Tag Archives: MAWL

One thing you must do to get your disciple-making beyond second generation

Most discipleship programs are jug to mug. By that I mean, the teacher/disciple-maker talks and the student listens. The teacher may ask questions for understanding but that’s about it. This type of discipleship will lead to head-knowledge but very little else. Knowledge of what to do does not equal the ability to do it.  Training and practice are required if one is to grow and be like Jesus. This style of discipleship almost never attains reproduction. What you end up with is a teacher with students or a preacher and a congregation. Personally, I don’t like it. Jesus asks his disciples to go and make disciples. That commandment is not the number one commandment (or even number two) but it’s still an important command for the church today. No MAWLThe commandment is given to everyone. When a disciple-maker stops people from going and making disciples they undermine the obedience of those they are teaching. We teach so that lives may be transformed, so that people can live well in the Kingdom of God. Why on earth would we ask them to be disobedient to God’s Word when his Word brings life? When we fail to encourage and teach others to fulfil the Great Commission we are undermining their obedience and the good life that Jesus talks about. To me, this is like a music teacher always showing the student how to play the instrument but never letting them have a go or a coach that drills the player at practice and then makes them sit on the sidelines every game. Disciples need to make disciples. It brings life.

The way to move from head knowledge to proficient application is through MAWL. Through Modelling, Assisting, Watching and Leaving the disciple-maker is able to reproduce themselves and develop MAWLanother disciple-maker. Whether it’s teaching them to lead a bible study or how to pray or how to lead a church of 5,000, MAWL reproduces. When MAWL is applied you end up with this diagram: That’s much better than the first diagram, don’t you think? I think so. MAWLing will get you to the second generation (you being the first). To get beyond the second generation you need to do one thing – MAWL MAWL.

MAWLing MAWLUsing the process of Model, Assist, Watch, Leave, you now need to apply this to the MAWL process. In other words, you need to show (Model) your new disciple-maker how to do MAWL. Then you need to coach (Assist) them as they begin to put it into practice. As they build confidence and competence in the process your role moves to observation (Watch) and when they are ready you release (Leave) them. Just because they have been through the MAWL process doesn’t mean they know it. Remember, knowing is not enough. People need training. Training means more than head knowledge. It means helping them to put it into practice and do what they can until they can do what they can’t. When you MAWL MAWL you fully reproduce yourself by enabling them to reproduce too.

For example, let’s say you are teaching someone how to study the Bible at home. You Model, Assist, Watch and Leave. They now can study the Bible at home. What they can do now is to Model it to someone else but that doesn’t mean they know how to Assist, Watch or Leave. Until you MAWL the process they will be stuck at the Model stage. In practice, this is often enough. Often, just seeing how it is done is enough. But for best practice, for best results, MAWL will give much better results. Once you help them to learn the MAWL process they can move beyond applying the truth themselves and simply modelling the truth to others and move toward others applying and reproducing the truth too. MAWL MAWL to get beyond the second generation in your discipleship of others.

When you don’t MAWL you develop people who know the truth.

When you MAWL you develop people who can apply the truth.

When you MAWL MAWL you develop people who can reproduce the truth.

Let me know what you think about MAWLing MAWL in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe.



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Filed under Discipleship, Groups, Grow

4 steps to discipleship reproduction

BigBrothersJesus 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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Filed under Discipleship, Grow