What Can Elon Teach Us About Discipleship?

Helped by this? Tell a Friend! ---->

Elon Musk is a polarizing figuring. I don’t want to get caught up on that. He is not a believer but he can still teach us something just like Paul could quote to the Athenian truths from their own pagan poets (Acts 17:28).

When Elon Musk built the Texas gigafactory he put the offices in with the factory. He specifically said he did this to prevent ivory tower culture. The thinkers, accountants and executives need to be in touch (literally) with the work and product. Better yet, those who are thinking to solve issues need to have their hands on the widgets themselves. This reflects a culture where thinking isn’t enough.

When I first started my doctoral studies in clinical psychology, I was doing parent training with some of the most difficult children imaginable. Here I was, in my early 20s. Not married. No kids. I was often asked by the parents I was helping how I could help them since I didn’t have any kids of my own. The only reason I could was because we had a manualized treatment that had been developed over decades with real families. The doctoral studies put us with real people half the time and half the time in research. Our research was informed by real people and our clinical practice (with real people) was informed by research. (You can read more about that here – Theology Needs Mission, Mission Needs Theology)

Here’s the issue

Thinking without doing actually results in poor thinking. You don’t really know something without experience. In Hebrew one way of really knowing someone was about experience and intimacy. “Adam knew his wife Eve and she conceived and bore Cain” (Gen 4:1). There is knowledge in the experience that isn’t readily receivable from a textbook.

You don’t really know something until you have experienced it and incorporated that experience into your thinking. As is often repeated, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” – Mike Tyson on fighting Holyfield. Any plan a fighter has for the fight has to be informed by how it feels to get punched in the mouth.

What does this have to do with discipleship?

This has everything to do with discipleship. You can read books on discipleship. You can even read the Bible. You can lay out a plan. You can theorize about it. You might even make a list of people to pray over (that’s a great start) but until it moves to real conversations and relationships with real people on a consistent basis over time – you really don’t have much.


Let us take what we already know and move it to action before we take in more information we have no intention of acting on.

What is one meaningful step you can take toward making disciples based on what you already know? Let’s talk in the comments and work together on this.

One Response

  1. Everyone who has accepted Christ already has enough knowledge to teach others what they learned . The woman at the well taught many about Christ not knowing much about his teachings. But, listening to powerful preachers will cause an individual to feel inadequate to communicate with others . They then resort to trying to lead others to hear the lessons they have heard.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe To Weekly Newsletter!

Get updates and learn from the best

Read this Next!


Defining a Miracle

One question that comes up a lot when we talk about whether or not miracles still happen is to define

Want to Plant Churches or make disciples?

I would love to hear from You!