The LORD is my shepherd…
He leads me… Psalm 23.1, 3
The work of shepherds
Jesus said that He was able to lead His sheep, knowing they would follow Him because He knew them, and they knew Him (Jn. 10.2-5). Leading a church involves not only knowing where church members must go (sanctification, ministry) and how the church must grow (unity, maturity in Christ). It also requires a measure of mutual trust and love that comes from people getting to know one another well.
Jesus spent three years letting His disciples get to know Him (He already knew them, as He knows what is in every one of us). This work of “association”, as Robert E. Coleman calls it (The Master Plan of Evangelism) is an ongoing labor of being with people and being faithful before them and pastorally interested in them.
This is why an effective ministry of shepherding requires that a congregation be subdivided into groups where relationships can be formed with shepherds and between the sheep. The pastor cannot shepherd everyone in the church. He should make an ongoing effort to learn names, pray for people, greet them as often as possible, and converse cordially with them. But the pastor’s main flock for his work of shepherding will be those shepherds – elders and other leaders – who will provide the most consistent and fruitful work of leading the people of God.
We must neither bypass nor short-sell this important work of shepherd leaders. Get to know the people of God, and let them get to know you. Then lead them where He will.
Resources for Shepherds
Speaking of leadership, we have a few copies left of our workbook, Biblical Models of Leadership. What can you learn from Moses, Joshua, David, and Paul about leading the Lord’s flock? This interactive study will take you deep into the work of these great leaders to help you hone your own skills in leading God’s flock. Order your free copy of Biblical Models of Leadership at The Ailbe Bookstore.
The work of shepherding requires that we have a good sense of the world around us – the world into which the Lord’s sheep go each day, and which we must equip them to enter as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God. Our book, Understanding the Times, provides an overview of what we’re up against in this secular age and how we should prepare to advance the Lord’s reign in it. Order your free copy by clicking here.
From the Celtic Revival
“Hunger for the food of the gospels stalks among you, eating out the vitals of your souls in the very kitchen.”
- Gildas, The Ruin of Britain, British, 6th century
“Watch, for the sea is stormy and whipped up by fatal blasts, for it is not a solitary threatening wave such as, even across a silent ocean, is raised to overweening heights from the ever-foaming eddies of a hollow rock...Watch, for water has now entered the vessel of the Church, and the vessel is in perilous straits.”
- Columbanus, Letter to Pope Boniface, Irish, 7th century
T. M. Moore
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It is our privilege to provide resources and opportunities to equip and encourage church leaders in building the Lord’s Church and advancing His Kingdom. Please pray that God will move many of those we serve through this ministry to share with us financially in its support. If the Lord moves you to give, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Gildas, p. 65.
 Walker, p. 39.