Organic churches have been in headlines. Now the question is whether they will endure. Every ministry has risks involved. I think it’s a matter of how these ministries will endure.

The article speaks of possible burnouts. That’s just inevitable. And the author is banking on the inevitability. Seminary students who are out of the ministry are classic examples. None of the six youth pastors I’ve had growing up are in full-time ministry. It’s true. They got tired of ministry.

So is the organic church the answer? The author doesn’t seem to think so. But he’s willing to encourage his fellow churchmen that they ought to be focused on obedience rather than results, because setbacks will happen.

I fear however that this “encouragement” is not really encouraging. These “new” ways of doing church may not be new–so say the pioneers because of the early church. Rightly so. But the leaders of the church need to continually replenish the co-laborers around them, the ones who are carrying on the smaller units of church life. This is hard to do. It doesn’t get done, at least well enough with the pastor(s) being renewed themselves.

So I would say that yes, burnouts are inevitable, but it’s all the reason to get ready for those times of valleys to loo up to the heights of the hilltop experience.

From Long Live Organic Church!

Take away the extreme examples, and look at the ongoing, normal, everyday life of the local church, century after century. It is not a bright example of evil, but merely good intentions in a coma. Institutional. Programmatic. And full of people whose lives look anything but transformed. Churches time and again, in culture after culture, look like they are composed of nothing but sinners. We are kidding ourselves if we think, finally, our generation will turn things around.

This is precisely why many of my seminary classmates have abandoned ministry. They ran into a brick wall of legalism or lethargy or just plain Christian hardness of heart and said, “Enough is enough.” I have one California friend who would much rather put up with the headaches of the business world than those of the church. I dare say every reader of this column knows one or more ministry leaders who are burned out and angry.

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