Organism, not organization
Organism, not organization is a term coined by Georges Houssney to describe the intended structure of a Christian church as taught by the apostle Paul in the Bible who described the church as a "body" in Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-31
The function of an Organization vs an Organism
An organization's ultimate purpose is to grow itself, increasing it's resources and power year after year with no end. Although no organization truly lasts forever, and some, particularly non-profit organizations may have other goals, the general pattern of an organization is of unending growth.
In nature, unending growth is called a tumor
An organism, in contrast, grows until a point of maturity, at which time it's energy shifts from self-growth, to reproduction, the development and nurturing of children.
An "organism farm" or an "organism church" does not seek infinite growth for itself like a corporate agroindustry farm or a mega-church does, but instead it seeks to replicate it's successful model by investing in others.
An organism is organized
An organism is highly organized into parts with different roles. Each part, however, shares the same DNA. It is unified by it's membership in the common goal of sustaining and reproducing itself. This is stated in 1 Corinthians 12:
- For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. ... For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
An organism's parts are not expendable or replaceable
An organization's parts are replaceable. Roles are more important than individuals to an organization. If a person is not functioning properly relative to their job description, an organization is quick to cut that person out. In an organism, however, there is a higher emphasis on healing the affected part, the entire organism is involved in this healing and if it does not succeed, the organism's health and survival is at risk.
1 Corinthians 12:12-31:
- The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.