The method of training people in a trade or art through mentoring—called “apprenticeship”—is not as prevalent as it once was. According to Wikipedia, the formal system of apprenticeship first developed in the Middle Ages when a master craftsman employed young people in exchange for providing food, lodging, and formal training in the craft.
Long before the Middle Ages, Jesus invested in the lives of the next generation through the apprenticeship model. He spent regular time with a handful of people, both individually and in groups, imparting and modeling lessons on living life to its fullest.
We call these His disciples; the original Greek word, mathetes, means student, follower, or learner. Jesus encouraged His disciples to make still more disciples (Matthew 28:19). The idea is: “Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life.”
Many churches and organizations boast discipleship programs. But discipleship and disciplemaking are only a shadow of their true self when they exist in programs and curriculum. True discipling is experienced through life-on-life encounters as we pass along and model the Jesus-life to others. We live as true followers of Jesus when we consider ourselves learners under His teaching. And we are called to help others because, as a good friend says, “A leader is someone a step ahead and headed in the right direction.”
Is there someone in your life who could use a spiritual apprenticeship?