Church Growth Component #3:
Organic Relational Cultivation
Church Growth Component #3: ORGANIC RELATIONAL CULTIVATION
Establishing, building, & strengthening personal (individual) as well as organizational (collective/group) relationships which naturally result from the process of ceaselessly meeting needs within and in connection with the (Christian) community. Addresses the question, "Does your Church draw people to connect, stay, and grow with you?"
To grow Church (and thus draw & attract people to connect, stay, and "grow" with it), you must build relationships. To build relationships, you must meet needs (minister). And while traditional "relational ministry" focuses on relationships and is indeed a biblical model (which should be continued), it becomes exponentially much more effective through the application of organic relational cultivation...
"Relational ministry" is generally speaking limited by pre-determined social and cultural boundaries such as age, gender, economy, language, interests, lifestyles, cliques, and so forth. It assumes that people must first "relate" to one another before "real ministry" can occur. "Organic relational cultivation" on the other hand does not require people to have anything "in common" before they help each other and connect. By putting the main focus on meeting needs rather than finding common points of reference, you actually create and build relationships even MORE. People who normally would not "connect" because they do not necessarily "relate" with one another end up easily building relationships simply by meeting each other's needs.
"Relational ministry" typically USES RELATIONSHIPS as a tool to accomplish ministry. "Organic relational cultivation" on the other hand USES MINISTRY (meeting needs) as a tool to build relationships and thus result in Church growth. Is the goal to be "ministry" or "relationship"? Ultimately, isn't the goal a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus Christ? It's all about "relationship"..."ministry" is merely a means to a much greater end....
"Organic" stresses the importance of allowing relationships to happen NATURALLY. Traditionally, "relational ministry" creates scenarios in which there is an EXPECTANCY for relational development through Church activities such as fellowship gatherings, meet-n-greets, ice-breakers, camp retreats, and so forth. While there is nothing inherently wrong with these settings, there is often an unstated pressure to reach out and connect with people through events and "hanging out." This can often create "forced" or "unnatural" relationships. Organic relational cultivation, on the other hand, focuses on facilitating the process of connecting people through meeting one another's needs, consistently every day of every week, creating and "cultivating" an environment that allows relationships to happen NATURALLY (organically) as a result of people helping people. There is never any pressure to create a relationship...there is only "pressure" to meet a need. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Organic relational cultivation focuses on John 13:34-35, the one place in the entire Bible where Jesus Christ Himself EMPHATICALLY states BOTH His great command for us to love one another and also how we as Christians are to be identified. He did NOT say we are to be known by our preaching, by our knowledge of the Bible or theology, by our Churches, or by our worship. He said we are to be known by our LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER...by meeting each other's needs.
It must be said that relational ministry is NOT bad. It is NOT wrong. And it is NOT unbiblical. On the contrary, it should be promoted in all Churches. Likewise, preaching, teaching, camps, Bible study, theology, worship, fellowship, retreats, & so forth, are all GOOD and should continue.
But Churches often try so hard to "relate" with and "be attractive" to people they often forget to just be loving. People already have things to relate with and attract them (TV, games, cell phones, concerts, friends, parties, movies, books, laptops, computers, internet, sports, etc.). If Church were a connecting point to meet needs - 24/7, every week, every year - it would relate with and attract more people than anybody ever thought possible. Jesus had this figured out (John 13:34-35).
SeekOrServe.com has consolidated this powerful concept for Church growth into one easy step...as stated in the Instructions (for Church Leaders) section of SeekOrServe.com, all you need to do is ceaselessly urge people to take up the MAM (Minute-A-Month) challenge. This simple challenge, which asks for only one minute a month from people, can EASILY turn your Church and ministries into a place where people build relationships and connect with your ministries as they meet one another's needs.
Just one minute a month, to post just one need or giveaway, from as many people as possible....to simply obey The Lord and love one another. =)