I recently ran across a really committed 12-step guy, who also really gets discipleship. He’s been very successful in life-on-life multiplication of disciples. As I talked with him, he expressed strong concern against doing anything structured. Here was my basic response to him:

“I know you’re afraid of getting sucked back in to programmatic ministry, and you’re reacting against the worst of the extremely structured church. But don’t overstate the case. All life requires structure of some kind. Even simplest cell has as membrane that keeps the cell in and the other stuff out. We just need to ask if the amount and type of structure is life-enhancing or life-stifling. For those who are overstructured, they’d need to think through how they could get more connected with people. But for someone who is being fruitful, if you just take one more step of intentionality, you could have a multiplying effect of 50-fold, 100-fold. You’d see much greater fruitfulness and much more powerful results by channeling that organic life-on-life ministry into some type of structure that would help it continue to flourish and grow.”