A truth we must understand and a question we must answer:
- Truth: The Church is an organism and an organization.
- Question: How should this two-dimensional view of the Church shape the way we structure and relate to our local Churches?
An organism is alive and growing. References to the Church as a body remind us of the organism side to Church.
The reality of Church as organism should caution against thinking that we can be all that God intends for the church through structures and organization. Overly structuring the life of a local body of believers could become a hinderance to the organic life of the Church.
As an organism, the spiritual life (i. e. life generated by the Holy Spirit) should lead to spontaneous ministries of the Spirit within a local assembly.
The Church is the habitation of the Spirit of God. He (the Spirit) gives life, indwells, baptizes, seals, fills and gifts each member of the Church for service (Rom. 8:9; I Cor. 6:19-20; II Cor. 1:21-22 I Cor. 12:3; Eph. 1:13; 4:30; 5:18-21).
The ministry of the Spirit through God’s people is both a structured and spontaneous reality.
Connecting points for deeper community
Perhaps formal gatherings of a Church should be viewed as valued times of corporate worship and instruction where believers connect with each other with the intention of carrying those connections into the rest of life.
It is misguided to think that the full intention of common life in Christian community can be accomplished in formal gatherings of a local Church.
Mutual caring and accountability must reach well beyond gatherings in a Church building. Nor does it always necessitate structured contact through programs.
- Is it possible to obstruct the ministry of the Spirit with structures?
- Is it possible to overly depend on structures to accomplish the ministry of the Spirit?
- What kind of community is possible (or should be expected) when believers are immersed by one Spirit into organic life together?