by Bob Whitesel Ph.D., excerpted from Spiritual Waypoints: Helping Others Navigate the Journey (Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2010), pp. 196-197.
(In other postings I’ve discussed “Mentoring” and “Formal Training” for church leaders. For more on this topic see these postings which are also excerpted from Spiritual Waypoints: Helping Others Navigate the Journey).
Apprenticeship, on the other hand, is more focused action than mentoring. Apprenticeship means focusing on one specific job. For example, a Sunday School teacher might recruit an ―apprentice‖ and groom them to be their replacement. To foster apprenticeship, there are also two fundamental rules to follow.
Require job descriptions for all professional and lay positions. Job descriptions should include:
- The number of hours customarily required each week to adequately undertake these duties.
- The leadership hierarchal structure, i.e. to whom the leader reports and those individuals the leader oversees.
- A detailed description of the task, including paragraph long examples describing: exceptional work, adequate work, and unacceptable work.
- A reminder that an updated version of the job description is required to be submitted when a person resigns from a job.
Require a designated apprentice for all jobs. In today‘s fluid and flexible culture, jobs will change and workers will depart. Thus, for continuity it is necessary for all leaders to train their replacement, even if the leader does not intend to leave in the foreseeable future. Thus, an apprenticeship strategy should:
- Be required throughout an organization, and thus be acknowledged by those who are being led, as well as by all leaders.
- Allow the apprentice to lead (under the supervision of the leader) at least 25 percent of the time.
- Allow the apprentice to attend and receive the same training as the senior leader.