Apprenticing is crucial, necessary, required, to sustain the life of Small Group ministry!!  We have been able to add new Small Groups every 6 months by using the apprenticing model.  I don’t know why God did not make 11 commandments…11. You must apprentice.  This would have made it a lot easier to start new groups, add new people to the disciple making process in the Kingdom, see many more people come to Christ.  How, you ask, would this have helped?  New groups grow faster than existing groups.  The more leaders, the more participants.  We ask each leader to grow their group by inviting others to be in their group. 

The best outline I have seen on casting this kind of vision was by Jon Ferguson on his blog.    Jon shares Dave’s “Vision Time” process in an understandable AND a reproducible way!!!  He suggests that we Invest, Inspire and Invite. Are you apprenticing?  “Who’s Next?” in your life? 

The best experience I have of seeing this lived out was by David Francis of LifeWay.  In 2002 LifeWay was undergoing a re-organization.  David had to share the vision for a totally new direction for a part of LifeWay.  He had to convince 15 people to move to different states as consultants, undergo intense training, travel at least three days a week, and report their findings back to Nashville weekly.  David spoke to 2000 people where he invested in our vision, inspired us to reach higher and invited us on a journey no one had taken before.  By then end several people had decided to take the challenge/invitation.  I spent the next three years as a consultant. 

To make this vision more clear, check out the chart on page 159 of Andy Stanley’s book Creating Community where he shows you how to impact over 1500 people in 10 years by apprenticing and multiplying.  Although it is not one of the 10 commandments, why not give it a try?