1. Having an apprentice in your group is one of the best strategies for evangelism and growth available to the church. In order to bring new people into your group (and the church), you need trained leaders. But where will these leaders come from? If every small group has an apprentice, you'll always have leaders in training. Just as an intern trains in the hospital under a doctor, an apprentice trains in the group under the leader. When adequately prepared, the apprentice forms the nucleus of a new group (or remains with the original group while the leader births the new group).
2. When a group births a new group, the members feel responsible for that group, like proud parents. When that group in turn produces yet another group, members of the first group feel like grandparents, a true sense of accomplishment.
3. Some of the leader's usual functions can be delegated to the apprentice; thus the leader can focus on just a few key responsibilities. But remember, the apprentice is not just a "go-for" person; he or she is there to learn.
4. Leaders don't get burned out so fast with apprentices in the group. Two reasons: First, the leader becomes more than just a discussion facilitator; he becomes a trainer, a discipler if you will. This helps bring additional meaning to the leadership capacity. Second, because the group should birth a new group every so often, there is a continuing sense of excitement-there's simply no time for burnout!
5. The apprenticing process imitates God's idea of leadership development. There is a fifth reason for apprenticing small group leaders, perhaps the most important of all. That is, God calls us to leadership and equips us to be leaders; thus He has an apprenticing style of ministry. Think about it: ...