Habit#11 – Serve Sacrificially.

I love seeing the term ‘apprentices’ being used in schools and churches. It conjures up such a special picture of learning, growth and mastery coupled with guidance and support.

Fiona Hammond wrote a fabulous article, “Apprentices who love their work” for the Generations Together website.

I then received an update from Max7 (an absolutely essential resource for RE teachers!) and it was about ‘Mentoring Apprentices – Unlocking Assets. A Toolkit of Ideas from East Africa.’ This ‘Toolkit’ is a wonderful resource for anyone looking at ways to foster leadership in young people.

“The Biblical model for raising up disciple-makers is a relational, apprentice model. Jesus invited His disciples to live with Him and learn from Him. Along the way, He taught them intentionally, modelled the Kingdom life and equipped them as disciple makers. Their learning experience was rich and their lives were transformed.”

This ‘Toolkit’ asserts that in the African context, skills and character are transferred best in an apprentice model. I think there is a great deal that we as educators can take from this model and use in our schools as we strive to foster character and develop leadership skills in our students. In particular, I think we could use this idea of ‘apprentices’ in the context of Habits of Heart. The Habits of Heart encourage us to ‘Serve Sacrificially’.  I think that taking time to mentor others fits in well as a Habit of Heart. Serving sacrificially is about being willing to give up time, resources and status to serve others. As teachers, we can look at mentoring students, but we can also equip students to become mentors as well.

The ‘Toolkit’ suggests that it is important to identify potential ‘apprentices’ and that the most important thing to look for is character. Other traits to consider are chemistry, commitment and competence.

To help the apprentice develop skills, there is a step by step framework. This diagram is from the Toolkit.

I saw a wonderful example of developing apprentices at St John’s Anglican College this week at their Prayer Spaces.

The Rev Susan Crothers-Robertson has been running Prayer Spaces for 4 years at the school, so her students are very familiar with the process. The Prayer Spaces I visited this week had been developed and designed by the Year 12 students for use by all the other students in the school. It was an absolute delight to see the students’ creative and innovative work. What an outstanding way for a teacher or a Chaplain to mentor their apprentices who in turn, will mentor younger students. This is one way of living out the Habits of Heart in action. If you are looking for a way to encourage leadership in your schools or foster sacrificial serving, perhaps developing Prayer Spaces could prove to have wide reaching and positive effects in your school community. If you haven’t yet used Prayer Spaces in your school then take time to have a look at their amazing website!