This is Part 2 in our series Learning Environments for Apostolic Apprentices.
Three Important Environments for Apostolic Apprentices
As we have trained apostolic apprentices over the years, we have seen three invaluable environments where learning must occur. In our apprentice training we try to give each apprentice substantial time in any of these environments that they have not experienced previously. We realize that they will learn much more than we can teach by being immersed in these environments.
1. Home fellowships (organic communities)
The most important environment for an apprentice to be immersed in is the kind of Kingdom community they are going to try to plant. When we began with our first apprentices we were planting home fellowship, so each apprentice actually became a functioning part of such a community. For most, the environment was so strange that they had quite a bit of difficulty adjusting.
Many of our home fellowships were in immigrant communities where the reading and educational level was very low. For these apprentices, who for the most part had at least a university education and in many cases grad school as well, it was quite a challenge to learn how to relate to these non-readers. In many cases, the apprentices became quite critical of the home fellowship model. We explained that every model of church has its flaws and the home fellowships are no different. Indeed, if the apprentices became too enamoured with the model we would try to expose them to a fellowship going through difficulties so they could learn the weaknesses first hand. But normally, given enough time, each house fellowship went through difficult times and the apprentices were able to see the bad and the ugly as well as the strengths.
Lately we have been exploring Kingdom communities which are more fluid than house churches—like Kingdom communities amongst the homeless (hence no house available!), communities meeting in micro-breweries, professional athletic teams, movie sets, etc., where the time span of the community may be short, or the membership may be much more fluid than in a home fellowship. Each of these environments offers benefits and challenges for building Kingdom communities. The only way to find out these benefits and challenges is to be immersed in them….
…In our next posts we will discuss the other two critical learning environments:
1. Apostolic teams planting Kingdom communities
2. Living within the context of the germinating new community