Four Behaviors of a Disciple--#1 A Disciple Learns


May 23, 2011

This week we're going to explore 4 distinct behaviors of a disciple, and suggest some specific strategies for coaching those behaviors in individuals.   These are by no means the ONLY behaviors of a disciple, but are intended as a core group that cross denominational/style/contextual lines.  Some basic Scripture references are also included, but it's important to note that these are intended to be coachable items!

Behavior #1:  A disciple learns.  Jesus says clearly "Learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart."   (Matthew 11:29)  Part of our calling is to gain new knowledge and insight as we grow.  Human beings have to learn about themselves and their gifts, their situation and context, and what God is calling them to do BEFORE taking action.   Healthy and effective learning makes this possible.

classroom learningIt's tempting to confine all this learning to a classroom situation, but experiential learning is every bit as powerful.  True learning results in behavioral change, not just head knowledge (which is the kind of knowledge that "puffs up"!).  You can change your thinking first, and then your behavior.  OR you can adjust what you're doing and monitor changes in your thought life.  The most effective learning is both theory and practice.  Maybe not equal doses, but there is definitely some of both.  One of the biggest opportunities a coach has is to help a leader customize their learning journey.

(BTW...the whole "you remember 10% of what you hear, 20% of what you see, 30% percent..." thing has been pretty thoroughly debunked.   It's an interesting set of concepts, but not nearly so cut and dried.)

So, how do you coach for learning?  Start with key questions like: 

  • What else do you want to learn?
  • How have you learned similar lessons in the past?
  • What knowledge/skills would make you more effective?
  • How does your new learning apply to your situation?
  • What can you do to make sure you're learning everything you can?


Comments (2) - Post a Comment
I concur, Gregg...the lasting changes seem to come from acting into a new way of thinking. I suspect there was a reason why Jesus was always in motion, doing things and going places, and his first strategy was to send the disciples out to do something!

And the think your way into a new way of doing often falls apart without a coach! But I'm biased like that...
Jonathan Reitz at 2:44pm EDT - May 23, 2011
I agree that discipleship is about lifelong learning. I push back about the old way of thinking: learn then do. Most of my heart transformation has come from doing, not learning. I am much more interested in discipleship as a life-on-life apprenticeship than a learning experience.

So, I'm not arguing your point. I have just seen so many who spend time accumulating knowledge without the commiserate change in behavior. As Rob Bell says in his Nooma video, Dust, one of the best discipleship pieces I've seen, the disciple does not want to just know what the Master knows, he wants to do what the Master does. That's why Peter got out of the boat and walked on water.
Gregg Burch at 1:43pm EDT - May 23, 2011

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