Monday, September 20, 2010

"Finding Organic Church"

Frank Viola upsets many people because his views on the church challenge much about the status quo. I don't agree with all he writes, but I appreciate his desire to be biblical.

In Finding Organic Church, Viola gets very specific and practical about organic church life. The book's subtitle explains well what the focus is: A Comprehensive Guide to Starting and Sustaining Authentic Christian Communities.

While Pagan Christianity deals with unbiblical modern church practices and Reimagining Church focuses on the biblical basis for what church life should be, Finding Organic Church lays out more of the nuts-and-bolts of both church planting and how the church should then function.

The aspect of this text that I found most beneficial was Viola's emphasis on the importance of the itinerant church planter. Quite honestly, I had not given this much thought before. Viola makes the case that almost all New Testament churches were founded by or at least connected with a church planter (Paul was obviously one of these). The church planter, according to Viola, is important because he has experience in organic church life and therefore knows how to help/direct in getting a new church started. Also, if the body of the new church looks to the church planter as an authority figure, this is not a significant problem because he will eventually move on, leaving the church to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

If you are interested in church planting as it relates to organic fellowships, then this book will be helpful to you.


Mark said...


AFter having come out of the institution bruised and hurting, I shunned the idea of authority for many years. I still don't believe in tradition top-down authority like what I grew up in, but now, as I read Paul's writings, it is impressed in my heart how much "authority" he carried in those communities. The biggest difference is that he didn't "Lord it over their faith", and he serve them first and foremost. I think the Lord is leading to a different understanding of authority in the church, probably someewhere in the middle between where I grew up and where I went afterwards.

Eric said...


I like Viola a lot, but I think he does reject authority (or at least seems to) to an unhealthy degree. The key for all of us is to strive to be biblical. There is certainly some human authority in the church; elders are servant leaders who have some leadership responsibilities. Sadly, we all know that this has often been abused.

Mark said...

What I have found in my life is that the Lord "knits" me together with certain brothers and sisters who are then in a position to speak into my life. I have one close brother who I highly respect, and any rebuke he might give me would be paid close attention to. I guess how I view authority now is that God institutes authority, but he institutes it in an organic fashion, as He has in my life. I also find it interesting how much the real body may end up looking very much like what we came from from the outside, and yet be so incredibly different on the inside. The Lord is certainly transitioning my thoughts on this manner of authority in the last few weeks.


Eric said...


Thanks for sharing this with me. I agree completely that it is much easier to listen to rebuke/correction from those who who know intimately.