Organic Church Life: The Beginning

Organic Church Life: The Beginning

My wife and I left the traditional church in September 06 and began a search for authentic church life around Jesus Christ. In November 06 we began meeting with a group of folks who all left the same organized church in East Texas. We call this our “experimental house church” when telling our story. Why? Well, frankly, we didn’t know what we were doing.

We were all reading books on house churches and studying the Scripture in new ways. It was simply a time of discovery and of detoxing from religion. This is when I first began a long-distance relationship with Frank Viola. The Lord is still using his influence in our discovery of Christ in the church.

We were largely concerned about “what to do” than simply letting Jesus give us that familial community that is in Christ. Yet, this was the season the Lord had us in and it was an essential part of the journey.

In January 07 we went to the North Texas House Church Conference in Dallas. It was there that we learned not everyone was gathering in homes for the same reasons we were learning about through Viola and a few other authors.

We learned a huge lesson at this conference. Some folks had just switched venues (from the building to the house) but had no new revelation of Christ. It was really sad to watch. But we are thankful that the Lord allowed us to see the difference and draw close to him.

We were in this experimental stage for about 7 months. In the Summer of 07 we moved to Houston to seek new jobs and a new life. Our move was primarily made as a result of connecting with a group of believers who had been meeting in homes for 7 years in West Houston. I can still remember that first visit. Wow! That was when everything clicked.

The brothers and sisters there were radiating Christ in their gatherings. It was the first time I saw Jesus lead a gathering where there was no man leading. There was leadership, but not in any way I had ever seen.

It was also the first time I had ever met an 80 year old man who knew the Lord as a Person. He is now in heaven awaiting the resurrection of our bodies and the fullness of the Kingdom of God on earth.

The Lord moved us to The Woodlands in July 07 just north of Houston. It was clearly where the Lord wanted us… even though it was 45 minutes from the believers in West Houston. To keep this note short(er), I will just tell you we met with the saints there for a year. In that year, the simplicity of church life gathered around Christ had become natural for us.

We quickly began sensing the Lord calling us to meet where we lived. Not only were we convinced that this is how churches ought to be established (locally), we felt a deep desire for greater community with believers in our area. We knew the Lord wanted us to be an expression of his Person where we lived.

So, my wife and I, along with our friend Grant (27) who lived down the road from us, decided together that it was time to begin meeting in our city.

I wish I could tell you that the people started knocking on our door, but I would be dishonest with you if I did. We waited patiently for the Lord to naturally cause us to cross paths with folks who longed for more of Christ. The three of us met in our home (with an occasional visitor) for about 6 months before Jesus began moving around us.

We were just about to the point of discouragement (OK, maybe we were already there) when the Lord brought Michael (39) to us. He had been on a similar journey as the three of us. Toward the end of the year, we had another solid addition. Rita (50) committed herself to the fellowship.

Joel (39) e-mailed me after having read my Confessions of an Ex-Clergy Member. He and his family had been detoxing from the religious “mega-church” life for about a year. They lived right down the road from us! I met Joel at Starbucks for coffee and a bit of convo and we hit it off! His family of four (with one on the way) has been meeting with us since the first of the year.

Presently, we gather on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights regularly. These times are etched out in our schedules and are the easiest for sure times to meet. Every other week it seems we have a visitor.

The Lord is really busy around us. I have met with two brothers this month who just wanted to talk about Christ and our journey. I am meeting another brother this week who lives in Houston. I constantly have folks writing and inquiring about the gathering of the saints in our city.

Three weeks ago we had a gathering of house churches from all over the city. It was the first of its kind that we know of in Houston. There were about 60 there from all over Houston. One older brother there said he had been meeting in homes for 25 years and never knew we all existed. This tells me that we are on the front lines of what Jesus is doing in the greater Houston area.

