changing lives faith

Fractal Discipleship in the United Methodist Church

I had a conversation several weeks ago with Paul Watson and he talked about a concept which I dug up on reaching the online generation.

The concept is Fractal Discipleship.

According to Wikipedia, “A fractal is “a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole.”

The basic idea is what helps a new believer grow in her or his faith is the same as what helps a deeply committed Christian grow in her or his faith. This is a deeply methodist concept. The organization of class and bands were the same process for someone that was just beginning the journey or someone that had been on the journey of faith for a long time. Spiritual growth happens most effectively in community for both the non religious person and the deeply committed Christian. The means of grace, in which one opens one’s life and heart to God, are the same for someone no matter what level of commitment.

A great concept and an excellent way of understanding it.

What are your thoughts, feelings or opinions about fractal discipleship?

By Andrew Conard

Christian, husband, son, brother, homeowner

3 replies on “Fractal Discipleship in the United Methodist Church”

great point of conversation for the way in which discipleship and church growth will happen within this generation. We are moving beyond the “build it and they will come” concept into the new thought but old school concept of “class” systems that John Wesley used in the early Methodist societies in England.


Spiritual disciplines are just that…spiritual disciplines. Whether I pray, study the scripture or discuss its application, I still find new insights and “aha’s” that apply to my life. We have been studying the Book of James in our emergent worship experience, and I cannot help but to find new insights that apply to my life…based on new circumstances, based on the ideas raised by others “new in their faith” or based on the context of what is going on in our church. Even what is in the news has been impacting how I related to scripture and how I relate back to the world.

My most “moving” experiences in discipleship were when I thought I “knew” the answer and a new ideas was raised by a youth hanging out while we discussing the text. I personally feel that we need to get back into the discipline of digging into scripture, discussing it among ourselves and holding one another accountable. You cannot “graduate” from that class…it is called life.

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