the weblog of Alan Knox

Is Organic Healthier?

Posted by on Oct 27, 2010 in blog links, community, fellowship | 13 comments

Okay, so I stole the title of this post from a site that promotes “organic” foods. But, it’s something to think about concerning the church also.

In his latest post, Lionel at “A View from the Woods” explains “Why I Chose the ‘Organic’ Way.” He gives us three reasons: 1) leadership, 2) learning, and 3) relationships. After explaining why each reason led him to a more “organic” expression of the church, he wraps up with this:

Leadership, learning and relationships amongst family should happen like a family. We are not an education institution, an entertaining institution, or a networking institution. I am not saying these things don’t occur when we meet, we are a family. We are a group of unlikely people, baptized into the Spirit to become one people. We have this thing that is unique to every other people group. It is called “fellowship”, it is a metaphysical union that supersedes all earthly relationships. We are beginning everlasting life together and we are to express God’s life in one another. I do understand the benefits of organized church life. I understand having the dynamic pastor, the nice buildings, the nice worship team, the pristine teaching, the polished liturgy. I do and sometimes I miss it; however, I will never trade what we have today for anything else. I believe what we do is too important and means to much as we express ourselves to the world. What happens in the average church on Sunday is no different than what happens 5 days a week on my job, shallow relationships, a sense of togetherness with no real fellowship and so forth and so on. I want to know and be known by those who I will spend everlasting life with, the biggest reason is so that I may look more like Him.

I don’t think any believer would disagree with Lionel that leadership, learning, and relationships are important for the church. Like Lionel, I prefer more organic, and less structured expressions of the church. However, I think, we can find “organic” and healthy expressions of these things within more organized, institution-based churches.

But, I also think that as we pile on organization and structure and programs and etc., we tend to lose the organic (person-to-person) nature of the church. Instead of focusing on building each other up toward maturity in Christ, we tend to focus on building up our organization, protecting our programs, and defending our structures.

Meanwhile, the people – especially the little people who don’t matter as much in our organization, programs, and structures – tend to get pushed to the wayside. They become consumers and customers instead of partners and brothers and sisters.

But, of course, it doesn’t have to be like this. I know that many beautiful, healthy, Christ-honoring relationships are built and are grown in the midst of organized and structured churches and programs.

So, what is my point? Should we all (like Lionel) seek “organic” churches? Not necessarily.

Instead, we should all seek organic, natural – super-natural – relationships with other brothers and sisters, regardless of what structure or organization the church takes.

And, if the organization or structure gets in the way of those relationships? Well, just remember, the church is not the organization nor the structure. We must focus on the people. When the organization or the structure gets in the way, we must be willing to put it aside, or to step around it.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 10-27-2010

    His next to last paragraph is where I land necessarily. I’ve come to accept that, for now, the organic fellowship of believers in my life isn’t taking place in my “church home,” but elsewhere and all around. I fought it for a long time. I still don’t think it’s ideal, but have accepted it for a time.

  2. 10-27-2010

    Alan, I admire how kind and gracious you are concerning the organized/institutional church. I tend to err on the side of raw and blunt. I thank God for you and your blog. He is definitely using your example to smooth off some of my rough edges.

  3. 10-27-2010


    We should be looking anywhere and everywhere for the people that God brings into your life. Ideally, like you suggested, that should be with the church. If that doesn’t happen, then I think God will bring other people into our lives.


    Those believers who are part of more organic expressions of the church are my brothers and sisters. Those believers who are part of more institutional expressions of the church are my brothers and sisters. My preferences (even if I think my preferences are more healthy) should not affect how I treat any of my brothers or sisters.


  4. 10-27-2010

    In my own experience, many of the structures of the institutional church make it very difficult to have any kind of real relationship with others. It seems like so many of the programs just pile on to an already busy life. I have found it more natural, and easier, to build relationships when my time is not taken up with this meeting or that program.

  5. 10-27-2010


    You stated, “When the organization or the structure gets in the way, we must be willing to put it aside, or to step around it.” Do both parties invovled have to be willing to do that? How do you work around it if one party is not willing?

  6. 10-27-2010


    I agree. I have also experienced very real and lasting relationships when I was part of a more instituionalized form of church.


    In a perfect world, all parties involved would be willing to set aside the organization, plans, institutions, etc. If that doesn’t happen, then someone must be willing to step around them.

    How? By valuing the person more than the program/structure/etc. Unfortunately, you may be labeled a rebel or trouble-maker or something like that. Love them anyway.


  7. 10-27-2010

    Do you still “pursue” them or do you just accept the relationship for what it is (or will become)?

