TEACHING vs. DISCIPLE-MAKING and COACHING
Simply put, many of us have practiced versions of "teaching" as part of our parenting, church work or job. I believe there is a great place in culture for teaching. Traditional teaching, however, involves much time "telling" and little time "learning". Even our school systems suffer great loss because of this unfortunate practice. Movement toward hands-on, group projects, smaller class sizes and interactive lessons has helped. But, when most of us think and do what we call "teaching", we are usually following a lesson plan or outline, standing in front, talking it out. I love to teach this way, but also realize the lack of impact it actually has with most people. This is a problem. I want to share a possible solution.
My suggestion is to leave the actual "teaching", in most of it's versions, to the experts and gifted and to rather focus on two other disciplines of leadership; Coaching and Disciple-Making.
Coaching infers a certain expectation that the leader not only tells the student, but he also demonstrates, guides a training and conditioning process and holds the student accountable to performance. The Disciple-Making reference is mostly used in the church context. It is relationship based and life-on-life in nature.
Today, for example, my family and I went on a hike. My wife was behind me. She was following in my footsteps as she watched the path I chose through a rough section of downhill trails. She was a follower, a disciple. When I turned around at one point to "tell" her how to do it, she was actually distracted and irritated by having to stop and listen to my words. My actions were more important than my words and she needed to see and follow my actions. This is the essence of disciple-making.
The coach and disciple-maker should also teach. He should use words, stories, pictures, metaphors, examples and more. But he also includes key elements often missing in a teaching only environment. He includes relationships, mission, demonstration, practice, problem solving, praise and correction. He is actually training the student to lead and eventually, begin coaching his own students. This is the behavior of a disciple-maker who coaches and teaches his students.
This is the process of multiplication most families, churches and businesses are missing. They may teach, but do they multiply through coaching and disciple-making?
Final Note: Jesus himself was a Rabbi, a teacher. He learned the holy scriptures and taught them. However, his 3+ years of public ministry was primarily spent doing life-on-life with a small group of men who dedicated themselves to being followers. They were called Disciples. Jesus did most of his teaching "on the job", in real life circumstances. He shared word pictures and object lessons often. He told stories, referred to history and got real personal with his students. He did more than pass along information in a clever or creative way. He did more than "tell". He coached, guided, walked alongside and even corrected those who followed his teaching. I think, if we could switch gears, and worry less about church programs, classrooms, curriculum, coarse work, workbooks and lessons, we could get back to disciple-making the way Jesus did.
For more information on becoming a Coach or Disciple-Maker. Or for any other information about Leadership, Church, Parenting, Marriage, Family or Christianity, use the contact info below.
Pikes Peak Christian Church
Design-Driven Church Growth