In the past few years there has been a lot of discussion about the continuum of the ORGANIZED and the ORGANIC. Much of this has revolved around the book my friend Neil Cole wrote called Organic Church. From my viewpoint, as I’ve studied the scriptures and the great discipling movements (which, not coincidentally, would also be great missional movements) of the past 2000 years, I’ve noticed this continuum at work.
Rather than having a commitment to either/or, I see a pattern of both/and. I saw that there was a formal, intentional, organized time that was committed to investment into the life of someone. It tends to happen at the same time, the same place, with the same people. There was a kind of discipleship formality to it. There was aÂ VEHICLE that this happened with (for instance, John Wesley developed “class meetings” as his vehicle of intentional discipleship).
However, this wasn’t it. There is also a commitment to the ORGANIC component as it relates to the discipling relationship. You don’t just relate to the people you’re discipling in the more formal time focused on discipleship and reflection. It’s not as if you aren’t discipling people and showing them the ways of Jesus when it’s “focused discipleship time.” It’s always happening. You are asking them to be part of your life, a part of the life of your family. So your lives become intermingled together. Dinners. Parties. Work days. Grocery store trips. Mission. Worship services. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Funerals. (Imagine how the discipleship participated in the life of Jesus – that’s what we’re talking about).
What we are really talking about is allowing the small number of people you are discipling to have ACCESS to your life that very few people get – the kind of access only the 12 had to the life of Jesus. You need a VEHICLE and you need people to have ACCESS to the life of the discipling leader. It must be both the organized and the organic.
This is what’s important to understand about the ORGANIZED and the ORGANIC: