My friend Laura recently gave me a great image of the church – a wildflower garden. Not straight and neat and cultivated and orderly and uniform. But rather its beauty lies in its diversity, randomness and lack of intense cultivation. There is even room for a few weeds in this garden.
I think this is what I have in mind when I talk about the need for our Church at Southpoint to be ‘organic’.
Organic is a way of growing things. A way that doesn’t force production or introduce foreign substances to the growing environment. Organic growth modifies our perception of success. We’re not looking for the perfect size and shape. We’re not driven by numbers and high yields. We’re not seeking tight uniformity to a predetermined standard of excellence.
Instead, we’re pursuing health and wholeness in an environment that encourages the most natural forms of growth and beauty possible.
Organic church causes us to look at the way we worship, reach out, make decisions, form community.
This year, it has meant doing away with Robert’s Rules of Order. It has meant canceling all our plug-and-play small groups including Alpha. It has meant running none of the usual programs associated with the suburban church. It has meant no advertising.
Instead, we gather around the table in a home mid-week for a shared meal and guided conversation (and the occasional episode of Amazing Race!). Sunday worship centers around the hospitality of God offered in Jesus and imaged in the cup and the bread. People are discovering natural ways to serve their neighbours, friends, co-workers and families as ambassadors for Jesus.
Artists have painted. Singers have sung. Teachers have taught. People have shared their stories. Kids have filled our meeting space with all kinds of noises and have even shared in communion! A diversity of age, race, occupations and incomes have gathered to form a wildflower garden.
This isn’t a good place for people who like control and order, procedure and protocol. It’s not a good place for people who like to do a lot of weeding. But it is becoming a place of natural beauty and I am glad to be gardened together by the same Spirit.