Replace Yourself is one of our 8 Leader Essentials. But you may find yourself wondering, "Why am I supposed to identify and develop an apprentice? Why is it such a big deal?" Here are three reasons.
1. It's biblical. Throughout the Bible, leaders apprentice others so they can follow in the leaders' footsteps. Moses apprenticed Joshua. Elijah apprenticed Elisha. Paul apprenticed Timothy. One of the most cited verses on the subject of apprenticing is in Paul's second letter to Timothy:
"And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others." (2 Timothy 2:2)
The clearest example of apprenticing is Jesus' interactions with the twelve disciples. If anyone could have done ministry all by himself, it was Jesus. But he didn't. His disciples were always with him—watching, learning, and listening. He involved them in almost everything he did. That's because he saw beyond his three years of public ministry. He knew success was handing off the ministry to those coming behind him. That's one measure of your success as a group leader too.
2. It's practical. Apprenticing doesn't just develop the apprentice. It also grows the leader who apprentices. Nothing makes you take stock of what you know like being asked to teach someone else. The process gives you incentive to organize your knowledge and put it down on paper. It helps you to solidify it in your mind. As you hand over responsibility to your apprentices, they bring their knowledge, talent, and experience to bear upon what you've shared with them. They find new and better ways to lead. This gives you the opportunity to learn from them. It expands your knowledge and skills.
3. It's strategic. Our mission is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Our strategy to carry out that mission is to get people into groups because we believe that life change happens best in the context of small groups. So, creating space for more people to experience healthy relationships and spiritual growth is essential. We can only do that if we have qualified group leaders. Those who have been apprenticed make the best leaders because they've had first-hand experience of Community Group.
So, those are three reasons you should identify and develop an apprentice. On Friday, I'll give you four things to look for in order to identify an apprentice.