We feel blessed to be included in the Lord’s work. In August, we will be having an Organic Church Life Conference in The Woodlands with Frank Viola and Milt Rodriguez. We are excited about what the Lord is going to do between now and then.

Finally, I just want to add what a joy it is to know Christ in community. As a local expression of Jesus in our city, we feel like we have known each other forever. We are beginning to see Jesus build his Body through real relationships that have him at the center. Thank you Lord!

3/15/09

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About David D. Flowers

David received a B.A. in Religion from East Texas Baptist University and a M.T.S. in Biblical Studies from Houston Graduate School of Theology. David has over 15 years experience as a pastor and teacher in and outside the church. He currently pastors an Anabaptist congregation in Virginia. View all posts by David D. Flowers

22 responses to “Organic Church Life: The Beginning

  • theoraclemag

    Wow, this was a great post. I really enjoined reading it. In fact you have great blog. I have had these same feelings for quiet some time now. I always get excited when I meet people who know, understand and accept, GOD’s truth that the church as it should be today is found in he book of Acts. I will be praying for you and your ministry and i ask that you pray for me

  • Tracy Simmons

    David, it was great to discover your blog this week! I just went over and read your article on the Ex-Pastor’s page.

    My husband and I were both pastors. About a decade ago we left the institutional church, and what a wild ride these last 10 years have been. I really appreciated your honesty in the article about the struggles with leaving “the ministry.” Many of them resonate with me.

    One question: Can you give a more direct link to your Facebook page? I looked for David Flowers and a number of hits come up…

    Thanks!
    Tracy

  • Coffee

    Oh my goodness, I left my church of eight years late last year and really do not feel the desire to go back to that type of service. I am so encouraged with your blog. I felt as if God was urging me and my family to break away many years ago but allowed fear to paralize me. I have become greatly encouraged and enthused after reading your blog. God bless you as you walk out this miraculous journey.

  • David

    Hi David,
    I enjoyed reading your post.

    Hopefully I can visit in a couple of weeks

  • David D. Flowers

    Thanks for checking out the blog, David! I would love for you to follow my notes on our meetings at facebook. Hope to see you soon, bro.

  • aholydiscontent

    Got invited to your blog on Facebook. Read a bit of your journey, and am encouraged to know some new brothers pursuing the Lord in new ways. I got to spend a few days with Frank in Portland, OR back in February; it was a good time. Hope you’re doing well. Take care.

  • Prosper Lasisi

    Dear David,

    Thanks be to God for His direction in your life. My name is Prosper Lasisi, a devouted christian.
    I will like to share word of God with you through my email.
    Hoping to hear from you soon.
    God bless.

    Your faithfully
    Prosper

  • Meme

    My husband and I are in the searching stage of organic church life after reading Frank Viola and George Barna’s books. Currently we are missionaries in Mexico. this has turned our world upside down! Can you give me information about your conference in August? Do you know of any works written concerning missionaries in view of organic church? We are wondering if missionary work as we know it is really biblical!
    Looking forward to a reply,
    Meme

  • David D. Flowers

    Meme,
    Hello there! So glad to hear about what the Lord is doing in your lives.

    Have you read both “Pagan Christianity?” and “Reimagining Church” by Viola? If you have and you hear the Lord say “Yes!” to the Body of Christ functioning in this way… then I would say you must learn this way of the Lord before jumping right in to the work. It is hard for me to say, but there definitely must be a period of time where you experience this and, I should think, to sit under this sort of gathering before it can be reproduced rightly.

    A “missionary” in the New Testament was an “apostle”… also known as an “itinerant worker” or “church planter” within organic Christianity today. If you are interested in reading more of what that looks like within organic church life… I would highly recommend “The Normal Christian Church Life” by Watchman Nee. This book works as sort of a handbook to the functioning of an apostle according to the New Testament. It also puts the other gifts of the Body is proper perspective.

    Please e-mail me and we can further discuss the upcoming conference and any other questions you may have. I would love to help any way I can. Thanks!

