The Master/Protégé Model
My friend Chris is a master woodworker. He builds custom cabinetry, high-end electronics boxes, and tables that are works of art. A table made by Chris might cost ten times more than one at Target, but when was the last time you saw a Target table in an art show? I would love to be as amazing with a saw and a plane as Chris, but I haven’t spent the hours upon hours – years upon years – developing the skill he has. If I wanted to be a master woodworker like him no amount of spectating will get me there. If I was to have any hope of building anything with even a fraction of the beauty, integrity, or functionality of his work I would need to spend an incredible amount of time alongside him, studying him, and being corrected and encouraged by him. That’s what Jesus did, isn’t it? He took common men and women from varied backgrounds and transformed them into world changers with his own bare hands. Yes, there were times when he addressed the crowds, but his primary ministry focus was as the master to 12 protégés and a slightly larger circle of friends. Then those disciples did the same. Being in a large group can be exciting. Hearing a great speaker can be inspiring. But no pastor can effectively mentor thousands of people alone. If the modern church was to find a way to embrace the master / protégé model that Jesus lived, and to put the large-scale values of industrialism in their proper place and perspective, we might see a more effective, wise, skilled, and compassionate Church growing around us.