As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17

In the realm of personal and professional development, the concepts of apprenticeship in the workplace and Christian discipleship may seem worlds apart. However, upon closer examination, striking parallels emerge, revealing profound insights into the nature of learning, mentorship, and spiritual growth. Both apprenticeship and discipleship offer invaluable frameworks for cultivating knowledge, skills, and character, guided by principles that transcend the boundaries of vocation and faith.

At the heart of both apprenticeship and discipleship lies the transformative power of mentorship. In the workplace, apprenticeship involves the transfer of knowledge and expertise from experienced professionals to novices through hands-on training and guidance. Similarly, Christian discipleship entails the nurturing of spiritual growth and maturity through the mentorship of seasoned believers who impart wisdom, encouragement, and accountability to those who are new to the faith.

Scripture abounds with references to the importance of mentorship and discipleship in nurturing growth and wisdom. Proverbs 27:17 declares, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another," emphasizing the role of mutual edification and accountability in both professional and spiritual contexts. Just as a skilled artisan guides the hand of an apprentice in refining their craft, so too does a seasoned disciple walk alongside a fellow believer, offering guidance, support, and encouragement on the journey of faith (2 Timothy 2:2).

Moreover, both apprenticeship and discipleship emphasize the importance of humility, teachability, and perseverance in the pursuit of excellence. In the workplace, apprentices must be willing to learn from their mentors, humbly receiving feedback and instruction as they strive to master their craft. Similarly, Christian disciples are called to cultivate a spirit of humility and openness, recognizing their need for continual growth and transformation in the image of Christ (Philippians 2:3-4).

Furthermore, both apprenticeship and discipleship involve a process of imitation and emulation, as learners seek to model the behaviors, attitudes, and values of their mentors. In the workplace, apprentices observe and emulate the skills and work habits of their mentors, striving to embody the same level of excellence and professionalism. Likewise, Christian disciples are called to imitate the example of Christ, who serves as the ultimate model of love, compassion, and servant leadership (Ephesians 5:1-2).

Perhaps the most profound parallel between apprenticeship in the workplace and Christian discipleship lies in their shared emphasis on the cultivation of character and virtue. In both contexts, learning extends beyond the acquisition of technical skills to encompass the development of integrity, resilience, and moral courage. Just as a skilled craftsman instills discipline and integrity in their apprentice, so too does a faithful disciple-maker nurture the fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Lastly, when the apprentice is fully trained, they too can become a mentor and bring on an apprentice of their own. In Christian discipleship Jesus commands us to “go and make disciples..” (Matthew 28:19) It was never meant to just be a transfer of knowledge. In other words, we were never meant to be just consumers, but contributors to the kingdom of God. Let us embrace the journey of apprenticeship and discipleship with open hearts and minds, eager to learn, grow, and contribute to the work of God in the world.

Think and pray
Have you been just a consumer, or do you have the mindset of a contributor?

Heavenly Father, help me to imitate Christ in all I do as I help others do the same. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Adrian Savedra serves as Area Director for CBMC in Oklahoma. Having spent his early career as a head college baseball coach, his passion is helping others grow spiritually and apply the precepts of the bible to every area of their lives. He is active in his church and a shepherd to the many men involved with CBMC.