Efficiency of Discipleship

A lot of models for spiritual growth within churches involve a primary teacher and a group of people who sit around and listen. Obviously, those environments have some significant benefits: they usually use the gifts of a "master teacher" who has invested a significant amount of time planning and can be more easily held accountable for the validity of his message. Also, they ensure the entire group is being led in a similar direction. Those environments are critical for keeping everyone on the same page.

However, if your goal is truly spiritual growth, smaller environments will always yield better results. In fact, rather than a person sitting under a master teacher for their spiritual growth, people will grow more as soon as they can become the master teacher for someone else.

William Glasser did some studies in the area of retention and learning styles and estimates that we remember:

10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we see and hear
70% of what we discuss with others
80% of what we experience personally
95% of what we teach to someone else

If you really want someone to grow, simply hearing the message is horribly inefficient. Instead, put them in an environment where they are responsible for teaching someone else.

That's why the discipleship model works so well.


Unknown said...


My name is Rev Robert Wright, Editor for Christian.com, a social network made specifically for Christians, by Christians. We embarked on this endeavor to offer the entire Christian community an outlet to join together and better spread the good word of Christianity. Christian.com has many great features like Christian TV, prayer requests, finding a church, receiving church updates and advice. We have emailed you to collaborate with you and your blog to help spread the good word of Christianity. I look forward to your response regarding this matter. Thanks!

Rev. Robert Wright

Josh Horton said...

dang...chris is big time now!