Defining Missional and Organic

This was a helpful article from Alan Hirsch

He offers some good clarification of over-used (yet often misunderstood) terms. IE:

What does the term missional mean to you?

Well, that's one of those very difficult terms because it's so widely used. But for me, it primarily refers to a church that organizes itself around the mission of God, or the misseo dei, which refers to God's involvement in the world—his redeeming it to himself. In The Forgotten Ways, I say that it's not so much that the church has a mission, but that the mission has a church. So when I think of the term "missional church," it's in that order—that a church has somehow bonded itself or identified itself as a primary agent of the mission of God in the world.

What about the term organic?

Of course that one has been made famous by Neil Cole, but organic for me is the idea that human organizations—just like living systems—are made up of very complex structures, and they have a life of their own. It's a term that's in contrast to a more mechanistic view of organization. So when I refer to organic systems, I'm thinking of a type of leadership and organization that is closer to the rhythms and structures of life itself.

An organic church goes with the natural flow of things. It doesn't try to perpetuate its life beyond what it's meant to be, which is different than most organizations. Most organizations tend to assume that once they've been started, they need to be perpetuated continually.

I found these definitions useful.  As I continue to study the "missional church" I am amazed at how many fundamentally different definitions there are floating out there.  This quote, "it's not so much that the church has a mission, but that the mission has a church" I believe identifies a very real issue for many churches.  Church leaders will spend countless hours and meetings hashing out the details of a mission statement for the church when truly the mission has already been given to us by God.  Maybe we should spend those hours trying to figure out how we can best partner with God in God's mission instead.

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