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We need more apprentices

Our chief job as parents is to disciple our kids. Academics, sports, extracurricular activities – all are secondary to the task of passing a living faith on to our children. We may subcontract the job out to youth pastors, but too many of them are transient and inexperienced. At the end of the da…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Our chief job as parents is to disciple our kids. Academics, sports, extracurricular activities – all are secondary to the task of passing a living faith on to our children. We may subcontract the job out to youth pastors, but too many of them are transient and inexperienced. At the end of the day, we may feel ill-equipped, but we can’t afford to go AWOL.
 
Yes, it’s overwhelming. Information is growing at a rate of 66% a year. If information doubles at the same rate for the next 20 years, we will
have more than one million times the amount of information we have today.
 
We live in a complex world – specialization is a given. Doctors, for example, go to school, then become interns, then become residents – they become expert through a series of extended apprenticeships.
 
Mastery in any discipline increasingly requires hands-on learning. So wouldn’t you expect this principle to hold true in the spiritual realm as well? If we struggle to become disciples of Jesus, it would be nice to have a model to imitate.
 
We don’t need the sterile environment of a classroom where the mind is tested by the spirit is not. Rather, we need the friction of the real world if we are to grow as disciples. Our western model of training our Christian leaders is broken.
 
Paul Martin, a thinking man’s youth minister, wrote this blog post on the subject:
Why is it that to practice medicine you have to do a residence and
internship, but not in ministry? I understand that in medicine there are
practical bits of knowledge that can only be learned while practicing.
The difference in ministry and medicine becomes minuscule when  talking
about practices.

This is the failure of discipleship. In medicine, you have to serve
your time practicing. Most churches would rather have someone who has
studied at a seminary though. They first look at the credentials of a
seminary rather than skills practiced while serving a local church.
Discipleship is the context where praxis happens. It’s a deliberate
sharing of skills that will be used throughout the rest of a ministry
life.

Those of you who are considering seminary listen carefully. The
knowledge you gain while studying is only useful if you understand how
to use it in the kingdom.
So, where to start if you’ve never had someone invite you to walk alongside them through life? Just recognizing what a priority it should be is a start. Pray into it. And maybe consider doing what Lauren, a new Christian, did. She walked into the church pastor’s office and said, “I need to be discipled. Who in this church can do that for me?”

Comments (3)

  • Thanks again Seth. Practical. Effective. Discipleship requires significant time, hard work, and ample amounts of love.

  • Great ideas! As a young twenty-something I have trouble realizing how all my heard knowledge from school actually fits into real world action. It’s a tough season to wade through and apprenticeships greatly help that navigation.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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