Helpful Tidbits for Organic Church Life                                       December 8, 2008
Kimball Asks, "Where's the Fruit?"
My Reflections
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In the excerpt below Dan Kimball asks "Where's the fruit?" In other words, "Where's all these missional churches that are supposedly popping up everywhere?" On the one hand, I think it's a reasonable question. After all, I can't honestly say there's so many organic church expressions in my community there's too many to count. On the other hand, I think looking for fruit prematurely is a mistake, too. Although some organic church "networks" have blossomed, most are still buds, waiting to mature.

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION/TOPIC: Where's the fruit?
Kimball Asks, "Where's the Fruit?" 
Excerpt from "Missional Misgivings" by Dan Kimball
kimballI hope I am wrong. For the past few years, I have been observing, listening, and asking questions about the missional movement. I have a suspicion that the missional model has not yet proven itself beyond the level of theory. Again, I hope I am wrong.

We all agree with the theory of being a community of God that defines and organizes itself around the purpose of being an agent of God's mission in the world. But the missional conversation often goes a step further by dismissing the "attractional" model of church as ineffective. Some say that creating better programs, preaching, and worship services so people "come to us" isn't going to cut it anymore. But here's my dilemma - I see no evidence to verify this claim.
Click here to read the rest of Kimball's article, published on 11/26/08 (and yes, although the guys over at Pyros did a little Photoshop action, Dan does sport some pretty big hair).
My Reflections
One of the things we have to admit as a movement is that "going gangbusters" probably wouldn't be the adjective of choice to describe our growth rate. If we're talking about the majority world (the new way to describe "third world countries"), then possibly. But in the U.S.? No, gangbusters is not the word. Words I'd use to describe the growth of our movement are these: slow-going, gaining momentum.
At the same time, if I were to pick adjectives to describe our fruit, I'd pick: faithful, pleasing to God, and highly reproducable.
I think this is something to remember: just because we're excited about what we're doing doesn't mean we have to oversell our "version" of church to conventional church practitioners. Do I think organic church is the way to go? Absolutely. But the whole thing's sort of like having a baby. The result is really good, but to suggest the delivery process is "fast" and "clean" would be lying.
Imagine saying to a woman who's been having contractions for an hour or so, "Where's the baby? I should see a baby by now." On second thought, don't do that.
Things take time to reach a "tipping point" and as far as I can tell the organic church movement in the U.S. is still being "delivered." It's a slow process and can be messy. In the mean time, let's metaphorically chew lots of ice and try not to say (or think) mean things to those who are looking for us to push harder. What's more, let's rejoice with those movements that have already delivered. Their success is a blessing and we can praise God for it.
Hope this was of some benefit to you.

Traver Dougherty
The Banqueting Table