The key word in this post’s title is “greatest.” Every class needs a Sunday School teacher apprentice. The Great Commission challenges us to pursue more disciples, disciple-makers, and shepherd-teachers. When we have more teachers and classes, we are able to care for and disciple more people.
Today life is fast-paced and full. Teachers have to be away more often. As a result, teachers will burn out if they struggle to find someone to cover next Sunday’s lesson too often. In addition, a revolutionary Sunday School teacher does so much more than prepare and teach lessons. Lessons are always more effective when trust and relationships are strong through good shepherding. When a class grows beyond five people, effective care demands a team.
A key team member with the teacher is an apprentice. While the class is small, the apprentice may serve a variety of roles. The apprentice may be the class secretary, greeter, member care leader, and/or outreach leader. The teacher often simply begins apprenticing after prayer by asking, “Would you help me with…?” As the teacher observes and serves with the apprentice, teachable moments naturally occur. And serving uncovers gifts and passions in the apprentice.
Sunday School Teacher Apprentice Dead End
The teacher will provide many things: opportunities, encouragement, training, listening, coaching, motivation, and challenge. The apprentice will learn, stretch, grow, and gain competence and confidence. But too often this is as far as the teacher or the apprentice go. The apprenticing road ends here.
Push the Apprentice Out
In order to reach his or her potential, what the apprentice needs most is to be pushed out. What is the potential of the apprentice? To become a teacher. And no apprentice will reach their potential until either:
- the teacher leaves the class to start another class or
- the apprentice leaves the class to start another class.
The purpose of the training, encouraging, and challenging is to prepare the apprentice to teach and lead a class of his/her own. Anything less is a failure in apprenticing. So set a date to launch the apprentice. Call the class to pray for him/her. Coach the apprentice through preparations for and beginnings of the new class. Your push is the best thing you can do for your apprentice! Make apprentices. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!
For more information, check out Coaching a Successful Sunday School Teacher Apprentice.