The circles at the top of this page represent different ways of thinking about relationships : --- the relationship between God and Man (which is which of the smaller circle and the larger outer one?) --- the relationship between church and community (ditto).
The words Integral Church has different meanings for different groups. Some see it as a transforming of Christ-consciousness, an internal process of growth. Others see it as a coming together of different strands of Christianity - or even different approaches to Spirituality (different faiths perhaps). Yet others see the term as meaning a 'bringing together in one place all that we offer'.
For some the term Integral Church has different meanings; this website focuses on the idea that a key expression of is that it is community-based work and witness.
That final sentence of the definition of Integral on the Home page resonates with some of St Paul's words in Romans 12:4-5:- "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function; so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others".
And in 1 Corinthians 12 v 12 - "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ." (and see vv 13-27 as well).
The focus (as in Romans 12 and 1 Cor 12) is on all things working together; nothing is separate. If our vision of church follows this model, then all that we do in the name of Jesus will be, effectively, 'church', whether it is organising football for 10-year olds, befriending older folk, a listening ear for young mums - or operating a baby-sitting circle....it is all 'church'. It doesn't need a building (neither large nor small), but it will need some degree of structure and accountability to a leadership team. It would therefore be wise if that leadership team is also accountable to a church structure of some kind - though it has to be said that hierarchical, organised, institutionalised religion is for some rather less than positive.
"What on earth does it mean?" said the parish clerk. "'Integral church' is nothing but a mouthful of complicated-ness!" I know what he meant. But my own understanding has grown over the past few years through links to churches that are 'doing things differently'. So here goes - a definition to start; don't give up yet - it becomes alive once you get to know it.
a particular Christian organization with its own clergy, buildings, and distinctive doctrines: the Church of England
the hierarchy of clergy within a particular Christian Church
[mass noun] institutionalized religion as a political or social force: the separation of church and state
Quite a variety there! For many people the main emphasis is on a building where people gather for worship. But a number of 21st century movements are taking this definition and perception further into new realms. Some of these are described (briefly) on the Integral Church - UK and Integral Church - World pages of this site.
The term Integral Church has different meanings for different groups. Some (e.g. The Progressive Christianity group USA) see it as a transforming of Christ-consciousness, an internal process of growth. Others see it as a coming together of different strands of Christianity - or even different approaches to Spirituality (different faiths perhaps). Yet others see the term as meaning a 'bringing together in one place all that we offer'.
The idea of Integral Mission was brought to the attention of people world-wide by the South American theogian Rene Padilla (see Integral Church) and there are now many examples of this 'integrated mission' approach throughout the world.
The following pages will offer some insight into the workings of groups of people in (sometimes very) different circumstances.
To finish - there is an example from Bolivia where a new church has been set up - within a community centre - serving the people of a deprived barrio in Cochabamba.