the weblog of Alan Knox

Why is it so difficult to find organic church life?

Posted by on Jan 27, 2012 in church life, community | 38 comments

In my post “People want real examples of organic church life,” I linked to a post by Dan at “Cerulean Sanctum” called “Is organic house church a myth?” In that post, Dan expressed his frustration at not being able to find “organic house church” in his city like he sees described in Frank Viola’s books.

In this post, I’m going to try to answer the question, “Why is it so difficult to find organic church life?” I need to point out a few things before I start. First, this post is not directly related to Dan’s post. That is, I am not responding to Dan’s search for organic house church. I do not know how he looked or who he talked with. So, this post will not be specifically about his search.

Second, I’m using the phrase “organic church life” instead of the phrases “organic church,” “house church,” or “simple church” or any combination. And, I’m using the phrase “organic church life” for a very specific reason. When I write about “organic church life,” I’m not talking about a certain church gathering, or a certain type of meeting, or a certain group of believers, or a certain method of organizing (or not organizing). Instead, I’m talking about believers sharing their lives with one another as they also share life in Jesus Christ.

As we think about my second point, we can also begin to understand why this “organic church life” may be difficult to find. It is not a place, or an event, or even a group that we can point to. It is a way of life. There are people who meet together only in homes who share organic church life in Jesus Christ. There are also people who meet together only in homes who do not share organic church life. In the same way, people can meet in church buildings and share organic church life (or not).

A group may have a specific weekly meeting (or more than one) and share this kind of life in Christ. Or, they may not have a regular weekly meeting. Then again, a group may have a weekly meeting (or even meet together more often) and yet not share their lives with one another in Jesus Christ.

When these groups do get together, it is relational not structural. Thus, as the relationships change or the people involved change, then the group will change as well. It is fluid and dynamic.

The group that meets together today may be completely different than the group that met together last year (or month) and may be completely different than the group that will meet together next year (or month). This does not mean that the group collapsed or fizzled out or ended or anything else that we might use to describe the end of a more organized or structured group.

Also, even when a group such as this is sharing life together in our own neighborhood, we may never notice it. It can be hard to point to and even to distinguish from overlapping or tangential groups. There may not be a sign, a website, a corporation, a yellow pages entry, or any other traditional identifying marker.

These groups (if they are sharing life in Christ) will also be serving others, but that service may not be directed toward the person looking for a group such as this. So, while we can often recognize organic church life because the people are serving others together, their service may not always be readily apparent.

So, what do we do? We want to find organic church life, but it’s difficult to find (for the reasons listed above as well as many other reasons). Do we just give up? No.

We begin sharing our own lives (in Christ) with the people that God has already brought into our life. Some will push us away. Fine. We cannot control how other people respond to us. Others, however, will also be longing for this kind of fellowship in the Spirit. And, as we find these people, we begin to grow and serve and disciple and encourage and share and give and teach and eat and learn and admonish and pray and hope together.

This is organic church life. It is within us. And, we can share it with others.


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

  1. 1-27-2012

    Thanks for writing this. I’m posting it to my brothers and sisters with whom I share ‘organic church life’ for their encouragement and edification.

  2. 1-27-2012

    It is not hard once you stop looking for it. It is all around us. We are too focused on trying to find what we think it is, when we do not have the athority to define it… that has already been done called Christ.

  3. 1-27-2012

    Georgia Ana,

    Thank you for sharing my post! I hope it is encouraging and edifying to your brothers and sisters.


    Yes, I agree. We have to live it where we are and among the people that are already around us.


  4. 1-27-2012

    BINGO! I think you nailed it this time. This even allows for “organic church” to happen even in the context of “traditional church”. Woot!

  5. 1-27-2012


    I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading this. You not only explained the why and why not of “organic church life” but, you also explained the how to. It really makes sense and puts a lot of things into perspective. it’s not just where we meet, or even how we meet, but how we relate to one another (share Christ) on a daily basis. Thanks… Charles

  6. 1-27-2012

    I keep reading things about myths and how hard it is to find organic life. It not hard, it just has to start with US!! We have to be the examples. It seems we want to find it in others, but most do not want to be open and transparent themselves. I am the first to say, its not easy for me. I was so abused when I was younger I spent my life putting up walls to protect myself and keep people like you out. Then Keith came along and talked about bad words like “vulnerable” and “transparent” and I thought he was nuts. Its still not easy for me. I will be transparent until someone makes me feel unsafe and then the walls go up. At least I try. I fully believe that when people start being open and transparent themselves thats when they will find organic life.

