What is an
An Organic Community is
a small group of people who gather together to share life together in Christ centered
relationships. Ministering together, learning together, loving
together, recreating together, worshiping together, and encouraging one
another in the midst of life. Organic communities are generally
small reproductive communities growing to approximately 15-20 adults
along with their families and who have an apostolic mindset of starting
this affiliated with a denomination?
is a part of the
denomination of the church of the Nazarene. However, we are not
denominationalists. The Church of the Nazarene is not the only
group that will be found in heaven. We believe we are part of a
higher calling than the "denomination" and believe that partnering with
others outside our denomination is essential as part of God's Church.
However, for purposes of accountability, leadership, doctrine and
support, Connections has chosen to align itself with the Church of the
Nazarene. For more about the church
of the Nazarene, its beliefs, history, and mission go to
How do you
maintain doctrinal integrity?
DNA is passed
on from generation to generation. There must be high levels of
trust both for the denomination and from the denomination.
This kind of trust is built through relationship. If the
relationship is weak the trust will be weak. Therefore it is
essential that apostolic leaders remain connected to the "Organic
Church Network", its annual gathering of Organic church leaders and
maintain a healthy working relationship with their local District
Leadership. We are not "islands unto ourselves" and must
maintain healthy trust relationships at all levels. We also
believe that discipleship is more relational than academic.
Doctrinal integrity is passed on as we maintain healthy, accountable
relationship with those we are ministering to and with.
How do you measure success?
Success is measured against the
mission. We believe that success will be seen in everyday life as
participants demonstrate a passionate love for God and a practical love
for others everywhere they go. Success will also mean that disciples
are making disciples and all are participating in the mission and vision
not just the leadership.
Connections is founded by Pastor Darrell MacLearn, an ordained elder
in the Church of the Nazarene. Darrell will give apostolic
leadership to the network in accountable relationship to the Dallas
District Church of the Nazarene. Darrell is the National Director
for the Organic Church Network for the Church of the Nazarene and is a
Senior Coach for Organic Church Planting with New Church Specialties.
What do the communities study?
Each community will meet at
least once per week for spiritual formation. Each community will
be committed to studying God’s word together on a regular basis. The
study might look different for each community. However, we believe
that the Word of God is the seed that must be planted into our lives for
true transformation to take place. Therefore a key element in the
DNA of each community is the discussion of
and group interaction with the word of God.
Do I still attend a local church?
Due to the flexibility of
Connections participants could attend worship
services at a local church if that is what they desired. We simply ask
that the accountability to and their priority be their community.
However, if there are special services, special events that one would
like to attend we would welcome that and even encourage that.
What about my kids?
One of the most
commonly asked questions is about children.
We believe that family matters and
children and youth are a vital part of community life. We
believe that the best place for a child’s spiritual formation to develop
is in their home with their parents. Therefore, we see it as the
responsibility of each community to equip parents to raise Godly
children. We also believe that children learn through what they observe
others doing. Therefore their involvement in community life and
ministry is vital. We also recommend and will provide for each
community to have a special time with the children during their
weekly gathering. This is primarily an issue when we try to cram
life into an hour "Bible Study". There will be times when a
community may want to do some things as adults and will individually
or together make arrangements for child care and at other times the
activities might revolve around the kids. Each community will
grow together as a family.
each community to allow enough time in their weekly gathering to
minister to the entire family. For more on this see article
entitled, "Organic Children".
often do you meet?
We encourage each group
to meet at least
weekly for a scheduled time together. However, group participants may
find themselves meeting more regularly as they begin to share life
together. At times all the men may gather or all the women may gather
or a couple of men may share coffee together for individual
accountability. This is about sharing life not a day of the week.
Do the participants tithe?
We believe that the stewardship of
God’s resources is critical for the life of the believer and the
advancement of the Kingdom of God. Each participant is encouraged
to invest in God’s kingdom. We encourage tithing however, are more
interested in participants being generous and sacrificial in their
giving tax deductible?
Yes. Connections is a 501c3 and is a non-profit organization that
qualifies for charitable giving.
does the money go?
10% of all money
raised will be given to the Church of the Nazarene for its compassionate
ministries outreach. After that each community will be
responsible to be good stewards of the resources collected and find ways
to maximize their resources for the work of the Kingdom. Since we do
not maintain buildings, salaries and other overhead expenses we can
maximize monies in ministry instead of overhead costs. It is our goal
that we will never spend more than 20% of money raised on overhead or
administrative costs. We have found that the more involvement the
community has in deciding where money is channeled in ministry the more
free they are and excited they are about giving. People today really do
want to give and make a difference in their world. We want to remove as
many roadblocks to giving as possible and encourage people to "live
simply so that others may simply live".
do you maintain financial integrity?
