those willing to risk and ask the hard questions, it can be a bit dangerous. Institutions whose very frameworks depend on their self-securing definitions, are threatened when those definitions and the accompanying assumptions are called into question. For that past 10 years or so, I’ve had what I would describe as a God-Directed Dissatisfaction with the status quo definitions of church.
In an effort to alleviate that dissatisfaction, I’ve gone through phases of retrofitting, retaining, restoring, reforming, restructuring, and much respiration. When the missional conversation started many years ago, I thought to myself “YES!” this is it. This is a framework by which I can adopt. To me;
THE MISSIONAL CHURCH IS… the people of God living with the sentiment of sent-ness acting in concert together in fulfillment of God’s Mission. Always engaging and discipling the nations (ethnic groups), proclaiming the message of the Godhead in word and deed, being collectively conformed to God’s image through facilitating interconnectedness between people and God, and abiding more and more in Christ.
Likewise, I think the Organic Church conversation began long ago. Initially it collided with my reformed ecclesiastical sensibilities. Amongst the people who held to this view of the church, there was quite a bit of bickering and axe grinding. I almost dismissed the idea entirely. But, for me;
THE ORGANIC CHURCH IS… unified indigenous gatherings shaped into their unique forms by learning how to live by Christ and express Him corporately, creatively, and continually. It’s a family on mission together, a living organism, a totally participatory, non-hierarchical, non-positional, mutually influential, and consensual people on a trajectory of the reconciliation of all things.
These definitions are not meant to be reductionistic, but simply “working definitions” by which we can begin a “missiorganic” conversation. Over the past few years, I’ve been trying to take the best of both the missional and organic views and combine them. It’s been like trying to construct a super-collider. My friends in the missional church camp hold organic concepts at arm’s length or even outright reject them, and my organic church friends steer clear of what they perceive to be the programmatic, institutional, and overly structured missional machine.
So, if we were to take the above working definitions and combine them it might look something like this:
THE MISSIORGANIC CHURCH IS… the unified indigenous people of God living with the sentiment of sent-ness, acting in concert together in fulfillment of God’s Mission, and being shaped into their unique expressions by learning how to live by Christ and express Him corporately, creatively, and continually in that mission. It’s a living, totally participatory, non-hierarchical, non-positional, mutually influential, and consensual family on a Kingdom trajectory along with its King towards the proclamation of HIS message in word and deed, the conformation to God’s image through facilitating interconnectedness between people and God, and the abiding more and more in Christ toward the reconciliation of all things.
What do you think of the word “Missiorganic” and its definition as related to the church? If the church, by its very nature is both missional and organic, then shouldn’t it look that way? If you had to offer your own definition of the Missiorganic view of the church, what would it be?
By the way, it’s still a working definition. I will update, revise, and hone this definition over time and post revision edits with dates below in the comment section.