Thursday, December 13, 2007


Organic does not mean "without structure." Organisms characteristically have a very definable skeleton - joints, branches, capillaries, and the like. The body of Christ, likewise, is well-connected and supported. When referring to Christ's body, the Apostle Paul referred to "supporting ligaments" in Ephesians 4, and "ligaments and sinews" (tendons) in Colossians 2. A ligament connects a bone to another bone; a tendon connects a muscle to a bone. I think what Paul was saying is that in the body of Christ there are people who help hold things together.

If you look around in your small group or Worship Center you will undoubtedly spot these folks. They are the ones you think of when you need something done. They are the ones others go to when they need spiritual support. If you have difficulty identifying them when they are there, you will definitely note their absence when they're gone, because things will start "falling apart." In the absence of the "ligaments" people will not seem as connected. Things will not get done.

In an organic network such as CTK we get to see ligaments function at different levels:

1. Pastors and Directors. On a local level, Pastors and Directors give support and connection to leaders. Typically we like to see Directors identified in the areas of Children's Ministries, Youth Ministries, Small Groups, Operations, and Worship.

2. Area Pastors. On a regional level, Area Pastors give support and connection to local pastors.

3. National Pastors. On a national level, a National Pastor gives support and connection to Area Pastors.

Organic does not mean "small." In nature, the big exists to supports the small (exactly opposite of most organizational models, where the small exists to support the big). Bigger bones facilitate smaller ones. Bigger muscles facilitate smaller ones. And the connections are made through the ligaments and tendons.

The previous generation referred to these people as "pillars of the church." What makes a pillar a pillar is that it is able to stand on its own, plus carry some structural weight. Some people have their hands full taking care of their own stuff. A pillar in the church has capacity to take care of others as well.

In the CTK story we have been blessed because larger, established Worship Centers (like Bellingham, Lynden, Mount Vernon, Anacortes, etc.) have "paid it forward" to assist small and medium sized Centers, not just with resources, but with prayer, relationships, people-power and coaching. It reminds me of how, in the forest, smaller flora and fauna will not survive except for the shade and protection of the larger trees. We need all sizes working in a supportive eco-system. This is why at CTK, while we always want to validate the small, we can't forget to appreciate the big, and the ligaments that hold it all together.

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