  7. 1-27-2012

    Kudos, Alan. Great post. With respect to “organic church” (which has become a clay word now days), I commend the work of my good friends Jon Zens, Milt Rodriguez, Tony Dale, Felicity Dale, Robert Fitts, Neil Cole, Dan Hubbell, and Wolfgang Simpson. They’ve all done a better job writing about this subject than I have.

    My focus of late has been on God’s mission with respect to the poor and oppressed and moving “beyond evangelical” to the deeper things of Christ, aspects that transcend one’s views and experiences of “church,” whatever they may be.

    Keep up the great work!

    Christ is ALL,


    Psalm 115:1

  8. 1-27-2012


    Thanks. There are other good reasons that it is difficult to find organic church life. Yes, I’ve witnessed “organic church life” among more traditional, institutional churches.


    Yes, I think that’s a big issue. We’re used to thinking of church as a certain place or event that it affect us even when we’re looking for it to be something else.


    You said, “It has to start with us.” That is so true. In fact, it’s true EVEN if we find a group that is already sharing organic church life together. We still have to be willing to share our lives with them.


    Thanks for the comment. I’ve read and enjoyed most of those authors. I’m excited about the number of people who are focusing on serving in the mission of God together, regardless of our views and experiences of church.


  9. 1-27-2012

    This has brought to mind the nonconformist motorcycle genre, where to be nonconforming they dress alike, and structure their nonconformity.

    As Frank pointed out “organic church” can be a catch phrase.

    I do believe that as we seek His will, His desire for our lives, and as we grow in His grace, and knowledge this organic relationship will develop, in Him, by Him, and for Him.

    This in my mind does not leave out the need or desire to search, as ask, seek, and knock for ways to experience the bonds of unity in a better way.

    With this being said, today I’m yearning for new wineskins, to experience this Majestic King, this all encompassing Christ with my whole heart.

    Proverbs 3:5,6 is my position, my posture, and I pray, come Lord Jesus, come.

  10. 1-27-2012

    Yes. I think you have nailed it.

    Here is a copy of my post from this morning at Cerulean Sanctum:

    May I suggest that going about “finding” a church like this is the wrong approach?
    If God has planted a seed of desire in your heart for this community fellowship, then start sharing it with other Believers that you already know and love–people you have real relationships with. When you discover that someone is likeminded, then invite that person to dinner–break bread with him–and then talk some more. Start exploring what the Bible says about New Testament gatherings…basically you are doing a Bible Study but you are doing it together as you seek to learn what God has designed specifically for the two of you so it’s incredibly relevant to your lives as you figure out what to do next. Wait a minute…in sharing what the two of you are doing suddenly a third person who longs for the same thing becomes a part of the conversation, and your little Organic Church grows a tiny bit.
    (What I will call for the sake of this discussion) “My Organic Church” grew just like this–organically. People who love Jesus, love each other and are longing for a different way to worship, fellowship, and grow. So we came together and just “do it.” We don’t advertise, we don’t invite anyone to come, it’s just people who love Jesus and love each other trying to be “iron sharpening iron” and live out our walks together. We are deeply involved in each other’s lives in what I would call a New Testament fashion.
    It may surprise you to know that we all still attend “church” on Sundays and not even the same one, necessarily. But to me, “church” is really what this little group of Believers do together during the week in our own homes and what we do on Sunday mornings is more like Paul speaking at the Temple. It is a place to share Jesus with some Believers and some Un-Believers, to encourage the greater Body of Christ, etc. But “church” is what happens in our own homes as we break bread together in this tiny fellowship.
    You don’t “find” a church like this and start attending. You let the Holy Spirit lead you to others who are searching for the same thing and then you let HIM grow it into a unique little gathering. Each little organic church will be different, led by HIM to be what it is meant to be to those Believers who join together to participate.
    I think key to this is that you look amidst the relationships you already have. The people God has already drawn into your life for just such a purpose.
    Just my 2 cents…

