You can go to almost any grocery store these days and find foods with an Organic label. The term has become in vogue and put on everything from produce to clothing. But be warned. Not everything that is labeled "organic" has met the qualifications for that identity.
In fact, the label Organic has been so misused and slapped on anything someone wants to call Organic in the last couple years, that new stringent requirements are being put into effect before a product can legally claim that title. That's good. It keeps the integrity of the label and then we all know that what we're buying is the real thing.
We are in a similar place with the Organic, Simple, Missional expression of Christian life and fellowship. Organic labels are being slapped on anything someone wants to call by that name. Any why not? It sounds green, cool and trendy - and that's important to some people. I wrote a little about some of this already in the April post called "The Human Hijacking of Organic".
This issue needs to be addressed over and over because the the repercussions could be the difference of this initiative of God being either being squelched, or ultimately nurtured.
In a recent Twitter post, a friend of mine asked; "Will the real Organic please stand up!". For some of us older folks, we remember a television show called; 'To Tell The Truth' that was popular and used this phrase in it's conclusion of the show. In the show, three people would claim the name and identity of the only one true individual with that name. The other two would fake it as best they could, looking, speaking and acting as much as possible as the real person of that identity. The judges job was to discern the real one.
With the influx of multiple definitions and explanations of the word Organic, it becomes even more important that we continue to stand for what is truly Organic and not let the term, and ultimately the expression of it, find itself far removed from its true essence.
So how do we know what is really Organic or just a transferred label?
Second Shifters, your task is to wade through all the pablum and find the real thing and communicate it well using your gifts and influence.
It won't be easy. But, I believe most Second Shifters are those with gifts of teaching, discernment and are Truth Seekers. God has put within you a desire to "know how something works" and how to apply it for use. God has given and equipped you with all you need to take the baton from the First Shifters and Explorers to transform the wilderness into settlements. Your those to lay foundations of what is to be built upon by the masses who will adopt Organic life and allow God to flourish in their individual oikos's (spheres of influence).
Just to reiterate what I say over and over in my blogging, I will continue to define Organic Church as: that which is initiated by God through a intimate and dependent relationship with Him and then expressed naturally and uniquely through that relationship to others. Be it through how you fellowship, with whom, and in what place, the primary feature is that it is the initiative of The Spirit of God for His unique and natural outflow of Himself through the life of a believer to those around him. It has far less to do with a form, a style, or something to be copied and eventually placed into a model.
Jesus is our perfect example of this, seeking the Father each day for instructions as to how and with whom, He was to interact with on that particular day. A lot of variety, a lot of unique interactions, a lot of fruit because it was born and initiated in the will of the Father. That's organic.
Okay, so maybe you disagree, or have found some other alternative definitions. That is to be expected. Who am I anyway? The challenge is for you Second Shifters, the Implementers, to take your role and position to communicate clearly, effectively and accurately just what is in essence; Organic.
As I said previously in my last blog post; communication at this point of implementation becomes far more important because the impact and scope is so much greater, than during the exploration phase. There is a lot at stake with this phase and Second Shifters have a huge responsibility. Portability is a necessity if there is to be any real change or impact. But, portability of the real thing. Not an impostor, an adaptation, or revised humanized religiously acceptable version.
In marriages, friendships, work relationships, parent/child interactions - basically any relational connection, communication is always a challenge.
Communication is both the delivery of what we're saying, AND the receiving of the message.
Some people think that good communication is just in the delivery. They spend all their time on putting as much information out there as they can, oblivious to how it is being received and possibly misconstrued. Both delivery and reception have equal validity in creating and sustaining good communication, and it's not an easy thing to accomplish. Our own ideas, past history, emotions, hurts and just the skill of picking the right words, all make it challenging. Really listening to someone else, without imposing your own thoughts or words to what their saying is extremely difficult and a skill that takes time and practice.
Those of us who are married know you can say one thing to a spouse and it can be received in an intirely different way! Or with a teenager who heard something completely different than what was said.
The First Shifters primarily explored the wilderness of doing/being church and mission differently. Second Shifters teach and communicate it for the adaptation. Third shifters are the majority and it is they who will bring real transformation and impact. If each one reaches their own oikos, their own spheres of influence and relational connections, widespread impact can occur. The scope of reaching the world with the Good News of Jesus, all of a sudden, takes on the proportions of places like China, and India, where God is moving powerfully through each Christian, not just the few.
With the next blog post I want to explore the Third Shifters...........