Andy Stanley at Catalyst (Session 2)

I think this is one of the most important things as it relates to leadership, especially as it relates to church leadership. And it’s overlooked because it’s intimidating. And the younger you are the more intimidating it is to you.

It’s something that the last generation of Church leaders and maybe the current generation of Church leader hasn’t done very well./Je

The Church is the hope of the world.

Pop Quiz

Luke 5 – How did Matthew get to be one of Jesus’ disciples? Jesus selected him.

Luke 6 – Jesus calls his disciples to him and chooses the apostles. So how did the rest of them get to be apostles? Jesus selected them.

Some of you would be tempted to say, “That’s not fair.” But I think Jesus would have said, “That’s not fair.”

If we’re not careful, we’re going to make the same mistake the previous generation did.

I want to talk about the word apprenticing.

We started North Point Church several years ago, and we spent hours and hours and hours talking about what the values of our church would be. We asked what our strategy would be for developing leaders.

The single focused strategy for developing leaders in our congregation is “intentional apprenticing.”

You can be an accidental apprentice, but our whole leadership strategy was going to be intentional apprenticing.

  1. Defining terms.
    1. Apprenticing: Selecting, modeling, and coaching for the purpose of replacing yourself.
      It is that first word we have the most problem with.
    2. It seems unfair. And even among the 12 there were the three, and there had to be times when they said, that’s not fair.

    3. The New Testament Term is discipleship.
  2. Jesus’ Approach
    1. He began with succession in mind.
      We wait too long. We think “I’m 25, I can’t think about apprenticing.” And then we’re 35 then 45, then 65, and we’re tired.
    2. He handpicked those to whom he would entrust his ministry. He didn’t ask for volunteers.
      We think in terms of classes and training. He didn’t think in terms of volunteers at this level. Obviously there’s a place for that, but there has to come a point where we decide there are people we will spend more time with.
    3. He rarely did ministry alone. But…
    4. He gave his disciples opportunities to do ministry alone while he was still around to debrief.

      Jesus decided he wanted to be around to see it work without him. Even if you started the church, you’re not going to be around forever. Someday, someone is going to take your place, your job. Most people say, “No, I’m not going to be around.”

      That’s a perfectly good answer in the marketplace, but not in the church. If Jesus did it, I think that’s something we should pay attention to.

      Churches almost always ignore this principle. W’ere too busy to apprentice. We’re too insecure to apprentice. And when you’re young, you think the people who are younger than you are too young to do what you do.

      And we completely miss the idea of handing off what was handed to us in better shape than it was handed to us.

      We do lots of training. We do lots of leadership training, but this is different. This is, “I want you, and you and you, and I don’t want the rest of you.”

      This is not a talk about succession planning. Jesus picked his successors. He only had three years, and he was the son of God. I’m not finding the next person to have your actual job. I’m talking about being intentional about pouring into the leaders coming along behind you.

      At every point along the way, if you are a professional church person, your responsibility and my responsibility is to look behind us and point to specific people and pour into them, not because some day they will have my job but because at some point they will be in a similar place.

  3. But Removal

    1. But I’m not an expert.

      This is what kills apprenticing. If you wait until you feel like you’re an expert, you will never, ever do this.

      If you ever get to a point you feel thoroughly equipped, you’re arrogant. Leaders are constantly learning, and if you’re constantly learning, you’re always aware of what you don’t know. There’s something on the inside of you that says you are not ready.

      1. You will never, never, never feel like you are adequately prepared to apprentice another leader.

        Which means if you are in this room and feel that way, you are prepared. If you wait until you feel like you’re ready, you will never, ever do it.

      2. You are not responsible for the following
        1. Knowing everything there is to know about your field.
        2. Knowing more than everybody else in your field.

        This is where we get hung up.

        This is what the current generation hasn’t done for some of you.

      3. You are responsible for passing along what you know to somebody else.

        Your responsibility is to empty your cup. We think our responsibility is to fill someone else’s cup. You’re not that good.

    2. But what will I do?

      If they become as good as I am or better than I am (which is actually the goal), what am I going to do?

      1. In a healthy organization, if you replace yourself, you will always have a place.

        Do you know how it lights me up as a leader and pastor when someone pours themselves out to the point that their apprentices can replace them.

      2. In an unhealthy organization… Why would you stay in an unhealthy organization?

        If you’re worried about being kicked out if you pour into someone who replaces you, put your resume out.

  4. Two Outcomes
    1. You’ll be a multi-site leader.

      Suddenly your impact will be felt in new places.

