Teachability—makin’ or breakin’ discipleship relationships since…
What makes a good discipleship relationship?
What is the most refreshing quality for a disciple-maker to see in his or her prospective disciples?
Though there are other important characteristics for a disciple to have, teachability is the most crucial.
If there is teachability, there is trust.
Without a doubt, if your disciple is teachable, they trust you. Not only will they trust you, you will trust them.
What do trust and teachability reveal and create in your discipleship relationship?
- Vulnerability – Once trust is built, vulnerability skyrockets. This, in turn, creates more teachability. Without vulnerability, you will never know how to meet your disciple where they are in your teaching and training.
- Relational Depth – With no depth of relationships, discipleship can be mechanical. Since none of us (as far as I know) are discipling robots, we must be sure to lead real people and not just move chess pieces.
- Open Conversations – Vulnerability and relational depth allow for wide open conversations with each other. Even when your disciple disagrees with you, they feel open to let you know. They reassure you that they aren’t going anywhere, but that they do see an issue differently. Compared to a non-teachable disciple who just disappears when they disagree with you, this teachable disciple refreshes your soul.
If there is teachability, there is humility.
When a disciple is teachable, you can be sure humility is the cause.
If teachability is there, this assumes the disciple-maker is also humble.
Since none of us are Jesus, admitting mistakes and failures is a part of discipleship. You will find that this sort of humility wins more people than acting like you never mess up.
- Repentance – Our greatest fear as a disciple-maker is often that we will look weak or not fit to follow. Well, newsflash, all of us are weak and none of us have it all together. We are living in a false reality if we think we will never mess up in front of our disciples. The key is in how we respond when we mess up.Will they see you repent and run to Jesus, confessing your sin and asking for help? Or will they see you create some new legalistic standard to gain God’s favor back? Will they see you acknowledge failure? Or will they watch you blame-shift until you are red in the face? Give it up. Repent.
- Grace – Humility in a discipleship relationship allows for both disciple-maker and disciple to be able to look past one another’s faults. Grace can be given. Forgiveness can be offered. Understanding and empathy will replace skepticism and distrust.
You don’t train teachability—you earn it.
A worthy life.
Even though we will make mistakes, we still must be trending upward in our walk with God. You must be worthy to be followed and trusted.
As a disciple-maker, you must live a life that is above reproach. Integrity and respectability earn you teachable disciples.
Time + Love = Teachability
You win more influence and trust by loving your disciples for the long haul.
When they screw up, how do you respond? Are you gracious, or disappointed? Love them well and they will follow well.
You don’t force teachability. You receive it.
Even when you are doing everything else right, you are not guaranteed to have teachable disciples. In the end, it is a gift to be received from God.
Using their parents, their background and more, God shapes men and women to be good or bad followers. When you receive one from Him, be sure you thank Him for the gift.