  11. 1-27-2012

    As my comment post to yesterday’s “People want real examples of organic church life,” offered answers to Dan’s and Alan’s question at the end of the post “Why is it so difficult to find organic church life?”(and because I posted it at 2 a.m.) perhaps I would have been better off posting it as a comment to today’s blog entry. I will not re-post it here, as not to frustrate the moderator (who may re-post it if he likes). But I will suggest that those interested in some other insights into other answers for the “Why is it so hard to find organic church life?” question, and what can be done to make it easier, go back to that comment post.

    I will share today that one of the things that excites me about what I believe Jesus is doing in redefining and restoring His body, the church, through such groups is that the whole thing is clandestine. It is under the radar, out of sight. In this way, and through networks of such groups, I believe He intends to reach far more than the 2-10% drawn to discipleship now. In fact He may reach 30% or 50% in cities and regions (it was done in the early church) and all out of sight, for the most part, at least in a traditional sense. My understanding is that this exponential growth of such groups through multiplication, instead of addition, is happening now in parts of the 10-40 window(China, India, and some Islamic countries) where cultural and governmental resistance and persecution forced it to be clandestine. But the groups are spreading the authentic gospel of discipleship and relationships far more rapidly than traditional old wineskin mission methods ever did.

    That is just like our God, isn’t it? To build, through such networks of organic church life groups, a so called mega-church of thousands and thousands in a city or region without a visible huge building, parking lot, dynamic personality on a platform or pedestal, or stadium evangelist. Just the preeminence of Jesus as Head of the church, His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all, as the central focus.

    We must begin to understand that salvation is only the beginning, the entry point to the Kingdom of God. We must change our mission architecture from simply gaining decisions and believers to making disciples (which is what He commissioned us for Matt 28:19). Discipleship/making disciples requires fellowship with Him, in a community (His body) where He is revealed through others who are focused on Him as Head, and letting the Holy Spirit administrate ministry and the Kingdom through them by love, practical service and relationships. Our missional approach must not be just adding numbers to “our group”, but helping Him build His church by establishing other groups, perhaps hundreds of them, in our city or regions.

    It may shock you, but Jesus did not come to be “your personal savior”. Oh, it is true that He is “my” savior. But the eternal purposes of God were much more corporate. Paul prays in Ephesians 1: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling,what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints… Jesus came not just to save individuals, but to deliver an inheritance to the Father. For there to be an inheritance, someone has to die. In this case the death of Jesus delivered to the Father His inheritance “in the saints”. Yes, a by product of that was delivering to you and me salvation and eternal life. But,God, in His eternal purposes has always been looking for a corporate people, nation/family, with whom He could be comfortable, not just a person. That is why co-laboring with Jesus in apostolically building the church through multiplication of such groups focused on the preeminence of Jesus and fellowship in Him (which makes disciples),rather than just adding decisions that do not necessarily make disciples, should be our mission focus. When it is, it will not be “so difficult to find organic church life?”

    If He is lifted up from the earth (not just hung on a cross, but made alive… resurrection given testimony to, and manifest in us, His body and the fullness of Him who fills all in all, He will draw all men to Himself. (see John 12:32) These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:19b-23)
    We, the church, are to manifest and reveal Him in His resurrection to each other, the world around us, and principalities and powers above us (see Ephesians 3:10-11). He, and life in Him, should not be hard to find.

  12. 1-27-2012

    Excellent. Thanks.

  13. 1-27-2012


    So many folk are looking for their own, imagined, “organic church”.

    I remember,many years ago, taking a church through a series on the Book of Acts. When we were studying, many commented on how they wanted to part of such a church.

    The majority of the folk understood in terms of how others relate to,and interact with them, rather than how they relate to,and interact with others.

    Our tendency is to require others to live out OUR “organic” ideals,so that we can receive the “warm and fuzzy” experience of our ideal.

    True organic church happens in the same rough and tumble of life, as it did in the infant church, where people are their true selves, and not playing out their ideals, but living what it means to love the unlovable, and the unloving.

