Go ahead and look it up. The background of this word is in biology and the meaning is significant to the role of leadership.
Ontogeny is the process of an individual organism growing organically.
Thinking of the church as an organization creates numerous challenges to the living and growing organism God intended.
By contrasting what the church is and is not, Eddie Cloer describes the church as “a living organism. The church which Christ established is living and vibrant with God’s life and blessings; it is not a manmade group which is energized completely by man’s wisdom, designs, and activities” (1993, 17).
We understand the need to care for, protect, provide, and strengthen plants, animals, and human life because they are living organisms and proper growth only occurs when we put these areas into practice.
How much more so would God want us to demonstrate the same toward His church?
Even if we never see the word “ontogeny” again, and you may be praying you do not, let us practice the necessary areas to produce growth of the one organism that required the life of Jesus.
Cloer, Eddie. 1993. What Is “The Church?” Resource Publications: Searcy.