I looked around my living room knowing I needed to select an apprentice for my small group but, Who? Who was ready? Who was willing? After praying, surprisingly God seemed to indicate that Roger should be the one. Others in the group had more natural leadership abilities, charisma and tenure as a Christian but there was just something special about Roger’s spirit. I spent the next few months working with him, giving him opportunities to lead, offering him feedback and encouragement. As I elevated him in front of the group he gained confidence. In time he began to hone his leadership skills and before I knew it he had a group of his own that was thriving. I have to admit he was really bad those first couple of months and I questioned my decision but eventually he became one of the best leaders in our church.
Have you ever found yourself looking around your small group wondering, “How do I know who to choose?” Too often we put off the decision and just wait until we find a readymade leader. But the truth is God wants to use you to identify and shape a potential leader. When it comes time to choose an apprentice I use two filtering questions.
First, is there a strong hunger to grow?
A principle I like to share with small group leaders is: growing people, grow people. If someone is growing in their walk with Christ they will be talking about it and there will be undeniable evidenced in their walk. When others get around them they can’t help but be influenced by them. So look for someone who you see growing in their faith.
Second, do they have influence with people?
In Roger’s case people liked him, they listened to him, and they had a respect for him. He wasn’t a good discussion leader and he didn’t know the Bible very well, but people respected him enough that they were patient as he developed.
Do you have an apprentice in your group? If not, my guess is God has placed someone in your group He wants you to identify, recruit and invest in.