Eric Metcalf: What to Look For in an Apprentice

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You can't drive a car without wheels, without an engine, or without gasoline. You can't bake a cake without flour or eggs (not a good one anyway). You can't eat a true Chicago hot dog without onions, mustard, and relish. Many of these items are “must-haves” in order for them to be complete. They are essentials. 
 
Think about the must-haves in your ministry. Is it biblical knowledge? The gift of leadership or teaching? A strong devotional life? Maybe he or she needs to be able to recite the books of the Bible backwards and forwards in Latin? :) These must-haves often come with a conviction from God combined with some real life experience for us to develop.

I recently read Patrick Lencioni’s The Ideal Team Player, a fantastic book presenting what he believes are the top three characteristics of a solid team player. What are those three characteristics? Hungry, Humble and Smart. Hungry = motivated to grow. Humble = open to input of others. Smart = works well with others. These qualities also translate well to team players in ministry. What must-haves should you look for when choosing an apprentice?

Hungry = Spiritual Velocity

The apprentice must have a Jesus-centered life. Not a life of perfection, but passionate commitment to following Jesus. A Jesus-centered life will be a life impacted in all areas: relationships, finances, schedule, behind closed doors, etc.  

Smart = Relational Intelligence

Relational intelligence is the basic understanding that an apprentice has that people matter to God, and they need to matter to us. A person with relational intelligence has the knack for seeing the best in people. They're not oblivious to people’s growth areas, like some sort of blind optimism. Instead, they possess a keen ability to see greatness in someone.

Humble = Teachability

Teachability = humility + application. A person has to be truly willing to accept feedback in order to be developed (humility), AND they need to be willing to do the harder work of applying to create change in his/her character and/or behaviors. In fact, the entire apprenticeship concept is based upon teachability; the process or role can't exist without it. If a person is teachable he/she must be willing to be affirmed, accept feedback gracefully, and be willing to change how they do things. This teachability needs to be coupled with trust, and we are responsible as leaders to develop that. If an apprentice trusts us as leaders, he/she will be much more open to being apprenticed by us.

If you have a team of apprentices who are passionately pursuing Jesus, doing everything they can to serve those around them, growing as they go, you will have an unstoppable to team for Jesus.