How to Develop an Apprentice

Ten steps for training and preparing an apprentice to lead.

Leading the group is not the most important thing a group leader does. Although that is where most churches place most of their energy in leadership training, I submit that the most important thing a group leader does is something else; it is developing the apprentice leader.

I've studied growing churches. I've studied different church and small group models, including the Cell Church and Meta-Church. I've studied the life of Jesus. I've studied the life of the early church. And I've come to this conclusion: Discipling individuals is primary; leading groups and teaching the crowds is secondary. In fact, ministry in groups and with the crowds often is part of the training experience for discipling individuals. It goes something like this: I train you one-on-one; you watch me as I lead; you ask questions (or I ask you questions) about what I just did; you lead; I ask you questions (or you ask me questions) about what you just did; you do it yourself.

I believe this is a different mind-set for how many churches train leaders, even churches who use apprentices in their small group ministries. Developing apprentices is secondary, and often forgotten in many churches. I think it makes good sense to make apprentice development more important. It is a way to broaden the leadership base of the church, which then increases the opportunity for more ministry and greater outreach—without placing all the burden on a few people.

But how do we develop apprentices? Here are ten steps you can take.

1. Supplicate. Lift him up during your personal prayer times. Pray for his needs and for his walk with Christ. Also pray with him. Meet with him to pray together for members of the group and for the meetings.

2. Initiate. Share your vision ...

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