Democrat or Republican? Allah, Buddha, Jesus or “other”? Asking a lady her age or weight? All of these are questions which are totally forbidden, or at least, that’s what I was taught growing up. But another one has entered the arena and has been hotly debated on social media and the media in general. What is this new hot topic? Organic versus non-organic food. Seriously, I have been standing by when I thought a fight was going to break out between people heatedly discussing how the whole “organic” food thing is just a croc versus how there are so many pesticides and chemicals in “non-organic” food that we are basically just poisoning ourselves. To be honest, I have no idea who is right. Can I be even more honest? I know I should care, but, I don’t. I know that means some you might stop reading right there and delete this email. So be it. I’m sorry. I’ll try to care more about it, but it probably won’t work.
Now, I’m not a gardener, and I’ve already confessed my lack of understanding in the whole organic versus non-organic foods. But, here’s something I do understand. If you let something grow completely naturally, you will likely end up with a good product. But in order to promote the most healthy and vibrant growth, you also need to add in some systems: nutrients, water, weeding, fences, etc. Why wouldn’t we give our best to ensure our efforts don’t fall short?
With all that being said, the discussion between an organic following of Jesus and a systematic following of Jesus is alive and heated within the church world. Here’s the tension. Shouldn’t following Jesus be a very personal thing, just between you and God? God gave us the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and guide us; shouldn’t we let Him? After all, we were designed to grow in our relationship with Jesus. Shouldn’t we just let that happen naturally? That’s a quick description of the organic school of thought. I actually agree with almost all of it. I do believe that God is at work in each and every one of us in very unique and personal ways. However, I also believe that when left to just figure this out completely on our own, we have a tendency to go a little wild in our growth.
This is exactly what we seek to do as a church with our dream of becoming A Place For Everyone. We want people to Experience The Love of Jesus, Find Life-giving Relationships and Pursue their God-given Purpose, so we intentionally create environments and opportunities, which are seedbeds for the organic growth God wants to do in them in a very personal way. We intentionally craft environments for those who are far from God and for those who are a whole lot closer to God. It’s not just a newbie that needs to freshly experience Jesus’ love. Everyone of us needs to be experience Jesus’ love constantly. It’s not just a rookie that needs life-giving relationships. We were created to be in community. And it’s not just someone who’s just started asking Jesus questions who needs to find their purpose. Each of us is on a dynamic journey, and we need to allow God to lead us down His paths. Perhaps that might happen with no systems or processes, but that has not been my experience. Nor has it been the path of the church…ever. Paul had perhaps the most organic experience with Jesus on the road to Damascus, and yet he is one of the biggest proponents of instruction and guidance on this path of organic growth in Jesus.
Believe me, we want everyone’s relationship with Jesus to be real, authentic and personal, but we don’t believe systems and processes restrict that. If done right, these systems and processes will promote that organic growth.