Stay Loose, Stay Organic

Small group churches–Kingdom communities–should adopt the organic paradigm. They should, at the beginning, understand that they do not intend–indeed it is not an option–to shift to an organizational paradigm or corporate structure.

If they understand at the beginning that it is not an option, then they have to be thinking in terms of multiplication, not addition. They need to understand that more distant relationships are a natural outcome as numbers increase. Even if you grow larger as a congregation, the increase of numbers naturally creates distance because people tend to have only enough margin to invest in a limited number of people. If a group is growing, in the organic model they begin to think about multiplication.

There is resistance to that because it inserts distance in the relationships. People need to understand, even convinced, that that is going to happen anyway. As numbers increase groups or clusters of people will form. The relationships within those subgroups will deepen and other relationships will become more distant. This result doesn’t reflect rejection or animosity, it is simply a function of growing larger.

This is why I advocate for a network. In a large Church people mix and mingle in distant relationship, but typically there are clusters, small groups, that reflect the closeness that is so important to those in a house church. If we are voluntarily interdependent, we make a place for those clusters to connect as they would naturally in a larger church that has a campout, or a Sunday picnic, or an all-church seminar. The analogous gatherings in the organic Network are called Vines, that is “Voluntary Intra-Network Events.”

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