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Organized AND Organic Gatherings (Chris Francis)

A few weeks ago I heard someone make a great point about the importance of having a balance of both organized & organic gatherings in order to really embrace the “family” nature of church.

Think about your own family. You probably have organized times of hanging out (weekly dinners, annual summer vacations, monthly date nights, birthday parties, etc.).

But then you probably have more organic & spontaneous things that happen each day (son and mother have a conversation over breakfast, father and daughter hanging out on the way to school, big brother and big sister making fun of little sister, mom and dad having a moment while doing the dishes, etc.).

Point is ­-  healthy families have both.

And healthy church families have both as well.

At True Life, our organized church gatherings include Sunday mornings (perhaps the most organized), life groups, the birthday party that we just had, the Labor Day pool party at the Mercadantes’ house.

But then there should be organic, more spontaneous, more non­-promoted gatherings between everyone (game nights with a handful of people, guys grabbing lunch, girls grabbing coffee, double­dates, and play dates). These are things that are not announced on Sunday mornings, are not put on the website, and are not included in my mass emails. Instead, these are things that require people to have each others’ phone numbers, to be creative, and to take initiative.

As a whole, I personally think our church has a good balance of both. But when it comes to individuals, it seems like everyone tends to drift toward one over the other.

And so here is my question to you: Which type of gathering do YOU need to embrace more fully?

Below are my own theories about why we avoid the different types of gatherings.

Reasons we avoid the organized gatherings:

­ Fear of commitment. What if I volunteer to serve on a Sunday morning, only to get free tickets to a concert Saturday night? I won’t want to come in Sunday morning.

­ Loss of control. If I sign up for a life group, I might end up having to deal with one or two people that I find really annoying. I want to be in full control over who I hang out with.

­ Bad experiences in the past. Anything that a church organizes just feels too “legalistic” to me. I don’t even know what that word means, but it seems to fit.

Reasons we avoid the organic gatherings:

­ Fear of rejection. What if I invite someone to hang out and they reject me?

­ It’s messy. If we invite Ted & Tina over for dinner, they’ll probably ask us about our marriage. It’s safer if we just see them at church.

­ Laziness. I don’t want to take initiative. I don’t want to have to think about this. Can’t Pastor Chris just organize it and tell me what to do? Then if it’s lame I can blame it on him.

What do you think? Are you guilty of any of these mindsets? I’ll admit that I have been guilty of all of them at various times in my life.

But whether you can identify with some of these reasons or you think I’m way off in my theories, the point is — ­­ are you embracing both kinds of gatherings? Do you see the value in being a part of our organized gatherings AND also initiating more organic forms of hang­outs?

Do you value your own role in our new and growing church family?

I hope so.

Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.” – 1 Corinthians 12:14

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