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Empower An Apprentice


Do you want to experience life more fully than you are today? Find your calling and apprentice someone to come alongside you as you live it.

We are so autonomous today. We are so distracted by our smart phones and social media. I bet there is a place deep in your heart that screams, “You will find life through sharing what you’ve learned with others.” I pray that is not just me. Imagine if every member at CGLCS identified and acted on this internal heart scream.

The mission of the church is to make disciples. (Matthew 28:19) Almost every Christian knows this. Yet, making disciples often sounds so complex. We rationalize, “Well, maybe disciple making is only for the professionals. I don’t have the right words. I don’t have the right education. I have never been discipled. I don’t know what it looks like.”

Let us confess our collective discipleship scarcity mindset. Let us confess we forget that the One who lives within us is stronger than the one who lives in the world. Let us confess we need a new lens to view the life and ministry of Jesus. Let us confess we need help to demystify discipleship.

Let me share the “3D Journey of Discipleship.” Disclaimer: this has not been formally adopted by our leadership staff. It certainly may be in the future. The staff knows I love alliteration. The “3D Journey of Discipleship” can be utilized in the church, boardroom and businesses.

  1. DISCOVER: Leaders are always looking to disciple other leaders. Leaders know they are replaceable. Leaders know they will not be ultimately judged by what they do, but by who they discover, develop and deploy. Jesus is our ultimate example. He discovered and called His disciples to follow him, learn from Him, and live like him.
  2. DEVELOP: Leaders ask good questions of those they discover. Questions display what the apprentice needs to work on. If you read Luke 9 and 10 you will discover that Jesus had a simple four-fold plan for developing leaders.
    “I do - you watch.”
    “I do - you help.”
    “I help - you do.”
    “I watch - you do.”

    This is the plan we utilize to develop all of our vicars (student pastors) at CGLCS. We recently had an epiphany. Better late than never. Imagine if every leader at every level of ministry (paid and non-paid) at CGLCS had a “vicar”? Everyone needs a “vicar.” There would never be an urgent call for volunteers. Actually, the term “volunteer” is found nowhere in the Bible. The church does not simply need volunteers - we need passionate believers who have found their calling within and outside the walls of the church. Leaders develop leaders. We are all replaceable. The mission of Jesus is preeminent.
  3. DEPLOY: Leaders deploy their apprentices. They release them. They do not control  them. They set wide boundaries for their apprentices and they say, “Go. As you’ve seen me do - do. I trust you. Better yet, I trust the Holy Spirit who lives inside you.” This does not mean you totally disconnect from your deployed leader. If you’ve apprenticed them well they will realize that they’ll always need help.There is always more to learn.  Expect consistent calls, texts and emails. If Jesus actually deployed and trusted His disciples to do what Jesus had done...how much more should we.

Imagine the discipleship multiplication that would occur if every leader at every level went on the “3D Discipleship Journey” with their apprentice? Our church, surrounding community, and wider Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod community would be changed.

Why do I have so much angst about leadership development?

  1. The LCMS has a leadership development pipeline problem. This was well documented in our “Gospel DNA” sermon series. We need more leaders for ministry at every level - pastor, teacher, DCE, school administrators, ect. I believe a major part of the reason the LCMS is declining is that we have neglected institutionalizing leadership development at every level in our churches and schools. No more. A new day is here.
  2. CGLCS is a leader who is, and will be, looked to by LCMS leaders to start new ministries...and train other churches to do the same. We yearn to help other churches discover, develop and deploy a leadership development apprentice model for their individual contexts.

I am passionate about leadership development. I wake up every day thinking about it. That may sound weird to you, but I never feel more alive in Jesus than when I am pouring into the lives of another.

Our Board of Directors and Elders at CGLCS are amazing leaders. They have graciously given me their blessing to take a summer sabbatical (May 21-July 29) to finish my doctoral thesis. My project is studying the “attitudinal effect of churches and leaders collaborating in mission.” I am doing a case study on two of our circuit pastors. Thank you for your prayers as I singularly focus on this effort for the summer.

You may ask, “So, who is going to run the church?” To that question I humbly answer, “Well, Jesus...just like He always has.” Pastor Jake will lead our pastoral team in caring for the spiritual needs of the congregation, Jack Kalleberg will work with our operations team to execute on-campus projects, and Tanya Calendo will work with our amazing school staff to prepare our school for the upcoming year.

As I leave for a bit I am not worried at all. We have so many leaders who have been discovered, developed and deployed at CGLCS. I pray they still think I’m needed when I come back. :) I love CGLCS!

Empower an apprentice today.