Being Organic

Apr 28, 2006

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.

4 Comments. Leave new


Excellent image of the “church”. I was wondering if the wild garden included some wild insects and animals? 🙂

It will be interesting to hear from those who consider themselves a part of Southpoint. Do they identify with the image? Is it harder to do the image than just think about it? How will new people adapt to the image of a wild garden and still connect the dots to Jesus and His message?

I have always appreciated your willingness to think “without a box” in the midst of serving Christ and His cause in His church. Blessing of grace and mercy be yours in abundance today.


Do we get to pick what flower we are?

I get excited just thinking about our “garden” and what God is planting in it.

Something I found interesting in that same “wild garden” passage I shared with Scott is the idea that some plants are meant to become strong, sturdy trees to last a long time, and others are meant to only be flowers who bloom for a season. Whether this refers to people’s gifts being used, leadership, or something else, it’s a beautiful image of the refusal to take control of the garden ourselves. It leaves some mystery and “the great unknown” in my mind. Just the way we, and He, wants it I think!

I want to be a sturdy tree planted for a long time. I value the focus of Southpoint and have come to appreciate the wild garden. Thank you for inviting me to the table with you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *