Pastor Greg is teaching a seven-part Wednesday night series on the seven core values of our church and all of his life ministry.
This week is Core Value #7: Intentional Apprenticing
Not being content to know what you KNOW or do what you DO in the church, but to go a step further in recognizing your responsibility to PASS ON the knowledge and experience you have to future generations, to make sure your ministry doesn’t die with you.
After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi (also known as Matthew) sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. ~ Luke 5:27-28
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles:” – Luke 6:12-13
Why did Matthew follow Jesus? Because Jesus asked him to.
How did you become an apostle? You were chosen!
Intentionally CHOOSING someone to APPRENTICE, to train, to disciple, to pour my knowledge, my experience, my life into. Not doing it by accident, or halfway or haphazardly.
Most leaders tend to think of apprenticing someone down the road, eventually, at the end of our careers or ministry. Someday, before I retire or before I die, I will make sure someone else knows how to carry on in my absence. Someday…. Someday…. Someday … But Jesus models a better way for us. Jesus was already, at the VERY START of His ministry, thinking of succession. Who will carry on my work when I am gone? Who is going to take the message of the kingdom of God to the next generation, to the times and the places I will never go? At the very beginning He was already thinking in terms of succession.
IT’S NOT ABOUT SUCCESS! IT’S ABOUT SUCCESSION!
There is no success without a successor. ~ John Maxwell
Success for Jesus was not simply a sermon well-preached or a miracle well performed. He thought both in terms of DOING ministry and in terms of who is going to take My place when I’m gone? Who is going to carry on my ministry after I die, get resurrected and ascend to heaven?
Whenever an intentionally planned ministry moment for Jesus happened, He ALWAYS took some disciples with Him to apprentice them.
Success was not just doing the ministry well, it was teaching OTHERS to do the ministry well so that they would carry on the ministry once He was gone.
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, He gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and He sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” ~ Luke 9:1-2
When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida… ~ Luke 9:10
He modeled and explained. Here’s what I’m doing and here’s why I’m doing it.
For us to be the kind of church we love and stay on the path that God has put us on, from my position all the way out to the edges of our ministry structure, we have to think in terms of succession not just success. We need to always be apprenticing people in leadership at every level of this church, in every ministry department. Success HAS to be about bringing people along to reproduce us and replace us.
So, ask yourself this question. Who do I plan to stand back and watch do what I used to do, better than I used to do it, both because of my input in their life and in terms of their natural abilities?
IF WE DO THIS, TWO EXCITING THINGS HAPPEN
1) You EXPAND the IMPACT of your life!
You can be in more than one place at one time. The impact of your life will be felt in places you will never go. The impact of your life will be felt beyond your lifetime. You will leave a legacy!
But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” ~ John 16:7
Leadership is not about ADDITION – It’s about MULTIPLICATION!
If Jesus had to try to go disciple every one of those people by Himself even He could not have done it in human form. By leaving, the Holy Spirit could come to fill unlimited apprentices and Apprenticeship Multiplication could take place. At the very outset of His ministry, Jesus knew His earthly life was going to come to an end, so he intentionally apprenticed others, He intentionally replaced Himself. So, who are you going to replace yourself with? Have you recruited an apprentice for your job here at the church yet? If you are serving now, you need to be on the lookout for an apprentice.
2) It allows you to BRIDGE a generation.
It is my responsibility and it is your responsibility to pass, equip and empower the next generation for ministry so that in this church there will NEVER be a generation gap. The bullseye on the target is to show up and watch somebody else do what I used to do and do it better than I used to do it. THAT is the ultimate WIN in ministry.
UNFORTUNATELY, THERE ARE TWO OBJECTIONS TO INTENTIONAL APPRENCTING
1) I’m no EXPERT.
Who am I to teach someone else? I’m not good enough. I barely know what I’m doing now.
If the NT Christians thought that way – you and I wouldn’t be here. Thank God they took what they did know and poured that into someone else. Even if you are only a step ahead of someone, you can minister to the one who is one step behind. You are NOT responsible for knowing everything there is to know about life or ministry. You ARE responsible for taking what you do know and pouring that into the life of another person.
If we could ever embrace that fully throughout the entire Body of Christ, there is no limit to what we could accomplish for the kingdom of God. I’m not just talking about growing the local church bigger. I’m talking about making an impact all over the world, I’m talking about fulfilling the Great Commission in our lifetime. I’m talking about ushering in the return of Jesus Christ! The Kingdom of God would explode with growth! God would add to our numbers daily those who are being saved!
2) If I REPLACE myself what am I going to do?
There is something threatening about replacing yourself and not being needed anymore isn’t there? So church people tend to find their door, their niche, their board, their table, their microphone, their camera, their classroom, and what often happens is we begin to draw our identity from our ministry.
I want to make sure my identity is wrapped up in Christ and not in MY ministry. I am so much more than the ministry I do and so are you! Because when we get to the point where our identity is so wrapped up in our ministry that we are unwilling to step out and replace ourselves with someone else coming along behind us who can do what we once did better than we used to do it, we are no longer in the ministry we are in the MEnistry. And that’s when its not about making disciples anymore.
Too many of us have been in churches like that where everyone holds on to their little kingdom so tightly that they lose sight of the stewardship responsibility to pass it on beyond their own lifetime and a generation gap begins and the church shrinks and dies.
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. ~ Proverbs 27:17
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
If you will identify an apprentice and involve them in your ministry and in your life then you will know the joy of seeing your protégé one day do what you used to do even better than you used to do it. Nothing beats that feeling!
No matter how much joy you gain from doing ministry yourself, if your heart is right, if you stay in the ministry long enough and don’t get seduced into the MEnistry, nothing will bring you more joy than watching someone you apprenticed do what you used to do better than you used to do it. Because you still get to own a part of that. You get to share in every victory they have.