The ‘tap on the shoulder’ and how God uses us to raise up gospel workers

The ‘tap on the shoulder’ and how God uses us to raise up gospel workers

Who is most influential to someone deciding to participate in a ministry apprenticeship? 

This is a question we at MTS commissioned research on in 2011, and it came back with a resounding result.

45% of apprentices surveyed said their minister or another senior church leader had the most influence on their decision. 

This was followed by varying percentages of apprentices in their church or uni ministry, mentors, Christian friends and other influencing parties. 

These conversations between maturing Christians and their mentors and friends is what we call the ‘tap on the shoulder’, where someone wise and trusted prompts another Christian to seriously consider doing a ministry apprenticeship. 

So how do you best ‘tap someone on the shoulder’ for a ministry apprenticeship?

Start with the vision of the Church

God’s Word is clear: the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Who then will the workers be? Who will take the life-saving good news of Christ to the lost? Share this vision of the global Church, but also share the vision of your local church. What vision does your church have to reach the lost and grow God’s people?

Explain your promise of sowing into them

When you ‘tap someone on the shoulder’, you’re not just signing them up to work alone. You’re encouraging them to come and work alongside you (or another mentor/trainer). So tell them what you’re promising to sow into them, and into their family. How will you help them to grow as a disciple and in their skills? How will you walk alongside them and encourage them?

Tell them why you’d think they’d be good at it

You’ve seen something in this person – character, conviction and competency that you see worth in cultivating and growing – so tell them what it is! Never underestimate encouraging someone in their God-given talents, they likely haven’t seen it in themselves and feel ill-equipped to the task you’re asking them to step up for.

Highlight what role they could play

Be specific about how apprentices take part in the work of the vision of the church. You might have a very clear program for apprentices in your church or ministry, or it might be unique to each individual apprentice. Either way, it’s important to highlight how this person will be involved so they can see their place.

Create good conditions for conversation

Be considerate of where and how you have the conversation. Choose somewhere nice and comfortable, like a favourite coffee shop, don’t just overload them after church one evening while they’re packing up chairs or running out the door. 

Lastly, pray earnestly that God might shape their steps for his will. 

If you’re looking for more help with starting apprentices in your church, visit our resources page.