[This post is part of a series of posts of notes from Catalyst 2011]
Andy Stanley closed the conference by walking us through the importance of apprenticing. He challenged us to answer the question, "What is your strategy for developing leaders?" Andy pushed that not only should apprenticing be happening, but that we should be intentional about taking steps to make that happen. He defined apprenticing as selecting, modeling, and coaching for the purpose of replacing yourself.
In the New Testament we see apprenticing happening practically in the lives of the disciples. Jesus began his ministry with succession in mind. From the very beginning he had a plan in place to find disciples and coach them so they could lead the Church after he would be gone. When Jesus went about apprenticing, he personally selected those who would lead his mission. He didn't begin by asking for volunteers, but he handpicked those he wanted. As Jesus lived, he modeled how the disciples should live. The disciples were able to get firsthand experience of doing ministry because Jesus rarely did ministry alone and he even gave the disciples opportunities to do ministry on their own.
There are two "buts" that often hold us back when we want to apprentice. First, we say "but I'm not an expert." The problem with this is that if you wait, you will never do it. You will never feel adaquately prepared to apprentice another leader, and if you do feel adaquately prepared you are probably not prepared. You are not responsible for knowing everything about your field or knowing more than everyone else in your field. You are responsible for passing along to someone else what you do know. The second "but" we get held up on is, "But what will I do?" If you are in a healty organization, even if you replace yourself, you will always have a place. If you aren't in a healthy organization...get out.
This session was probably my favorite session at the conference. There were a lot more tips that Andy shared throughout the session, I'd highly recommend checking out the DVD and watching it.