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March 1, 2016

The 5 Steps of Apprenticeship

by Matt Ulrich


One of the most important elements of microchurch leadership is unfortunately one that gets overlooked the most often. Microchurch leaders are sometimes so busy putting out urgent fires that they lose sight of the importance of raising up and releasing apprentices. But we need to maintain the forward thinking, 2nd Timothy 2:2 vision of raising up and releasing disciple makers and microchurch leaders!!


In order to help you with that, here is a great concept from the book Exponential by Dave Ferguson that we modified to help microchurch leaders see the practical steps of apprenticeship:


  1. I Do. You Watch. We Talk. As an experienced microchurch leader leads, an apprentice takes time to observe him or her leading. That evening or within a few days, the two should meet to discuss what the apprentice has observed. This debriefing time should include three simple questions: What worked? What didn’t work? How can we improve? This time of debriefing needs to continue throughout the process!


  1. I Do. You Help. We Talk. In this phase of development, the microchurch leader gives the apprentice an opportunity to help lead in a particular area of microchurch. An example of this would be the microchurch leader inviting the apprentice into his/her time of teaching preparation for the teaching that week at MC and to then allow the apprentice to help lead that discussion the night of.  Again, this experience should be followed up with a one-on-one to talk.


  1. You Do. I Help. We Talk. Now the apprentice transitions from supporting or helping the leader to taking on a bulk of the leadership responsibilities of the group. For example, a microchurch leader might ask his/her apprentice to lead the prayer, worship, and Holy Spirit time while the microchurch leader leads the discussion and the remainder of the microchurch. The leader now begins releasing responsibilities to the new, developing apprentice. As in the previous steps, the leader and apprentice leader should meet regularly to debrief the ministry experience.


  1. You Do. I Watch. We Talk. The apprentice process is almost complete as the new leader grows increasingly more confident in his or her role. At this point the apprentice should be confident in all areas of MC leadership and had a chance to lead and fulfill all of these areas, with the MC leader now looking on and watching the apprentice in action.


  1. You Do. Someone Else Watches. This is where the process comes full circle. The former apprentice is now leading and begins developing a new apprentice. Ideally, the leader who has developed and released several apprentices will continue to work with those leaders in a coaching capacity.


If you can successfully walk someone through this process, they will be equipped and ready to lead a microchurch!


So who is on your radar?

Where is your apprentice in the five step process or training and releasing?



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