    When we don’t expect more from our brethren, than from ourselves, and we serve, rather than being served,things will be much more in line with what we see in Scripture.

  14. 1-27-2012


    I think your solution is correct – we need to get on with it ourselves, in some way! (which is a good reminder for me).

    I was thinking also on some of the other ’causes’ of this problem for us. I think the redefinition of community, both over the last 10 and the last 300 years have changed our ability to be community.

    Go back to the ‘middle ages’ and before, and communities were necessary – because each person ‘contributed’ in their own way, and if one was down (say, the chicken farmer, or the grocer, or the lady that sold eggs, etc), all would know. Everyone in the community ‘communed’, and essentially knew each other.

    We can I guess skip the influence of the industrial age where we all moved from communities who mostly lived and worked around the home and family, to more and more people moving into these strange things called ‘cities’, and what happened with that boom. Cities existed before, but with industry people moved from the family\community centric work to ‘travel to work’, where you may work and commune with an utterly different group of people.

    Now, community has changed again. Truly, you never need leave home, with such wonders as facebook for friends and online grocery shopping (which I know family uses – especially retired members, and is great for them). But community, as we knew it, has gone. We don’t go outside and meet our neighbours, we don’t meet at the ‘market’ to get goods. The ‘market’ now is staffed by an ever rotating roster of cheap teenage labour, not members of our community who produced and are selling their own goods.

    I guess that is part of a problem statement. But what to do? We can’t ‘go back to the old ways’. There are many benefits to our current society that would be hard for all of us to give up, and in fact with our population, we could not survive in ‘the old way’.

    Now community has been redefined in society, we need to try and work with that. Lets be honest – when God created the world, He knew community would be this way, and yet planned for His church to be here. So, we need to take the strengths (like internet – look, an aussie guy chatting with people around the world about common topics of interest, edifying each other – we are almost part of a community, if at least a ‘sub’ community), and run with them.

    But how to do it? I’ve honestly got no idea. Pray, and roll with the opportunities that arise.

    Sorry for the philosophical rant, but just some thoughts around this floating between my ears that needed to come out!


  15. 1-28-2012

    Nee said that when each one clings to the Head, they will find themselves marching lockstep with those who do the same. I love the example of God’s instructions to Moses regarding the construction of the tabernacle: He, Himself, would select and divinely instruct each of the necessary craftsmen. I firmly believe that the Kingdom of God is in our midst and it is for us to have and walk in that revelation, always looking unto Him who is the author and perfecter of our faith. We need to listen for the wind in the trees that blows where it will.

  16. 1-29-2012

    Organic church life will flow if we stop quenching the Holy Spirit. But how are we quenching the Spirit? Here are 10 ways:

  17. 1-29-2012

    If you love the vision you have for community, you will destroy community. If you love the people around you, you will create community. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    Great post, Alan. Well said.

  18. 1-30-2012

    We just posted a reply to whether “house church” is mythical. So will just add. Jesus is in the business of sending, calling, anointing, causing, counting, etc. We have been given the responsibility of walking our daily lives. The Lord blessed us in John 17. Paul encourages us in Romans and Ephesians. So now we do the living in the kingdom. Love and bless all those you encounter. Encourage the weak and make sure you listen to others and to the Lord. Speak to one another like those in Malachi 3:16. God pokes an angel in the ribs and has those conversations written down. Above all, love one another.

  19. 1-30-2012

    This all reminds me of an experience I wrote about last June – Christian Community – Church At 1:33am

  20. 1-30-2012


    I love Proverbs 3:5-6 also… especially the part about not trusting my own understanding. Has God revealed anything to you while you are seeking new wineskins?


    Can you tell us about some of the people who were already in your life who God led you to share those relationships with?


    (Here is a link to the comment that Randy mentioned…)

    Interestingly, I’ve found that some of the groups like you’ve mentioned are “clandestine” only in the sense that they can’t be “found” through normal advertising or marketing means. They are often well-known in their community… but for different reasons.

    Dan B.,

    Thank you.

    Aussie John,

    You said, “The majority of the folk understood in terms of how others relate to,and interact with them, rather than how they relate to,and interact with others.” That is a great way to put it! Thank you.


