Organic Discipleship 1

Perhaps many of us understand the idea of  discipleship as the process, through discipline, of becoming like the one we follow.  For the Christian, discipleship means becoming more like Jesus Christ. As His followers we are right with God and holy in Christ from salvation, but from that time forward we begin to grow so that our lives resemble, from the inside out, what Jesus is really like.

Various kinds of discipleship “programs” are available, designed to address the multi-faceted relationships we enjoy with God and with other believers. I have benefitted from many, but today I’d like to talk about organic discipleship. Organic things are natural, they are not forced, altered, or provoked.  Don Derrick, author of Growing Disciples Organically defines organic discipleship, or spiritual formation, in this way: “the natural growth that occurs when we merge authentic faith in Jesus Christ with intentional alignment to the principles of Scripture, empowered by the Holy Spirit, while living with and serving others.” Organic discipleship means living life together, moving toward Christ in everything we do and think, and especially in everything we become.  Pastor Don Delagrange, whom I’ve sat under for over twenty years, has told us regularly, “Every day along the way, share the love of Jesus.”  So true.  Don has lived this out faithfully for as long as I have known him. Another foundational idea is that we encourage each other in the faith (Hebrews 3:13, 10:24-25). Discipleship does not happen without these truths.

We also need to be intentional. As we live life together we should be willing to ask good questions (even tough ones) of those walking closely with us. Asking good questions will help us to encourage the things that spur on real growth. Below are 10 examples of questions you can ask to encourage growth:

  1. How are you really doing?
  2. What challenges have you faced this week?
  3. How are your close relationships going?
  4. What have you been learning recently?
  5. How has God played a part in your decisions of late?
  6. What has forced you to seek God this week?
  7. What questions do you have that could use the light of Scripture?
  8. How are you progressing in your knowledge of Christ through God’s Word?
  9. What are some ways you would like to grow?
  10. How can I pray for you?

This is by no means a comprehensive list.  It’s a start.  It’s a way to initiate the kind of enriching conversations which promote growth.  It’s a starting point to seeking out answers, promises, and challenges from the Word of God.  Go with it. Roll with it.  Search the Scriptures together and pray for God’s wisdom. These types of conversations, lived as a natural part of life together, are the greenhouses of organic spiritual growth.

Go, make disciples, do so organically, to the ends of the earth.


*Our long-time family friend Bill Mowry has written an excellent book on the topic, The Ways of the Alongsider (NavPress).  An updated edition became available this month.

About Vicki Gatchell

I am a wife, a mother of four, a small-town girl, a lover of people, and most recently, I have been overwhelmingly called to share the message of Jesus Christ in Grace and Truth. I grew up on a farm near Hicksville, Ohio where I raised sheep and was nurtured in a love for nature. I received my Bachelor's Degree in Physical Therapy from The Ohio State University and have been practicing Physical Therapy for over 25 years. I received my Master's Degree in Ministry Studies and Women's Leadership Studies from Grace College and Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. I am a life-long student of theology, a longtime ministry volunteer, and I feel called to step forward and lead.

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