You’re a Star Wars fan too? Wookie! Time for a pop quiz.
QN: What’s the relation between the following pairs?
1. Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi
2. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker
3. Darth Sidious and Darth Maul
4. Count Dooku and General Grievous
Okay? What’s their relationship?
Answer: Jedi Master and Padawan. Or rather, teacher and student.
Mace Windu : There is no doubt. The mysterious warrior was a Sith.
Yoda : Always two there are….no more…no less.A master and an apprentice.
For the unfamiliar, a Padawan is an apprentice who learns from the Jedi Master the skills needed to achieve mastery of the force. Once the Padawan has passed a test, they are promoted to Jedi Knight/Master and can take on their own Padawan.
This Apprentice Model came to my mind during a lunch chat. It seemed almost like coincidental. Almost, because we know that nothing happens by chance. Everything that happens is by “divine” coincidence.
Back to the story. Me and my brother Sean were sitting at a table for lunch and an elderly man brought his food tray next to me. I helped him as his hands shook. Helping people is my sort of thing. Thankfully, it didn’t stop there. Sean recognised him as a retired Methodist bishop! We just saw his photo on a church mural.
We started chatting and he told us that while he was in charge of a church more than 30 years ago (I wasn’t born yet), it became the fastest growing church. It grew from 300 to around a thousand members. Unfortunately, he was called to be bishop and had to abandon some expansion plans. He then told us the two secrets of explosive growth. I’m going to share it with you so keep it a secret okay?
1. The power of small groups
2. Training up leaders using apprentice model, a.k.a Jedi model
Small Groups Model has been adopted by several churches to great success, notably North Point Community Church by Andy Stanley. He has a book about small groups namely Creating Community. But guess what? The idea was 30 years old already.
Now about using the Apprentice Model. The ex-bishop stopped eating his pork rib rice and said, “The pastor has an apprentice that helps him run the service. Then after some time, the congregation splits and the once apprentice becomes the pastor of the new service or church. He takes his own apprentice and the process continues.”
As you can see, there is a multiplication effect as the church increases regularly in size. It is an excellent model. Amazingly, Jesus didn’t train one apprentice but 12 disciples. We’re not Jesus and so we keep it simple. Paul probably invested his life in only a few leaders: Timothy, Titus, Silas, Mark. Without training new leaders, you’ll be stuck doing everything by yourself. Growth will be hindered and the work stopped when you eventually stop.