Years ago I heard John Wimber teach what he called THE 5 – STEP DISCIPLESHIP LOOP. Since that time, I’ve used this approach to help new believers learn how to pray, musicians learn how to lead worship, and aspiring leaders start to lead small groups. I use it to pass on all kinds of different skills. It’s something I consider essential for being a leader.
Recently I saw a nice outline of the discipleship loop by a pastor named Davd Ferguson. Here’s his summary along with a few notes of explaination from my experience:
I DO. YOU WATCH.
Before you can really train someone to do something, you have to learn how to do it yourself. You don’t need to be an expert, but you do need to be comfortable with the basics.
I DO. YOU HELP. WE TALK.
Next, it’s important to notice those that are watching and being drawn to what you’re modeling. Invite them to join in and help you. “What did you notice when I was . . . (fill in the name of a skill)?” “Was there anything I did that was puzzling to you?” (It may or may not be important, but it IS important to discuss).
YOU DO. I HELP. WE TALK.
After a period of watching and helping and discussing, slowly shift roles and allow the disciple to “sit in the drivers seat” while you step back. If the skill you are passing on has multiple parts, take time to focus on each individual part and then gradually put them all together. “Disha, would you open the meeting tonight in prayer?” “Deepak would you lead the small group next week?”
YOU DO. I WATCH. WE TALK.
Gradually give your trainee more and more practice until they’re ready to do it without you. Often they will be fearful to move out on their own, but despite their fears, it is almost always good to challenge them to take the risk and go for it.
YOU DO. SOMEONE ELSE WATCHES. WE TALK.
Finally, challenge your friend to take what they have learned and pass it on. Your role in training them isn’t complete until you help them learn how to use THE 5 – STEP DISCIPLESHIP LOOP with someone else.
I like that “We talk” part added to each phase. It’s ongoing mentoring. Also, the last one encourages them to Mentor another person. This is truly a “Loop.”