    About community… “But how to do it? I’ve honestly got no idea. Pray, and roll with the opportunities that arise.” Absolutely! But, of course, you must be looking for those opportunities and jump when you see them… even if they don’t look exactly like you want or expect.


    So, Moses had to trust God to work through others… perhaps in ways different that Moses would have liked or preferred… 🙂


    It’s amazing what God will do when we don’t quench the work of the Spirit. Thanks for the link!


    Yes, Bonhoeffer wrote some great things about community! We can love our dream of community so much that we end up hindering the work of community that God is actually doing.


    It’s amazing how those exhortations are directed from us to others… and yet we tend to expect a movement from others to ourselves.


    Thanks for the link!


  21. 1-30-2012

    I’m coming late to this discussion, but the original post and many of the comments ring true for me.

    I’ve just posted a response on my own blog –, see also a recent post ‘Circles of friends’ that is relevant too. –

    It’s so good to see this important topic being more widely discussed. Sometimes it’s been difficult to see the life clearly because we’ve focussed instead on activity.

  22. 1-30-2012


    You’re not late… right on time! Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out.


  23. 3-15-2012

    Being new to Life in Jesus, outside of church, we are just starting to contemplate, joining together, assembling, and the like, as a biblical pattern. Just at lunch today my wife and I discussed the needs for, mutual edification, prayer, and sharing/ teaching. What the Holy Spirit brought to our minds was to be careful to keep following and listening to Him, and not to attempt to force any pattern, even the first century biblical one. We also have noticed the natural gathering of our family members occurring with a new spiritual emphasis. At every meal when adult children or one grand child comes over, the topic is now “What has Jesus been doing in your life this week? What is the Holy Spirit saying to you? Where is the body of Christ headed?
    Praise the Lord!

  24. 3-19-2012


    We are family together in Christ. Just as you have noticed “the natural gathering of [your] family members,” we can see the same kind of natural gathering with our family in Christ. Of course, I think this kind of “natural gathering” will look different because families are different.


  25. 5-18-2012

    I’ve enjoyed reading the posts and comments. A lot of good comments were made, and I especially liked Jeanne’s comments. I agree, I’m coming to see that we can’t go out and find true organic church fellowship. It really is a little disappointing in a sense, but I feel since I grew up in the traditional church setting, it’s a little hard to get away from that all together. I am seeing that little by little, God seems to bring people into our lives that become a part of us as we share life, talk, pray and yes, eat together. I think this is more what fellowship is rather than sitting in a service an hour a week listening to someone else talk and looking at the back of the head of the person in front of you. The thing is, no matter if we attend a traditional church or are out of it and allowing God to bring us together with others, our love for God and for other people should be the focal point of our lives.

  26. 5-18-2012


    I love this: “The thing is, no matter if we attend a traditional church or are out of it and allowing God to bring us together with others, our love for God and for other people should be the focal point of our lives.” Thanks!


  27. 6-29-2012

    From the guy that lived in ‘organic’ church for 30 yrs and didn’t know it until I lost it, and then naively went looking for it again, I have to say I suspect’We cant see the trees for the forest’.
    There is no such thing as ‘organic church’ or ‘organic life’ in the way that traditional church mindset seeks for a replacement.
    The kingdom of God comes without observation, and I suspect the emergence of organic church is included.
    This city we are looking for has foundations we cant see or explain in a 12 step how to manual.
    Its not for good intentions orlack of trying that we have managed to create this multi headed Medusa called church.
    The road to Gehenna is paved with good intentions and if the long litany of evil things christians say and do, and refuse to do for each other aren’t hellish then I don’t know what is.
    And sermons have only made us better at justifying our collective guilt.
    I wish we would just quit looking for anything organic, as if its an entity or observable, and simply get on with loving and serving one another, and once we are, move on to encouraging others to do so.
    And that includes not allowing anyone to drag us back to discussing or teaching ecclesiology before they are practicing one anothering daily, with visible fruit.
    The beautiful thing about doing what He told us is that once its become a habit, and most of us are living that way, it wont be necessary or even feel right to go back to bickering or pontificating.
    We have not seen or heard or tasted the depths of Gods love because we have not done what He said would bring His love from heaven to earth.
    In a few weeks, God can transform our daily one anothering into church, or ministry or what ever He wants, but instead, we have muscled our way into the boardroom and sat ourselves down at His table and included ourselves in building ‘church’, when He said He would do it.
    In Johns Revelation of Christ, He saw a lampstand in each church.
    The threat of removal of the lamp was part of Jesus message to each church that He felt was in need of repentance.
    One of those churches was what we would call ‘spiritual’ and holy and organic, and yet they were threatened too.
    Where does that leave all of us?
    If we would truly see Him lifted up so that He may draw all men to Himself, we should do what He wired us to do, which is spend our energy, time and ingenuity in enjoying and serving one another, and any one who has need. Do that fully, as He said to, and Satan will oppose you full throttle, and you wont have much time for discussing or building anything.
    But the glory that will descend on all of us, and those around us will be written and talked about for many years to come.
    We collectively need to get over our own integrity and sincerity and just do our part so He can do His.
    Where two or three do that in His name, He is there, and He is church.

  28. 6-29-2012


    This is very important: “We collectively need to get over our own integrity and sincerity and just do our part so He can do His.” I would also add that we need to put aside our strategy and plans and seek life in Christ wherever God has us and around whatever people God brings into our life.


  29. 11-9-2013

    I just found this while searching on the web. I really appreciate the blog entry and comments.
    I believe its true, in a sense that it starts with us. We need to lay our lives down for our brothers and sisters. There should be a hunger and a thirst to waste our lives on each other. We need to lay down our lives. Believe me, I have. It seems though, that the people i am in fellowship with do not reciprocate. (With the exception of one sister). Nobody in the group can get along reading Frank Viola’s books, saying they are too wordy, or others just refusing to read.
    There is no human leadership, we meet twice a week in our homes. Meetings tend to include singing led by a guitar player, and a bible study. Besides that it’s a friendly chat.
    There was a time in the past when the group was in its first 18months of coming together, when we did experience organic church life, even though we didn’t know thats what it was at first. we were full of the joy of the Lord and saw healing take place as a normal, regular occurrence, but those people are no longer with us and everything has changed.
    Also, Frank in his books says that a church needs to be planted by an apostle or a worker.
    We cried out to people like frank and milt back when we was struggling in our real relationships that we had with one another….. We needed a worker to come from the outside and help. No-one came. Now i cant help but wonder if I will ever be a part of something like that again.

  30. 11-9-2013

    Hello Peter. Actualy, I don’t believe that a church *needs* outside ministry from apostolic people for it to be authentic or survive.

    As I put it in “Finding Organic Church” (where I share my experience of over 20 years of meeting with organic expressions of the church), extra local help from people who are endorsed by credible Christians is valuable and biblical, but it’s not necessary for a church to exist.

    You may not be aware (I’ve stated it on my blog several times), but for the last 3 years I’ve not been involved in organic church due to a seasonal shift in ministry to focus on helping the poor and writing on Jesus studies.

    However, if your group desires outside ministry, I would encourage you to contact Felicity Dale, Tony Dale, Neil Cole, or Ken Eastburn. I know them all personally, they are my good friends, and I affirm their ministries. They all travel and help groups. Milt and Jon are great, but they are swamped right now.

    I don’t typically respond to comments (due to time), so if you or anyone else have further comments on this subject or questions, you can email me at PTMIN at aol dot come.

    Blessings, fv, Psalm 115:1

  31. 11-9-2013

    Hi frank.
    I was aware, because i did subscribe to your blog until very recently, but it was 3 years ago or maybe a bit more when we asked for help through the rebuilders website. We did get a delayed response saying that they were busy, so please be patient. Meanwhile the church got shipwrecked through broken relationships.
    I have read all your books Frank, and i think its fair to say that you put a strong emphasis on apostolic workers and their vital role in laying the foundations of a church.
    I dont disagree. I just wish that we had someone in the UK helping Organic churches to get established. If we just had one church firmly established, maybe the Lord could use it to raise up workers of our own in the future.

  32. 11-9-2013


    Like Frank said, I do not believe that a group of believers needs someone else (an apostolic worker, for instance) to help them. A mature brother or sister in Christ (regardless of spiritual gifting) can be beneficial, if that person is able to share his/her life with the group for a time.

