I enjoy the show Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel. If you have never seen the show the two stars, along with the rest of the cast, work to prove or disprove a myth. It generally involves the science behind the myth busting, a scale model and hopeful for me an explosion. Coffee Creamer Fireball is one of my favorites by the way.
If you are a regular reader of this blog you will also know that I enjoy Mark Howell's blog call MarkHowellLive.com Well, when Mark wrote about small group myth busting I was hooked. I knew in my heart there would be no explosion, but I still felt it worth reading.
So imagine my shock when in 5 Small Group Ministry Myths that Need Busting myth number one was -
- An important key to growing the number of groups in your small group ministry is for every leader to have an apprentice.
It was time for a little bit of soul searching. Was Mark Howell's group science correct? Had I been leading Sunday School/Biblical Community in the wrong direction? Maybe there was going to be an explosion after all. Take some time to read Mark Howell's thoughts and you will discover that his science is correct. Most of the time apprentices do turn out to be co-teachers. I knew that.
If the slow growth Meta Church Model apprenticing can work and does work. I believe where most churches are today, step one is apprenticing leaders. Given the age of most current church leadership - simple apprentice/replacement is a good starting point.
I agree with Mr. Howell, that the apprentice model cannot keep pace if you are in a rapidly growing community. Oh, wait that describes FBCRR community. A different growth model will have to be deployed if a church wants to match or exceed community growth. More on that at a later date.
I do believe that moving from a no growth Adult Small Group System, that uses strong arm replacement for leaderless units, to a slow growth apprentice leader model is a good first step. It also allows for the church to have time to shift gears in going from an inward focused fellowship driven church to more of a mind set that we can grow and a theoretical doubling is possible every couple of years.
This is what I have observed is that the lone apprentice start is most likely to fail. In using the apprentice to start model a small team must also be apprenticed that can form the base of a new unit. So I guess the myth is busted if you want rapid growth, kingdom expansion kind of growth. However as a methodology to move from decline to growth it is a proven method and is effective if a core team is apprenticed.
Something to think about....