Organic anything seems to be a preference for many these days. Go into almost any grocery store and you’ll probably find an organic section or department. The definition of organic is related to or derived from living matter or living organisms. It also speaks of natural and authentic, nothing artificial.
Today we hear about Organic Church, Organic Outreach and Organic Faith. We all long for the genuine and authentic — the real thing. When people recognize a real demonstration of the life and love of Jesus in someone’s life, they are just drawn to it. When followers of Jesus are living out their faith, sharing and communicating it to others can and should be organic, natural and spontaneous.
One of my mentors back in the 1970s and ‘80s was missionary statesman and author Norman Grubb. One of the many books he wrote was titled, The Spontaneous You. Our lives, in union with Christ, should result in spontaneous living, and sharing that life with others.
In Scripture, we read that those early followers of Jesus were filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke the Word of God with boldness. It was natural and organic for them to do so. It was out of the abundance of their hearts that they spoke and shared the love and life of the Lord. Can it be so today? Well, the answer is yes, and there are plenty of examples that the same Holy Spirit is at work in His people today.
The Jesus Movement
During what is known as the Jesus Movement in the early 1970s, the Lord brought a couple into our lives. Wayne and Barbara both had a life-changing encounter with the Lord and began to naturally and spontaneously share with others. Many of us were impacted by their lives and began doing the same. It was contagious. Collectively, we have observed a ripple effect over the years since then.
Naturally Sharing Jesus
The faith of the followers of Jesus recorded in the New Testament was organic. They shared the Good News of Jesus naturally and spontaneously. In many parts of the world today Christ followers talk about Jesus more naturally and spontaneously than those in the Western World or North America.
One of the encouraging aspects of our Bible Storying and Orality Training is seeing how people are inspired to more openly and naturally share their faith with boldness and confidence. Communicating the message of Jesus does not have to be complicated. In fact, asking questions, telling stories and having conversations is something everyone can do. The outworking of the indwelling Christ can and should be organic and natural. A healthy relationship with the Living Lord will be evident in one’s lifestyle, in both words and deeds.
Calmness in the Storms of Life
An important lesson from the story of Jesus calming the storm is the power of His Word. When Jesus rebuked the wind and spoke to the waves, there was complete calm. In the Orality Training, we ask, “Can He still bring calmness during our storms of life? Does His Word still have the power to change things and lives today?” Do our words have the power to change lives? Of course, the answer is “Yes.”
We often observe participants come alive with new life, vitality, and passion to share God’s Story with others. It seems to be contagious when we learn in community and see examples of sharing our life in Christ. Modeling and mentoring organic faith is something everyone can participate in. Learning and sharing in a community is a key factor. We also tend to become like the people we spend the most time with.
A lady attended an Orality Training Workshop, and participated in a series of prayer walking experiences, as part of a Prayer-Care-Share initiative. She observed organic faith in action. She later said, “This is something I can do every day.” Actually, every trip to the mall, shopping, the farmers market, doctor’s office or anywhere people are can become a short-term mission trip.
Good Works with Good News
In our Orality training and practices within Living Water International, we’ve come to recognize the power of integral mission. That is combining word and deed, proclamation and demonstration of the Gospel. Good works and good news are what we see in the life of Jesus and His followers.
Another one of my mentors from years ago was Major Ian Thomas. He use to talk about the life Jesus lived then, lived now, by Him, in us. In other words, it’s the reproducing life of the Lord Jesus in and through our humanity. It’s not us, but Christ living in us, according to Gal. 2:20, that enables us to produce much fruit.
Organic Spiritual Reproduction
After several months of sharing with our neighbor Bill, he experienced the grace of God, and immediately began to share with his family, relatives and friends. A number of them came to the Lord through his witness. In Bill’s case, we might call that organic reproduction.
The Value of Groups and Teams
In our modern church culture, some have gotten the idea that they need some special gift or training to share their faith. However, we have many examples from Scripture and throughout the history of those who encounter the Lord and immediately begin sharing the Gospel and bringing others to Him. When people have a genuine encounter with the Living Christ, they just naturally want to share with others. It’s usually more fruitful when it can be done in groups or teams.
Jerry Wiles is President Emeritus of Living Water International and serves on the advisory council and leadership team of the International Orality Network. He can be reached at: [email protected].