Today I want to talk about “organic apprenticeship” because we believe this is the best way to raise leaders. We don’t raise leaders through heavy training or through leadership development programs. We raise leaders by looking for people who are watching what we do and are eager to repeat it.
This is the way Jesus trained his disciples, and the way Paul trained his new church leaders. In John 13:15, Jesus said, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” In 1 Corinthians 4:16, Paul echoes Jesus’ training philosophy: “So I ask you to follow my example and do as I do.” So, what does that look like for your community group?
Well, each of your group should have an apprentice. The apprentice is a person who assists the group leader in preparation for leading a group. An apprentice can help the leader by emailing the group before each week’s meeting, setting up a snack schedule and leading group discussions. As an apprentice becomes immersed in the life of a group, learning from and helping a current leader, he or she is getting the training needed to lead a group the next term. An apprentice learns by watching and by doing, not by sitting through hours of training or seminars.
This is why as group leaders we should always be looking for potential leaders within our group. Those potential leaders can become apprentices and then they will be prepared to step up as group leaders after that. In essence, you are teaching your leaders to grow new leaders by learning to replace themselves in 4 steps:
- I do and you watch
- I do and you help
- You do and I help
- You do and I applaud
You will pour into an initial set of leaders who will pour into other leaders who will in turn pour into other leaders, and on and on.