  8. 10-27-2010


    I guess it depends on the person. Everyone is different.


  9. 10-27-2010


    I asked that because I’m dealing with this very situation right now, and somehow in my mind I keep thinking there is only one way to deal with everyone (although I can’t figure out what the one way is). Jeff and I talked about this last night and he said the same thing you just said (“depends on the person”), but I thought that was stemming from his easy going personality and lack of experiencing a problem in this area. Perhaps you too are on to something…

  10. 10-27-2010


    You’re a lot nicer than I am. And yes, brothers and sisters, come in many different flavors.

    BUT – Is there a difference between? – “The Church of God?” and the church of man?

    What if…
    the “Institutional/Denominational/Organizational Church” “The Whole Religious System,”
    the church of man, for the past 1,700 years, has been, and is, **Totally Corrupt?**

    In my experience… today’s “Corrupt Religious system” is a “Distraction,” a lure, a lie.
    To take the place of Jesus. To get us to trust/depend on “the System” the church of man”
    and NOT depend on Jesus. (Anti-Christ???) To lead us away from Jesus being our all in all.

    Didn’t Jesus warn us in mark 7:14?

    KJV – Making the word of God of “none effect” through your tradition…
    ASV – Making “void” the word of God by your tradition…
    NIV – Thus you “nullify” the word of God by your tradition…

    Corrupt – Dictionary

    1- having/showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain.

    2- in a state of decay; rotten or putrid.

    3- debased or made unreliable by errors or alterations.

    This definition fits my experience with the “Abusive Religious System” I was a part of.
    “The Corrupt Religious System” has become debased and unreliable by errors and alterations.
    How many – made up “Titles?” – “Twisted Scriptures?” – “Lies?” do you accept and live with?

    Why was there a reformation?
    Rome was/is corrupt according to scripture. Yes?
    People wanted to serve and worship Jesus in truth. Yes?
    Any Popes as the head of “The Church of God” in the Bible?

    Why were there Pilgrims and the Puritans coming to the USA?
    Church of England was/is corrupt according to scripture. Yes?
    People wanted to serve and worship Jesus in truth. Yes?
    Any Monarchs as the head of “The Church of God” in the Bible?

    And every “Institution/Denomination” since, tries to tweek Romes version of doing religion.

    wikipedia says there are now 38,000 denominations. Wow!!!
    Even if they overstated by 90% that’s still – 3,800 Denominations.
    Does that sound like a “tradition of men” to you?

    Oh, you can change a few “titles,” pastors instead of priests,
    suits and ties instead of collars and robes,
    Presidents instead of Popes, but basically – “Institutions/Denominations” are still Rome,
    still religion, still, “Tradition of men.” Still – the church of man.

    Jesus always has a better way.
    Those that are of the truth – hear “His Voice” and follow Jesus…

  11. 10-27-2010


    Or we’re both wrong. 🙂

    A. Amos Love,

    Ok. So what do you do when a brother or sister disagrees with what you just said? What if it’s someone who lives next door to you or works with you? Do you continue to treat that person like a brother or sister in Christ, or do you dismiss them because they are corrupt?


  12. 10-28-2010


    Sorry for the misunderstanding.
    Never meant my brothers and sisters are “Corrupt.”
    I still love and fellowship with many who are still part of “the Corrupt System.”
    I didn’t think I was “Corrupt” when I was a part of the “Corrupt System.”
    I was in bondage to the “Traditions of men.” Being respectful, following the Traditions.
    Big difference when you put “The Traditions””The System” behind you and follow Jesus.
    Kind of like what you’re doing. And Eric. And others now living for Jesus.

    And, I don’t have the liberty to share all that I see as being “Corrupt” with everyone.
    Mostly the focus is on Jesus, knowing Jesus, hearing “His Voice” and following Jesus.
    Jesus can teach folks the truth, who are looking for truth, in His time.

    When they seem to be having a problem with “the System.” (their church, their pastor)
    When they start to question and become dissatisfied with what they are being taught.
    When they see the contradictions between what Jesus said and what a man says.

    It’s a joy to be there when folks are questioning and seeing beyond their “Tradition.”
    And they see they’re NOT deceived. It’s a struggle but many leave “the System.”
    for others, they go back and forth, feeling guilty NOT being with the establishment.

    Jesus was pretty hard on “the Corrupt Religious System/Leaders” of His day.
    Snakes… of your father the devil… Lay heavy weights on men’s shoulders…

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall **hear MY voice;**
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  13. 10-28-2010

    A. Amos Love,

    Good explanation. Thank you.