Category: Missional Church

Organic Church

A couple organic quotes from Alan Hirsch’s The Forgotten Ways:

“The problem is that most people see the church as an institution and not an organic movement (living system), in spite of the fact that the Bible is replete with organic images of church and kingdom (body, field, vine, soil, etc.).” p. 253

The Bible is laced with organic images that engender an “ecological view” of the church and leadership. If we remodeled our leadership and churches with these organic metaphors in mind, we would develop a more fertile communal life.” 166

“Having Babies is Fun….each unit of church can be conceived as a pod filled with seeds: each church “pregnant” with other churches. And it is in following this impulse that the apostolic church extends itself….this is actually how all powerful movements start. It begins with a group of people impassioned with a cause that reproduces itself through multiplication systems.”

Rethinking Richard Florida

Despite the surge of success of Richard Florida’s work The Rise of the Creative Class, there are some reasons to rethink his work. The trouble with Florida’s thesis is not in the accessibly or cogency of his argument–that urban economies are fueled by creative people–but rather in some of his assertions and applications of his creative thesis.

Do Florida’s assertions about the CC being integral to economic growth hold up? Steven Malanga points out that many Creative Class cities have not outpaced non-CC cities in their job growth. Innovation and entrepreneurship are flourishing in non-CC cities such as Detroit and Grand Rapids, cities that Florida writes off.

What about Florida’s urban growth applications? Rise of the Creative Class relies heavily on the gay and bohemian index to identify creative class cities and even recommends that cities attempt to draw gay populations to stimulate dense, hip, culturally diverse, and economically strong urban centers. The plain trouble with this advice is that there are plenty of Creatives that prefer high culture and social homogeneity, people who prefer the space, safety and luxury of the suburbs over the density, crime and “creativity” of the city.  Perhaps we should not write off urban growth standbys, such as lower taxes, better education, improved basic services, and efficient governance.

Critiques included, Rise of the Creative Class still offers a wealth of cultural insight into some of America’s most successful cities. Only the passing of time will truly prove or disprove Florida’s economics. Yet we do well to note that as people who exist to renew cities, spiritually, socially, and culturally, missional Christians should exegete their cultures, understand the basic needs of their cities, and maintain the centrality of the whole gospel. With all this talk of cultural capital, we must be careful to not be swept up into planting cool churches and being cool people. Jesus didn’t fit that mold, and the poor of our cities need much more than Kanye’s latest album or a pair of Diesel jeans.

For more critiques:

Glaeser, Review of The Rise of the Creative Class

Malanga, Curse of the Creative Class

People Group Receptivity in US

First we must recognize that the church growth school’s designation of a receptive people group is based upon actual, observable social occurrences. Societal change is occurring due to the presence of the gospel. People are leaving their old beliefs and accepting the gospel. Persons of peace are converting to Christ and spreading the gospel through their social networks. Groups of new believers are forming new social structures called churches. These churches are reproducing and multiplying.

Read the rest from NAMB research…