Mentoring, Apprenticing, and Coaching for Revolutionary Sunday School

Wednesday 30th August, 2006

Revolutionary Sunday School cannot afford to "recreate the wheel." Why waste time and energy remaking the mistakes that others have made before us? We must learn from the life and example of others in order to have the most impact during the time we have on earth! On the other hand, those who have life experiences to share must take the lead and not wait for others to seek us out. We must be proactive rather than reactive.

In order to understand what I am talking about, let me explain my understanding of the difference between the three terms:  mentoring, apprenticing, and coaching. Each requires listening, observation, evaluation, asking questions, and encouragement.

(1) MENTORING is focused upon helping an individual Christian grow from believer to follower to disciple to discipler. Mentoring takes new believers and helps them put solid spiritual disciplines in place. These disciplines include: abide in Christ, live in the Word, pray in faith, fellowship with believers, witness to the world, and minister to others (see LifeWay's resource, The Call to Follow Christ:  Six Disciplines for New and Growing Believers, by Claude King, for more details). Mentoring helps a Christian grow in practicing the fruit of the Spirit and becoming more like Jesus. To summarize, mentoring is a one-on-one relationship designed to help the a Christian to grow in Christ. Every new Christian in revolutionary Sunday School needs a mentor, but all of us would benefit from the investment of a mentor in our lives.

(2) APPRENTICING is focused upon intentional leadership multiplication. Usually this is done best one-on-one. The apprenticing leader is seeking to accomplish one of two tasks: (a) replace himself/herself as a leader in order to move on to new challenges or (b) train a new individual in a similar area of responsibility, such as in teaching a new Sunday School class. The apprenticing leader realizes that the best way to learn how to do a task is through hands-on experience with debriefing. Revolutionary Sunday School needs every teacher to apprentice a new teacher.

(3) COACHING is focused upon leadership effectiveness--having the most impact, making the most difference, and accomplishing as much as possible. Coaching can be done one-on-one or one-on-small group (2-4). The coach tries to bring out the best in those he/she coaches, including making the most of his/her personality, spiritual gifts, passion, experiences, and abilities. Coaching helps individuals make adjustments in leadership, keeps passion for that ministry area alive, and intentionally reflects on past and future leadership. Revolutionary Sunday School cannot be mediocre, and so it demands coaching in order to make the most life-changing, Kingdom-impacting difference.

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Are you ready to do what it takes to bring about revolutionary Sunday School? What are your experiences with mentoring, apprenticing, and coaching? Who has worked with you? With whom have you worked? How has your life been changed? Do you have alternate definitions of the three terms? Share your thoughts by pressing the comments button below.

For more ideas about coaching, check out these blog posts:

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