Organic Church in a Nutshell
To begin, it can help to understand what organic church isn’t. It’s not a denomination or an institutional church of any kind. It does not seek any special privileges or incentives by way of government-sanctioned entities, but rather seeks its blessing and authority solely from the Lord of hosts. There is no building to be maintained and there are no “professionals” or staff. It is not a carnal institution. It’s not an organization, as we tend to think of organizations; rather, it’s helpful to understand it as an organism. We are part of a living body – the body of Christ. We are “living stones” being built into the house of God. We’re simply believers who are connected to the Vine, have unity in Jesus Christ, and are interested in serving one another with God-given spiritual gifts. The organic Christian church of State College aims to be a means of facilitating growth through expansion of independent fellowships, as the Lord gives increase.
From the time of the ascension of Jesus Christ until the second century, during Constantine’s reign as emperor of Rome, small group meetings in homes were the prescribed model and a norm for Christian fellowship. In some locales today, small groups meeting in homes is still normal Christianity. Sometimes this is because the Church is persecuted; in other cases its just how the Church has naturally emerged in those regions. While there is certainly nothing new about home-based fellowships, many Christians across the country and even around the globe today are just beginning to experience this approach as the primary source for their fellowship. They are discovering an authenticity and an expression of their faith in Christ that is unique to small groups.
Of course small group meetings also happen in the context of some institutional churches. However, “organic” church takes this idea a step further and removes professional leadership. Leadership still exists, but it is based exclusively on the spiritual gifts that God has dispenses within the body, and as the Holy Spirit leads. Also, because organic church does not aim for frequent large, corporate gatherings, it has no need for church buildings. Organic church grows simply by growing and establishing new groups that will also meet in homes. The organic Christian church of State College exists to cater to those who are interested in this form of fellowship. While most of the people who are involved consider their home group to be their primary source of Christian fellowship, others have (or do) consider their church home to be a denominational or institutional church.
While every home church and organic fellowship has a style unique to its members – and their personalities and gifts – they all share a common Spirit, the Holy Spirit, through which they are one body. Despite unique styles, there are certain practices that you should expect to see at any house church: teaching, prayer, worship, communion, and baptism of new believers to name a few. As for pastoring and teaching, they are not associated with profession or duty, but rather gifting. There may be many qualified teachers, any of whom can teach as they’re led by the Holy Spirit.
Essentially, anyone who’s name is written in the Lamb’s book of life is a part of this organic church. All who are in the Vine are accountable to the same ultimate Source of authority.