the weblog of Alan Knox

Simple Church? Organic Church? House Church? Missional Community?

Posted by on Jun 25, 2012 in blog links | 15 comments

I’m so far behind in the blogosphere right now that I’m almost ready to give up and start fresh with posts from today. However, before I went out of town (and away from the computer) last week, I began following a series called “What’s in a Name” by Felicity at “Simply Church.”

So far, Felicity has examined the source and reason for the names “House Church,” “Simple Church,” “Organic Church,” and “Missional Community.” I love the way that she finds positive attributes behind each name.

For me, I prefer just using the name “church” for any gathering of believers. Yes, some believers organize more than others – and yes, sometimes I believe that organization overshadows the church. But, if the people of God are gathered, then the church is there.

On the other hand, I understand that it can be important to use labels such as those above (and others). I hope, though, that those who use various labels use them as descriptive and not as a reasons for separation or pride.

We are all brothers and sisters in Christ, and when we gather we are God’s church.


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

  1. 6-25-2012

    I share your concern that these “labels” are becoming “tribal” and that in fact apoligists are ready to defend their particular flavor as being “THE” way to go when Jesus has said that HE is THE way. If your organizing principle – and all 4 can be described as that – exalts Jesus and not the principle – then you have something.

    Each approach is practical and has it own set of pro and cons just as does the evolved congregational gathering also referred to as the traditional church – another organizing principle that has worked very well for many years.

    One of the primary problems for the latter – the traditional congregation – is that over time, PEOPLE have become entrenched and have gained control through their financial means or family stronghold. This WILL happen to the most “organic simple house church based missional community” that forgets the priority of being the body of Christ and obediently witnessing for him in Jerusalem, Judea and all the world.

    Put Jesus first.

  2. 6-25-2012

    No sir to the contrary. Most people I have come across when using the the term Church think of a building rather than the believers gathered together. So no one can mistake or answer back using the Word Church house is perfect when speaking of the location of the gather of the saints for worship corporately.

    You have probably heard some say you don’t have to go to a church to worship God, right. But when you say Church house, you are making a distinction between the building from the members of the LORD’S Body.

  3. 6-25-2012


    Yes, I agree. I do appreciate the distinctions that she brought out in each description though. I think it’s good to think about our brothers and sisters and ask how these descriptions might or might not describe us.


    If I was in a context where most people used the term “church” to refer to a building, then I was use another term to specify that I was talking about either the people or the building, just as you suggested. In my context, among the brothers and sisters that I know, most (if not all) of them use the term “church” only to refer to the people of God.


  4. 6-25-2012


    I would share the same opinion as Jon in his first sentence when he declares his concern regarding the sitution when,”…these “labels” are becoming “tribal” and that in fact apoligists are ready to defend their particular flavor as being “THE” way to…”.

    Generally speaking, that’s the scene in Australia.

    edwahzj_one understands the use of the word “church” in much the same way as that commonly found in this country. The word is more often than not capitalized when speaking of a denominational entity, apart from its use as a name or a title pertaining to that entity.

  5. 6-25-2012

    Aussie John,

    Yes, last week I was among people who often used the term “church” to refer to a building. I modified the way that I used the word “church” so that I specifically used it in a way that only referred to people, and used the word “building” to refer to buildings. So, I understand what you and ed are talking about.


  6. 6-25-2012

    Yes the word Church is so popular today, and truly the meaniing of Church is building period. And today people are realizing this more and more. So changing it to church house is good, getting away from building.
    Why don’t we just look back at the greek original text and see what word it was that was translated to church. It was Ecclesia,meaning the assembly, called out ones, fellowship, no one leader, they all shared between each other, everyone had a say.

    today it is not like it was, unless you are in a bible study like we all are doing here. Church, no matter how it is looked at means building period. the word church is never mentioned in the original text. Jesus came to build his people, the Ecclesia not buildings

  7. 6-26-2012

    I agree with Jon’s statement “I share your concern that these “labels” are becoming “tribal” and that in fact apoligists are ready to defend their particular flavor as being “THE” way to go…” Because we are involved in a monumental spiritual warfare, the devil will seek to assert control over any specific name for the Lord’s ekklesia. The original Greek word “ekklesia” seems to be the least problematic, or merely a descriptive word or phrase, ie. assembly, gathering or the like. Since the word “church” looks like an intentional mistranslation, I avoid using it, unless I am referring to buildings belonging to commonly known religious institutions.

  8. 6-26-2012

    Howard and Marc,

    If you cannot use the English term “church” in a way that refers only to God’s people gathered, then I would recommend that you use a different term.


  9. 6-26-2012

    I share your view expressed in the post brother.

  10. 6-26-2012

    Thank you Alan,how about the get together

  11. 6-27-2012

    J.R. (Joe),



    Yes, I often use the phrase “get together,” or the terms “assembly” or “gathering.”


  12. 6-27-2012

    Yes Alan there is a tremendous amount of love encapsulated within, these terms

  13. 7-1-2012

    Regardless of the term/word used, we must always avoid an “us” vs. “them” mentality and attitude. Such as this permeates the Church way too much, as it is.

  14. 7-1-2012




  15. 7-2-2012

    and a haleluah to that