“Ignorance is bliss.” Well, not when it comes to blind spots in your life. What would your response be if I told you that you may be missing out on the easiest to implement and most effective practice for growing disciples and reaching the lost? If you’re like most, you would probably say, “Tell me what it is!” What if I told you that the mystery practice was modeled, taught, and commanded by Jesus two thousand years ago? Still interested? I hope so.
Before I tell you the practice, let me give you a little background about the way in which we grow.
Humans obtain skills through what is called the “Conscious Competence Ladder” or the “Learning Matrix” as it is sometimes labeled. In addition to examining your pedagogical process, the matrix can assist you in coaching and discipling others in the learning process.
Five stages comprise the rungs on the “Conscious Competence Ladder”:
• Unconscious Incompetence,
• Conscious Incompetence,
• Conscious Competence,
• Unconscious Competence and,
• Unconscious Competence.
Level 1—Unconscious Incompetence (You Don’t Know that You Don’t Know):
At this stage ignorance is bliss. There are practices, principles, and skills that would empower you, but you have no clue they exist. You are unaware of the skills you need to succeed, and, sadly, you don’t realize you are deficient. This is often caused by a lethargic approach to biblical study or sheer pride. Don’t let arrogance blind you to your weaknesses and don’t let laziness stand in the way of becoming biblically competent.
Level 2—Conscious Incompetence (You Know that You Don’t Know):
At this stage, you realize your inabilities. The longer you are in ministry you discover skills you are lacking or areas in which you need to mature. Additionally, time with other believers identifies growth objects in which to develop.
Level 3—Intentionally Incompetent (You Know that You Don’t Know, But You Don’t Care):
Those in this stage have minds that are clouded by pride. They know that they have deficiencies, but they do not wish to correct their weaknesses because learning requires admitting to themselves and others that they are not perfect.
Level 4—Conscious Competence (You Know that You Know):
At this level, you acquire knowledge, learn a skill, and implement what you know, fully aware of your abilities. This level is where you sharpen your skills and hone your craft through practice and discipline.
You create a powerful self-assessment tool by combining Level’s 2 and 4; you understand what you know and what you don’t know. You are still concentrating on the performance of these activities, but as you get more practice and experience, these become increasingly automatic.
Level 5—Unconscious Competence (You Don’t Know that You Know)”
At this stage your skills are performed with automatic ease. Skills in this level have been stored as habits and they are executed subconsciously.
A Much Overlooked Practice: Discipleship
In my experience, many pastors, when it comes to discipleship, operate in Level 1. I have been ringing the discipleship bell for years, but few people have listened. We have hosted five discipleship conferences called Replicate with nominal attendance. The highest attended conference was last year when we had over four hundred. Not very impressive numbers in comparison to conferences like T4G (over eight thousand) or Exponential (over five thousand). Only recently has the tide turned toward discipleship with conferences such as Exponential, Verge, and Multiply focusing exclusively on discipleship.
So why has it taken us so long to realize the importance of discipleship; unfortunately, many still don’t grasp the impact a discipleship emphasis can have on one’s life and church.
Two Reasons for the Lack of Discipleship
There are two reasons, I suggest, for the lack of discipleship in contemporary churches.
Some, if not most, of you haven’t been discipled before, so you don’t know what to do. Since you haven’t seen a group lived out before you, you are confused about the discipleship process.
It could also be that you don’t understand the benefits of the group. A person who has never worked out for an extended period of time will never fully realize the benefits of training. It’s only when you purchase a membership, wake up early, and begin training that you are sold on the benefits of working out. If I go a week without working out, I can tell a difference in my life—I have worked out nearly ever week for 26 years!
Most would say, “I haven’t been there and done that before, so I can’t lead a discipleship group.” When you don’t know what to do, you don’t do anything at all. Ignorance of what to teach and how to lead has paralyzed believers for two millennia. You know more than you think you know. If you are further along the journey than someone else, you can at least lead him or her to where you are.
Where do We Go From Here?
How can I overcome these issues? What steps can I take to begin making disciples?
A discipleship group is not the only aspect of making disciples, but it’s an essential component. What other environment lends itself to accountability and transparency about your life, marriage, and ministry?
What if you had someone walk alongside you, like a coach, through the process of preparing and leading a discipleship group? Would that help? This person would prep you for the upcoming group meeting and share insights and expectations every week.
I believe most people would lead a group if someone discipled them how to do it.
The Growing Up Challenge solves both problems. No longer can you use the excuses, “I don’t know how to lead a group because I’ve never seen a group!” or “I don’t know what to teach because I’ve never been discipled!”
By using Growing Up as a manual for making disciples, I will outline the first thirteen group meetings for you. In the comfort of your home, you can access the videos that provide step-by-step training for investing in others. Additionally, you will get all your questions answered through the community.
Don’t take my word for it. Here is what Kelli P. said
I want to say how very thankful that I am to have been apart of a discipleship group this past year! It is hard to believe we began this journey nine months ago. It has had such an amazing impact on my life and has helped give me such a love for God’s word! I now read the Bible consistently and with more purpose then ever before! Reading God’s word is now a priority in my life! I rearrange my schedule around having quality time in God’s word. There is a greater understanding of God’s holy word in my life. I meditate on scriptures that I am memorizing on a weekly basis! It has improved my relationship with my husband and as a mother. Without a doubt, being apart of a discipleship group has been life changing for me. I look forward to being able to replicate into others.
If you are interested in the Growing Up Challenge, visit http://www.growingupchallenge.com to sign up.
When is the best time to begin a group? The ideal time for beginning a discipleship group is January when people are seeking to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions!
Join Hundreds of others in the Growing Up Challenge: http://www.growingupchallenge.com
Sign Up Now!