  • J

    David,
    Any chance I could visit with you further? I’ve been looking for such churches for some time and I’ve also recently encountered someone in your area who is looking.

  • keith

    wow! when are you meeting again?

    keith, the woodlands, tx.

  • John Delgado

    Dear all,

    Helene and I left the institutional church in DEC of last year and feel like we are in a wilderness of sort. Does anybody knows of a home church near Raleigh NC? Thanks!
    Blessings to all
    J&H

  • David D. Flowers

    Hey, John. You might check a few sites:
    http://www.house2house.com
    http://www.simplechurch.com
    http://www.organicchurchtoday.com

    There is a guy name Kenny Russell that lives in Charlotte that might be able to help.
    E-mail him at: k.russell@gottalife.org

    Blessings on your journey!

  • LisaShaw

    First time visiting. I’ll return. Blessings in Jesus Name.

  • Pete Whipple

    Hi David, first time responder here. I first learned of you from an article in Searching Together that was loaned to me. In your article Heaven To Earth it seems you are in support of a form of Soul Sleep. But, in this blog you say in paragraph eight that your 80 year old friend “is now in Heaven awaiting the resurrection of our bodies”. Am I missing something? Please clarify. Thanks

    • David D. Flowers

      Hey Pete, that’s a valid question. 🙂
      My position at the present time is that we are safe in the Lord upon death. I’m not sure what that looks like, but I’m confident that it’s not a physical reality. The editors of Searching Together are not comfortable with that. My article in ST was “adapted” from my series here at the blog. I was not totally comfortable with the emphasis that the editors placed on the intermediate “soul sleep” state, as that was not the real point of my original article. That emphasis was not mine. I am much more vague about it in the series here at the blog. You may want to read that. It’s a little different than the magazine version.

      In summary, I don’t believe we’ll be “dancin’ in heaven with Jesus” when we die, but it seems to me that the Scripture indicates that we will in some way be aware of the Lord’s abiding presence. I’m cool with saying, “he is now in heaven” because that’s where the Lord is presently. I hope that helps in clarifying my position. The real point of “Heaven to Earth” is to emphasize that “heaven” is not our final home… we are awaiting the resurrection of the dead and the transformation of all creation–the new heavens and earth.

      Thanks for reading!

  • Pete Whipple

    Thanks brother and Amen to our future in transformed bodies living in a transformed, new heaven and earth. What a Saviour! What a Lord!

  • jpuddy

    David, thanks for posting this. I’d say we’re somewhere between the experimental stage and what comes next, as you said early on. We moved to Finland 5 years ago and have begun meeting with local believers here. God is so good. We are moving back to Toronto shortly where we are excited and expectant for what God will do in our midst.

  • Pastor J

    All these years later after your writing your post, I found it. I worked in a church as a Children’s Pastor for 5 years, loved what I taught, but it didn’t always coincide with the position of the church. I have been involved in ministry for a long time. What I taught was out of the Word of God and not my ideals, not doctrine, but God’s Word. I rarely attended services because I was too busy teaching the parents, leaders and children. That was a few years ago. Prior to that, we had been in incredible Word teaching churches that were organic in nature. We have moved many times and have searched and searched for a church. We have been feeding ourselves and worshipping in private worship and prayer. We have not found a church that fits the Acts church. So many try to be something other and it’s uncomfortable.
    I came across Frank Viola’s book, Reimagining Church and then searched for Pagan Christianity?, went looking for information on Organic churches and in the last few days really have been praying for His guidance in starting one in our town.
    I am a Pastor, ordained, and have a degree in Theology, but have taught adults and children. I read your most of your articles, the stirrings are stirred up, but the prayers of the righteous availeth much. Thank you for all the information. When we bought our house, we knew God had a plan, but we have failed to execute that plan. This website along with others and the books are fueling the fire that is stirring. We long to do what He desires and not our own agenda.
    Thank you again.

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