Whether making one or many disciples in a group, you should ask every disciple at least three important questions.
- Are you an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert?
- Are you a visual learner or an auditory learner?
- Are you emotional, an engineer, or an activist?
Why? Because every disciple you make is different. They think differently. They react differently. They process information differently. They have different needs and are at different places in their journeys to spiritual maturity. But knowing their likes and dislikes, interests, and current life situations is only the beginning. The superpower of guiding disciples is understanding how they think.
Today’s three questions focus on just that. And the answers are critical to my success because they guide the most important part of making disciples: how I effectively understand, interact, encourage, and communicate with each disciple. The better I know how they think, the more effectively I communicate. I know when to speak and when to be quiet. I better understand their reaction to God’s truths and stories. Knowing how they think makes me a wiser guide.
Here’s what I have learned about these three questions.
1. Are you an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert?
Here’s a quick way to help folks determine whether they are introverts or extroverts. Ask, “Do you recharge your batteries alone or in a crowd?” Introverts recharge alone. That is why they like alone time. Extroverts are invigorated after interacting with others.
Introverts may seem more disconnected toward the end of a discipleship meeting. It’s because they are tired of people! On the other hand, extroverts will struggle to not get in the middle of everyone’s comments. Extroverts are crazy bad cross-talkers.
Introverts process internally. Extroverts work through things as they walk towards conclusions, and their random thoughts along the way drive introverts nuts. Extroverts process aloud in a crowd.
You can push an extrovert in front of anyone. He is happy for you to join his public thought process. Don’t try that with an introvert. Introverts need time to internally process and draw conclusions. Give them space. Move on.
Ambiverts are the most difficult to lead because an ambivert is a weird, unpredictable mix of an introvert and extrovert. Knowing that you are talking to an ambivert warns you to listen well to figure out his thinking before you guide him.
Knowing whether the disciple is an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert helps you communicate. And it enables you to set disciples free to be their unique selves – quiet or loud without any regrets or pressure from you or anyone else.
2. Are you a visual learner or an auditory learner?
Help your disciples find a quick answer, “Can you listen to an audiobook and stay on track?” Auditory learners can listen and assimilate information. They can stay on track. Visual learners need pictures – real pictures and word pictures. Try explaining a process without an illustration, and visual learners will implode.
Visual learners love Jesus’ word pictures but might struggle to assimilate three seemingly disconnected truths. Auditory learners might struggle when it comes to reading. Our solution is to get them to listen to the Bible while reading along. It accelerates their reading.
The key to disciple making is to get truth into the disciple. Knowing how a disciple learns can help you help him to internalize God’s truths. Again, it also frees the disciple to lean into the the way God made them. Speaking of how God made them, I ask the third question.
3. Are you emotional, an engineer, or an activist?
Emotional thinkers respond with vim and vigor, speak in hyperbole, and feel things deeply. Whereas engineers have to make things fit neatly. Connected thoughts and comments need to feel logical and thorough. Engineers can take longer to assimilate Biblical concepts.
Activists are the Justice League of disciples. They tend to question God more and stand up for the helpless. They struggle with the wars God directed. They question the fairness of stoning people. But just like emotional disciples, thinking like an activist is not negative. It’s just different.
The emotional, the engineer, and the activist all perceive God through different lenses. We will unlikely turn introverts into extroverts or visual learners into auditory learners. But we can help disciples become more balanced when it comes to thinking emotionally, like an engineer or an activist. Why? Because these are typically learned behaviors. The emotional can learn to slow down a bit, finding value in less reacting. The engineer can learn to follow his gut (like the Holy Spirit) without being able to explain everything. And the activist can often find balance in trusting God a bit more. It’s our job as guides to help people become balanced and complete.
Which combination is the toughest?
I think it’s relative to whom you are and how you think. For example, I am an ambivert, visual learner who is most often an emotional processor. So my nemesis (the disciple I have to work to lead) is an introverted, auditory learner with an engineer’s perspective. I can lead an activist (somewhat emotional) better than the pragmatic, dare I say, dogmatic engineering type. But, I must admit, the engineer’s pragmatism always enhances my understanding of God and his truths. I have to be patient with introverts because my extrovert side wants to know what they are thinking. And the auditory learner’s decreased ability to process my constant illustrations means I have to adjust.
But no matter what, the answers to these three questions become my superpower to listen and guide them well without getting in the way. But these three are only a few of the seven questions I ask every disciple. Next month we will talk about the others. Want to know more before then?
- Download the assessment sheet that I use for every disciple,
- Pop into an Atlanta workshop,
- Sign up for the Virtual Workshop
- Connect with our team. We love talking about discipleship.
Let’s go make a million well-made disciples!