      We started group crazy. We spent tons of money on it.

      People are always volunteering to be in my small group. I handpicked people and said, “This is what a small group is supposed to be like.”

      And then after 8-12 months we helped them form their own groups.

      It’s amazing to see how many of those leaders that we apprenticed are now leaders in community groups at our church.

      The same with our communicators. I love meeting with our communicators. I love pouring into them. When they’re preaching, it’s like I’m preaching at 3-4 locations without the use of video screens.

    2. You become a multi-generational leader.

      You know why our churches are so full of old people? Nothing against old people. I want to be one. Old people complain there are no young people. The problem is they wouldn’t let young people do anything. You know why? Because they’re not ready. Well whose supposed to make them ready.

      Anytime someone blames the next generation, they’ve abdicated leadership.

      We have three teenagers. The best thing we’ve ever done in our church is a program called Student Impact. It allows 6th graders to volunteer in a children’s small group. The great thing about 6th graders is that no one has told them they can’t do it. No one has told them they’re not an expert. When you put them in a circle with children, they don’t know any better but to show up and lead a small group. When the little kids are promoted, we just promote the middle schoolers with them, and suddenly they have a relationship with those kids. And our high school students help lead the middle school groups. And they haven’t been told they’re not mature enough. Last year 101 students in high school left our student ministry who had been with their kids in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade because no one told them they couldn’t do it. And now the first thing they do is go off to college, find a church, and want a group.

      You know what we’re teaching high school kids in our church, it doesn’t matter how old, mature, or smart you are, if you are one step ahead, you have something to offer.

      I am overwhelmed.

      My mom is over for dinner one Saturday, and she has a medical emergency, and I’m not preaching the next day. So we decided I’m not going to church the next day. So my kids get dressed for church and tell us they’re going because they have to lead their small groups. I looked at Sandra, and said, I love my church. Don’t tell them they’re not ready.

      I don’t have to be an expert, and I don’t have to know everything.

  5. Application

    There is no curriculum. If there’s a curriculum, it’s not apprenticing. It’s a class.

    You don’t even have to tell someone you’re apprenticing them, it’s often a bad idea.

    1. Hire for the future

      hire young, and hire smart. You need to hire people who are smarter than you, who might intimidate you a little bit, who will blow past you in no time, because the Church is worth it.

    2. Don’t work alone.

      This is almost the whole thing. This is incredibly important.

      Invite people to participate with you in tasks that are part of your job description even if they don’t work in your department or don’t share your job description. Just make sure whenever possible you don’t work alone.

      If you’re interviewing someone, don’t interview them alone. Invite someone younger. It doesn’t matter if you’re not good at it. You don’t want to expose your weakness and insecurity.

      This generation is afraid of engaging in the local church, because we’ve made it big and spooky.

      Don’t budget alone. Invite someone into that. Find the brightest person.

      Don’t produce alone, plan alone, design alone, create alone. Do things alone as little as possible. Invite people in.

      This is where preferential treatment is preferred. You can’t do this with the whole church.

      I have a friend Tim who is a federal judge. A federal judge is like a mini-God. I went to lunch with him the other day and walked into his office. There are these three twenty-somethings in his office sitting on the couch with notepads. He’s talking to these attorneys who are about to bring a case before him. And there’s a stenographer taking notes. So he finishes up, spins around, and asks the kids on the couch what they learned. They’re interns.

      In the church, here’s how we do it. We send them outside and whisper to each other.

      I bet there are opportunities to pour into the lives of your staff and the people around you because we work alone.

    3. Remember your MEDs
      1. Model – Here’s what I do.

        Show them what you do. It may not be the best way. They may have a thousand other ideas.

      2. Explain – Here’s why I do it.
      3. Demonstrate – Here’s how I do it.

    Here’s your assignment, it’s simple: Replace yourself.

    Who’s the sharpest young leader on your staff? What could you begin doing to empty your cup into theirs? You look at them and know they’re sharp. What can you begin to do now? You don’t need to set up any formal relationship. What can you begin to do now to pour into their lives.

    Success is not measured by how capable you are at handling your responsibilities. Success is measured by whether or not you leave your responsibilities in capable hands.

    Someday, somebody is going to be doing what you’re doing. Wouldn’t it be fun to be around to see it?

    Leave the next generation more equipped than you are.

Posted at 1:20 PM on October 8th, 2011
More in Faith, Leadership
Priscilla Shirer at Catalyst

Priscilla Shirer is a wife and mom first, but put a Bible in her hand and a message in her...