    From your description, I would suggest that the group never truly learned to share their lives with one another. True fellowship comes after the excitement (of the newness/adventure) dies down and real life sets in – the boring parts included. Don’t be afraid of sticking with 2 or 3 people who are willing to continue to share life with you, even when everything is not exciting.


  33. 11-9-2013

    Alan, so true. Help of any sort sort is beneficial so long as the person giving the help is providing encouragement and edification through Christ.

    Peter, I sympathize with your situation and I’m sorry no one was available at the time you were asking for help. Tony and Felicity Dale are from the UK and they travel there still. I’d suggest you reach out to them. They are the salt of this earth. Dear friends and extremely gifted. I love them and you will also.

    As for your comment regarding my books, I stopped writing about organic church in 2009. I’d recommend that your group — whomever is interested — get a hold of books by Felicity Dale, Jon Zens, and Neil Cole. They’ve all been writing currently on organic church and they are all better writers than I am. The group can use my books for doorstops! 😉

    Every Blessing,


    Psalm 115:1

  34. 11-9-2013

    To follow on Alan’s comment, our house group is basically down to my wife and I and one family with two children, age 13 and 9. One couple who met with us moved to 1o00 miles a way to Florida, and I think they will be having tgheir own home group there. Another couple moved 25 miles away and are trying to start a house group there, but are having some trouble so they still show up at our house some Sundays. But even if it’s just with this one family, I feel the Lord is still in charge. We two familys are working at being missional among friends and relatives and at work and in our neighborhood. For instance, the 13 year old proposed a work to do to benefit area nursing homes for instance and we’re working on that and plan on involving friends and family in the project. I’m working with the husband so we can help each other be the first pastors to our wives and families. So I feel we’re moving forward and following the Lord. We can always do better and we’re always learning but I feel good about where we are.

  35. 11-10-2013

    Thanks Frank.
    I did meet Tony and Felicity about 9 years ago and I have just subscribed to house2house. The problem now is that there are not enough people left in our group who would accept them.
    Alan, we did have real relationships and a shared life, but we were under heavy attack from the enemy. In one case there was some deliverance required, but none of us knew what to do about it. In another case there was a bitter divorce between a married couple. The sister from that divorce has just begun to meet with us again…. Praise our Lord for that!
    We also had a few strange people come in to deliberately disrupt and/or take over.
    Please pray that we can be of one mind enough to accept some outside help.

  36. 11-10-2013

    I don’t think I am quoting out of context here….
    “While itinerant workers are not a panacea, they are a resource that no church should do without”
    Finding Organic Church page 159.

  37. 11-10-2013

    Thx. Pete. Absolutely. If a church has access to such ministry, it’s a valuable resource that should be taken advantage of and not neglected. Hence why I recommended you to contact Tony and Felicity Dale when you come to critical mass.

    However, I also point out that extra-local help can come from many different sources and many different forms. E.g., you’re getting it right now on this blog by hearing from different people who are extra local, since none of us lives in the UK.

    My main point is that a group that is isolated and feels they have all the resources within themselves will eventually suffer loss.

    Keep praying and see what the Lord does; it may not look like what you’re expecting, but it will be God nevertheless. Hence Alan’s encouragement is “spot on,” to use a UK phrase. 😉


    Psalm 115:1

  38. 11-11-2013

    Thanks Frank.

    Just to let you know…

    I dabbed my toe in the water concerning tony and felicity with the rest of the group. It went down like a lead balloon. My wife and I assured everyone that we had met them both years before and they are perfectly normal.

    My wife though, also thought we do not need outside help. The one sister who i spoke of before jumped at the idea and said she would make sure to spend the whole time with them if they came. Everyone else seems happy with the status quo.

    Feels like I might just aswell go to IC….. I could push through and just start suggesting some of the meeting activities you talk about in “finding organic church” for example. Whenever I have tried to breathe life into the church before like this or in other ways it has worked. BUT…….. Everyone starts looking to me as leader and this causes all the problems that go along with that. And when I stop doing it, meetings revert back to how they are now.

    Nevertheless I will pray about it, but I think I know what Lord will say.