We have all heard the story of Apollo 13 or at least know of the movie starring Tom Hanks. We may have also heard of Apollo 11 who were the first mission to land on the moon. NASA had an extensive Apollo program that covered 17 missions. This particular episode covers the idea that NASA wanted to go back to the moon in order to learn more about how the moon came to be. They wanted to study the moon geologically. The issue of this particular episode is they needed to take some of the finest pilots to ever exists and teach them to do more than just pilot the craft. These astronauts were not used to seeing anything else other than flight.
This is partly what we are up against when we are helping people understand how to become disciples of Jesus. There was a time in the video where the one guy who was not going on the mission was the only one who was understanding what the mission was for Apollo 15. The rest of the crew and backup crew were not understanding why they, the best pilots in the world, needed to learn about rocks and terrain. Why is it important? As we are trying to disciple people and develop people, we can take a few pointers from this episode.
First, we need to learn how people learn. One of the things that the professor in the desert did with the astronauts was that he learned how they learn. The professor watched them and studying the guys in order to understand how they learn. We can do this with the people we are developing by building relationships with them while we are developing them.
Another thing I learned from this episode is that we have to teach people the why more than the what. One thing that was apparent in this episode was that the astronauts know what they are doing, but they don’t understand the why. It wasn’t until the astronauts were shown by the professor why it is important to know the differences of the rocks that they began to engage. We also see this in the room where the heads of the program are trying to decide where they should land the craft and they were divided. They knew they needed to land to study, but why was it important to land in a certain place? Again, the professor of geology told them the differences in the two place they were choosing and why the one place was better than the other. He changed their mind, not by teaching them how, but explaining to them why. When we approach developing people with the why as our guide then we will see more movement then if we do it from teaching the what first.
Lastly, another thing that I learned from this episode about developing people is that we make development enjoyable. When the pilots knew the why, when they were being taught the way the learned best, and then it was made enjoyable, they jumped exponentially in their growth. Both the geologically professor and the lunar expert made it fun to learn about the things they were teaching. It wasn’t just information. The two teachers taught with an experience model. The astronauts got the opportunity to experience learning, not just memorize information.
I love that we can learn how to better disciple people through different means. When we watch shows like this we should pay attention to how we can learn new and interesting ways to disciple people.