Our First Apprentice

Water’s Edge has been an active body of believers in Laconia, NH for 6 years now. About 3 years post-launch I reached out to my supporting church in Lubbock, TX with the request of an apprentice to join us for a commitment of 2 years. Up to that point in time we had not had any apprentices, so this was to be a new venture for us. 

I began my request by writing up a description of what the apprenticeship would look like. The description included roles or tasks the apprentice would be responsible for as well as the ministry experiences and education they could expect to take with them into the future. I wrote up the job description, submitted it to the Elders of my supporting congregation, and they began to announce the opportunity to their church. Within 3 weeks we had a lead and 6 months later we had our first apprentice on-site! 4 years later now that apprentice has found a wife from New England, had their first child, bought a house in Laconia and currently serves as our Youth Minister and Celebrate Recovery Ministry Leader. God’s providential orchestration was clear from beginning to end.

The Apprenticeship Grows

One unforeseen encouragement for my wife and I as church planters is the fact that we now see that we do have something to offer. Ministry, especially a church-planting ministry, can often feel like you are flying by the seat of your pants pretending you know what you are doing when in fact you do not! What we have realized through the apprenticeships, however, is that we do have something to offer. We do have experiences others do not have. The Lord has given us wisdom in certain areas that could not have been acquired without our experiences. And although every city is different and every church plant is different, what we have learned in this work is valuable to any who will branch out to plant churches as well. In fact, unless a person acquires such hands-on experience in an actual church-plant (just as my wife and I did in NJ before moving to NH), it is hard to imagine how one might acquire the confidence to plant a new church. Being a part of the ins and outs of a church plant is part of what God uses to instill in us the confidence to step out in faith and start a new church ourselves.

If you are feeling called to plant a church one day, I cannot emphasize enough the benefit of on-site church-planting experience through an apprenticeship. At Water’s Edge we will continue to invite apprentices to spend 2-5 years with us as the Lord works to implant His vision for a new church in your heart.

Shaun Dutile planted Water’s Edge – A Church of Christ in Laconia, NH. He is a Christian counselor at Dutile Christian Counseling. He is active in Celebrate Recovery leadership. He and his wife Marci enjoy life on their small farm and supporting their 5 kids in their various interests.