Jesus said to the disciples to go and make disciples. We are to reproduce. We are to pass on what we have learnt. Disciples making disciples. This is Jesus’ strategic plan to establish his kingdom. Disciples making disciples. In order for this to happen we need a process that will lead to reproduction. Here is a simple 4 step process to reproduce.
In several places (eg. 1 Cor 4:16, Phil 3:17) Paul calls those to whom he is writing to imitate himself (as he has in turn imitated Jesus). Paul has shown them how to live in the Kingdom of God under the rule of Jesus. In 1 Thess 1:4-8 Paul highlights that the message he brought wasn’t just in words but was also in power and in the Holy Spirit. In calling others to imitate him Paul didn’t just use words, he showed them how to do it. The first step is to show people how. If you are leading a group then by default you are showing them how to lead a group. However, if you have had to do preparation work where will they learn to do this? You will need to show them how to do that too. Whatever you have done to prepare for the group discipleship you will need to show them. When you assume that someone knows how to do what you have done you will create holes in their understanding which will cause problems later down the traco. Show them how you do it. This is the first step. Whether it’s leading a discipleship group or helping them to devotionally read their bible, show them.
While the first step is important we saw in my previous post (“Just ’cause you know it doesn’t mean you can do it“) that understanding what needs to be done and doing it are two different things. Once you have modelled to them how to do it’s time to help them do it. In this step you come along side them. You partner with them and be their helper, their sidekick. Whatever assistance they need you provide. Before they have a go it’s important for you to lead them through everything they need to do to ensure they are prepared with what needs to happen. Make it as easy as possible for them to succeed. If they get stuck help them get through it. If they get nervous offer them reassurance. If they forget something offer a gentle reminder.
After they have had a go debrief with them. From my experience people can be really negative and harsh toward their own efforts. Help them see the reality. If they are leading a group I suggest you get the group to give positive feedback and then during the debrief begin with the question, “What did you hear the group say?” Help them to hear the positive. If it’s just one-on-one then give them positive feedback and ask the question, “What did you hear me say?” Help them hear the positive.
As they develop the confidence and ability to perform the new task (such as disciple in a group or conduct ministry meetings, or preach, or devotionally read their bible) your assistance will become less and less and less. You will move from an active helper to an observer. They will still make mistakes just like we all do. In this third step you need to make a conscious effort to move into the role of an observer. Still debrief but back off from assisting. There may be times when they are way over their head so of course you would step in but otherwise it’s important to stand back and see how they respond. It’s here that they grow. Let them work out how they will handle it. Allow them to strive to put into practice what you are learning. Allow them to sink a little but not to drown.
The last step is to leave. In leaving you create a vacuum which they must fill. If you remain then you will take over again eventually. So create the vacuum that allows them to step up and disciple others. It’s a great phase for both of you as you are fulfilling the great commission. Celebrate this phase as you have finished the reproduction cycle. You now have someone who is capable of doing what you have been doing. Praise God.
This process – Model, Assist, Watch, Leave, can be applied at the simplest and most complex levels. From teaching someone how to memorize scripture, to preparing a sermon, to running a small group to running a church with 5 staff. By using Model, Assist, Watch, Leave (MAWL) you can reproduce yourself in others and you empower others to do what you are doing.
Depending on what you are wanting them to learn and their maturity level the time frame of each step will vary. If you are teaching them how to read their Bible devotionally then you can probably work through the whole process in 30-60 minutes. If you are teaching them how to prepare a sermon then it may take a few months. Use the wisdom Christ gives you and work through the process steadily and you will get to reproduction.
Let me know how the MAWL process works for you. Leave a comment and don’t forget to subscribe to get this blog
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