In my last three posts, I’ve given you the positives of apprenticing.  Here’s part one on an example and encouragement to find an apprentice, and part two and part three giving you reasons I think it is a viable option of raising up leaders.  In this post, though, I’m going to give you my observations on why it is inefficient if used as your sole method of recruiting leaders.

As I said earlier, apprenticeship is not the only method we use here at Grace Community Church.  We use a hybrid method, encouraging apprenticeship but also being willing to put somebody into a leadership position who has not yet been apprenticed at Grace.  The reason we do that is that apprenticeship has its limitations.

Limitations of Apprenticeship:

1. It doesn’t always happen.  As much as you vision cast and “require” leaders to find an apprentice, not all group leaders buy into the idea.  They see it as yet another responsibility placed onto their all-too-full plates.

2. It doesn’t always happen as you would like for it to.  Some leaders buy into the idea initially, but aren’t able to fully develop their apprentice.  For a number of valid reasons, apprentices aren’t being produced.

3. It is a slow process.  Apprenticing takes a long time, and if you’re in an organization that is growing, you will find yourself in a leadership deficit really quickly.  How do you even measure when apprenticing is complete?

4. Not all groups have future leaders in them.  In our small groups, not every group has an apprentice, because quite frankly, not all groups have somebody with leadership potential.  That’s not a slam against anybody.  Everybody is not called to lead a small group.  There are some people who are leaders and others who are followers.  Sometimes, groups are full of followers.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but I paint myself into a corner if I require all groups to have an apprentice.  When I do that, group leaders are investing lots of time into developing leaders out of folks who are not called to be leaders.  That’s frustrating for all involved.


I’m sure there are more reasons why apprenticing alone is an inefficient way of recruiting leaders.  However, whatever system you are using, you must be recruiting leaders.  It is absolutely essential to sustained growth.  Whether you are a pastor, the CEO of a major corporation, a store manager, or a small group leader, your organization will suffer if you are not intentionally raising up leaders.

You can take that to the bank.

And if you do, be sure to find out how they’re raising up good leaders.