Discipleship 101: Be Teachable


So through the years God has blessed me to be able to be in a mentor/ coach/ lead/ disciple/ pastor or whatever the next buzz-word will be, several men.  For the first several years I didn’t recognize much of what was happening other than the guys who were hanging around me began asking great questions and I was able to teach from where I had been and what I knew to be true from God’s word.  These days I’m a little more intentional and I move forward with a larger game plan to develop and strengthen the gifts and talents that these men posses in the Lord.

Regi Campbell shares in his book Mentor Like Jesus that he generally picks the guys that he is going to mentor.  I tend to agree Regi’s line of thinking on this.  The disciple maker should choose the disciples.  For the longest time I didn’t know why I held this as a default position other than the fact that through the years I’ve rejected some folks who wanted my input and sought out others to influence.  Then it dawned on me… The guys I picked tended to have one quality in common… They were teachable.

Be Teachable

I learned a long time ago that not everyone who came to me for discipleship really wanted to grow.  Sometimes people sought me out for opportunity or endorsement; they didn’t always want to learn what I might have to teach.  As a pastor I know that my greatest work for the moment with these type people will not be actual discipleship, but in bringing them to a place of being teachable (which usually involves allowing them to fail repeatedly until they come to a place of frustration and through their frustration they overcome their pride enough to ask for help).

When Jesus called the first few disciples he said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”  The key to becoming fishers of men was to follow Jesus in such a way that he could transform them.  In essence they had to be teachable.  If you were to ask me to teach you how to fold a paper airplane and I were to repeatedly demonstrate very basic folding patterns while talking about how airflow over a certain shape were to create lift, I would expect you to follow at least the very basic folding patterns even if all the talk about airflow went in one ear and out the other.  However, if you were unwilling even to follow my basic folding patterns and try to attempt your own very flawed designs with no regard to how airflow creates lift I would call you unteachable.  My best hope at that point would be to move on and teach those who are teachable and hope that after 1000’s of failed attempts to make your plane fly that you would come back for some help with at least the basic folds.

But what if you were teachable?  What if you came to me and I taught you paper folds while talking airflow and while at first you didn’t understand airflow you did understand the folds?  Then you tried some modifications to my design and some worked and some didn’t.  What if then as we talked through why some of your modifications failed and succeeded you all of the sudden grasp what I was saying about airflow and this information fuels modifications and changes that work?  Then I would say that you are teachable and soon you will be able to teach others.

So it is with discipleship.  The first thing you must do is be teachable.  If you are not teachable, all bets are off.  I can’t make you into anything.  I can’t help you succeed.  Your own pride will hang you before we ever get started.  You must be willing to listen.  You must be willing to learn.  You must be willing to attempt under supervision.  You must be willing to discuss failure as well as success.  You must be teachable.  To not be teachable is to not be transformed.

The truth is that to really be a disciple, you must be teachable.  Are you teachable?

Even as a leader I strive in my own life to fight pride and to be teachable.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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