A budget will be established and
approved by all community members. All community members
will approve any unbudgeted items. For accountability purposes a
monthly financial report will be generated for each community and
approved by all community members. The handling of all monies
will be done by a designated treasurer and counting teams to assure that
monies are handled with the utmost integrity. It is recommended
that each community be a part of the Organic Church Networks "Common
Purse" for the purposes of financial integrity and ease of money
What is the "Common Purse"?
Purse" is an "Organic Church Network" service to manage organic
church finances in such a way that it lessens the stress on new
church starters. Each organic church can deposit their
offerings into the "Common Purse" and our "Organic church Network"
accountant will manage the network monies. Each church that
participates will receive a network credit card with a spending
limit not to exceed what they have deposited. Our accountant
will build protections in for this. Nazarene Organic
Churches will not be apportioned "District Budgets". Instead
10% of everything that is deposited into the "Common Purse" will go
to support Nazarene World missions and the work of Compassionate
Ministries. Therefore, the spending limit for each Organic
Church participating in the Common Purse is 90% of their deposits.
Each community should have their own treasurer who keeps track of
individual contributions and deposits made to the common purse and
do you believe?
We believe that all
should be a part of making new believers. We believe that
are passionate about loving God and practical in their love for others
will impact the world around them and others will be drawn to the
Kingdom of God. God never intended us to “build his church”. He said
he would do that. What he has called us to do is go and make
disciples. As disciples go and make disciples He will grow his church.
One of the marks of a follower of Christ is one who goes and finds
others who will follow Christ. Unfortunately, in many cases, we have spent so much time getting people
in church we have not invested in relational discipleship. We are asking
believers to win the world one disciple at a time by extending the love
and grace of God that was extended to them to their families, friends,
business associates, neighbors, and others that God brings across their
paths in daily life.
groups open or closed?
Each community is open and
is welcoming to new participants. We do not want to become holy clubs.
We encourage groups to reach out to those around them. We don’t
encourage rapid growth but discipleship growth. Invite someone and
spend time investing in their spiritual growth before inviting a crowd.
At the same time many people will want what you have found and it may be
time to start another community.
Part of the DNA of each community should include the reproducing of
itself. We believe that the Kingdom of God is not a "holy club"
that excludes but its very nature and purpose for existence is for those
who are not yet a part of the community.
How are leaders
gifts and abilities to lead will naturally rise up in an "organic
fashion" and be identified by the leader and encouraged to start a new
community. New Communities should be stated in accountable
relationship with the leader of the reproducing Community. We
believe that everyone in the community has something to offer and
communities will, by their very "organic nature" be very participatory.
Communities should be developed around the principle of "simple and
reproducible". Simple does not mean simplistic.
are leaders trained?
In "Simple an
reproducible" communities training is primarily relational discipleship.
Therefore, basic training begins with good discipleship. Beyond
that each community leader should receive training through "Organic
Church Network" events, Personal Coaching, classes, seminars,
recommended readings, and other available training that is found in the
journey. Additional training
and resources will be added as we grow and develop. Apostolic leaders
are encouraged to receive additional training in denominational mission, vision, and doctrines as well as in issues
related to community life, relevant practical ministry, introductory
counseling issues, and leadership skills.
and how do communities split?
It is not our desire to become
little holy clubs but to grow and expand around the world. One of the
difficulties with group life is how to launch new groups. As
communities grow there will come a time when size will be
restrictive. Groups will not be forced to divide but we will be raising
up leaders within each group with the mindset of impacting our world by
starting like minded groups. With this mindset and DNA in the group
some of the participants may join together to start the new
community. It is our vision to plant a community within walking
distance of everyone in a city. The most effective reproduction is
when a community is started in the residence of a new believer and his
or her extended family and friends are invited. It should be a
natural part of the DNA of every community to start new communities.
I participate and not join?
Yes. However, we believe that it
is important to be committed to one another understanding that we
function as a body. Therefore it would be difficult to maintain
sideline participation over a long period of time.
What about credentials and
pastors will be ordained using existing district structures for
licensing. The district superintendent is key to recognizing
organic communities as an official assignment. However,
ordination is not a requirement to lead an Organic Community.
Do Organic Pastors receive
We are seeing
many different blends of support for Organic Leaders. Some
receive a wage from a network of churches that partner together to
help support the "apostolic leader", others simply are bi-vocational
and receive nothing from their personal Organic Church Network.
Some work with a district in other capacities with some support from
them. One of the keys is to remember the importance of simple
and reproducibility. The most reproducible model is