Being outside of organised religion (i.e. christianity), it is not uncommon to be questioned in regards to the structure of the organic church. "What is your structure like?" "How do you organised yourselves?" "What do you do when you come together?" These are just some samples of the multiple queries of the same substance often raised during a conversation, usually between two believers, and especially when the other party found out that you are out of the institutional church (see previous post on the Definition of Church).
Before going further, it is good to clarify that all forms of matter, living and non-living, do have some degree of order or structure. Anything that is unstructured is random chaos and cannot possibly even exist. Okay, I suppose that gives my position on Intelligent Design away! So you see, it's not an issue of structure vs non-structure, but a matter of which structure.
Having said that, this is not to mean that structure necessarily equates institutionalism with the full-blown hierarchical system. At any rate, it is helpful to note that even the organic church has an organisational chart. However, it is not a multi-layered hierarchical chart but a flat chart with all on equal position under the common Headship of Christ. Strictly no other intermediary agents except the One and Only. Or you could also say that there is no other Foundation other than He Himself.
The philosophical usage of the term "structure" aside, here are (at least) three scenarios whenever someone asks, "What is the structure of the organic church meeting?"
1. They are looking for an organisational structure of the church. Most probably, they are looking for the in-charged and thus has looked at the wrong area. The organic church has a flat hierarchy, remember? Further, the functions of the church as a whole is much dependent on the spiritual gifting of the living stones, and not an iota on the creation of official positions for the discharge of an intended duty. And the combination of the different gifting is a matter of a dynamic relationship.
2. They are asking what happens during the meetings and hope to replicate the programs, activities or "order of worship" wholesale. While this is a big step forward than the above, it is however still program-centric. It is not what we do that constitutes the church, but who we are. Knowing that we are already what we are in Christ, both individually and corporately, before doing anything in our lives or during our meetings, it just might be relaxing or liberating for us to really do something - the organic way.
3. They are totally clueless about how this organic stuff works and sincerely wants some guidance on the how-to when the saints gather together in an organic setting. Remember the first time before you go out with your spouse-to-be, you also asks the same question! *smile* So do we need to sing, pray, read straight from the Scripture or dance around the coffee table every time we gather together? I think the safest guide is the one who is as clueless as you are. I am dead serious. :)
As a concluding remark, I think it is worth mentioning that the above has assumed that the Church has only one valid structure, but with different expressions. Even if you think that there is more than one valid structure, I am sure you would agree that there are good and bad, healthy and unhealthy structure. It is critical that we understand the principles of our coming together, nothing short of the eternal purpose of God.
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