If you are leading a ministry or a ministry area within a larger organization, you likely have people you oversee. These people may be paid staff or they may be volunteers, but either way it’s a useful exercise to sit down and think through how to lead these people well. After all, God did not call you just to “get stuff done,” but to make disciples. That’s true not only of those who are served by our ministries, but also holds for those who work in our ministries. They are people you  oversee and shepherd. 

assistant or apprentice

No one likes to feel used

Thinking of those you oversee as people under your care, whether that’s official or not, can go a long way toward avoiding burnout. One of the most common causes of burnout among staff and volunteers is often voiced as feeling “used,” like they are enlisted to help someone else accomplish their goals and tasks, but are not invested in personally and helped to move toward their own calling. 

Thinking of those who serve under you as people under your care, whether that’s official or not, can go a long way toward avoiding burnout. Share on X

Assistants vs. apprentices

Even the terms you use communicate a significant difference. Do you see those you oversee as your assistants, handling tasks you are too busy to do yourself? Or do you see them as apprentices, learning ministry skills and moving toward applying those in ways God calls them? 

Looks a lot like discipleship

Interestingly, apprentice is a good translation of the word disciple. It means a follower, someone who is shadowing you, imitating you, learning your skills, becoming like you. Imagine a potter and his apprentice. The apprentice learns, but also develops her own unique skills and style. Maybe the potter makes various types of bowls and jugs, but the apprentice begins specializing in vases. She is expected to become somewhat different from him, and she is also expected to someday become independent, maybe opening up her own shop. If she is an apprentice, no one assumes that she is there indefinitely to assist him with his tasks. She has her own goals and is engaging in a growth process to accomplish those goals. 

Reflect the expectation

Consider how you use terms and titles in your ministry and why. Assistant and apprentice communicate very different expectations. An assistant is someone who helps you do your work. An apprentice is someone you’re raising up to do what you do, but who will also make it their own and go on to train others. Whatever words you choose to use, be intentional.


The Leadership Difference– If you are running up against barriers that aren’t specifically theological but are more about how to lead people and get along with them as you work together, this is the book for you.

Becoming Barnabas-  How can you disciple, develop, and support those around you? How can that relational investment lead to a powerful impact on the church and on the surrounding community? This book focuses on practical “how” questions like these. If you want to see ministry coaches activated in your community, Becoming Barnabas is the place to start. Available in paperback and Kindle and in English and Spanish. If you are ready to grow a team of ministry coaches, Barnabas Ministry Training is a turn-key kit with links to video instruction from Bob Logan, Facilitator and Participant Guides.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash