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The Dirt on Organic

Small volunteer-led congregations are gaining popularity and making an impact. But they require more spadework than you realize.

I tried it; I started an organic church.

It began in my living room in 2005 with a small group of Milwaukee 20-somethings—most of whom wouldn't be caught dead in "church." Then I pitched the idea of doing church where the rest of life happens: in living rooms, kitchens, Starbucks bistros—anywhere solid conversations could take place. The people grew, the group grew, the number of houses grew, and off I ventured into the world of organic churches.

Things changed only slightly when we transitioned from small groups to organic churches. We started serving Communion and holding baptisms. To the naked eye, we probably still looked more like small groups than churches. We didn't have a sermon; we didn't pass an offering plate; we didn't sing together. Instead, we shared a meal, discussed and applied the Bible to personal issues, shared testimonies, and prayed together. At the most basic level, our goals were the same as any traditional church. We were committed to worship, discipleship, ...

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