There has been a movement afoot for awhile now for everyone to “go green.” Go organic. Grow organic. And when it comes to growing the church of our Lord Jesus Christ, I love it, because I think the gospels and the book of Acts teach it that way.
TAKE-AWAYS FROM TOKYO, JAPAN
I was recently in Tokyo, Japan to be with Pastor Glen and Linda Nabarette and Grace Tokyo Church’s 5th Anniversary. One of the first things they told me was: “We need to be more organized.” To which I replied, “No. Stay organic. Form follows function.” Why? I saw on the ground relational discipleship right before me as we connected with newly saved, highly educated, promising young leaders in their condo. The hook up was exhilarating, the food interesting, the energy stimulating, and the laughter actually exhausting. No kidding. Real Japanese nationals having a blast. I think some have actually laughed their way into the kingdom after being raised in a rigid, driven culture. And guess what? It continued bewteen services as well. And it nearly cured my jet lag.
In a nation where presentation, performance and image is esteemed (I know, I am Japanese American), this church is growing through connection, acceptance and real love. They meet for services in a cafe/bar in bustling Shibuya, and tandem that with an atrium setting where a scene from a bad Brad Pitt movie was shot. The cool intimate setting was perfect! But beyond that was the connected life away from the so-called “big meeting” they cultivate during the week. Somehow, they find a way and continue to explore better ways, even beyond small groups.
Don’t get me wrong. Organization is important and at the right time does have its place as growth occurs in any church. In fact, I have been known for being somewhat organized myself. The church I lead is rather large and we have to be. But for Grace Tokyo, continuing to be radically organic rather than tightly organized is the way.
A BEAUTIFUL MESS
Scripture says in Proverbs 14:4 – “Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.” The Grace Tokyo trough is beautifully messy because it is full of promising hard working “oxen”. As I returned to America, I was reminded that beyond our large buildings, well crafted sermons, glitering web sites and impressive programs we must endeavor to remain messy. History tells us that holy messes are what movements of revival are made of.
Let’s remember to Go green. To Go organic. But the main thing, let’s just GO!