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Pastor to Pastor

Chief in Action

Sheep follow where shepherds lead.

Shepherding God’s Flock (10)

But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4.5

In John 10, Jesus outlined six disciplines shepherds must employ in caring for the Lord’s flock. He declared that He Himself had practiced all these disciplines, and He taught them so that all the shepherds He sends to His sheep (Jer. 23.3, 4) will learn and master them as well.

High on Jesus’ list is the duty of leading the sheep (Jn. 10.4). The shepherd needs a clear vision, both of what mature sheep are to be like and of what constitutes a healthy, growing church. With such a vision in place, the shepherds of God’s flock must then embody that vision, showing by their actions where they expect the flock of the Lord to follow.

Gregory the Great (ca. 540-604 AD) put it this way:  “The ruler should always be chief in action, that by his living he may point out the way to those that are put under him, and that the flock, which follows the voice and manners of the shepherd, may learn how to walk better through example than through words. For he who is required by the necessity of his position to speak the highest things is required by the same necessity to exhibit the highest things” (The Book of Pastoral Rule). 

The function of a leader, Jim Kennedy used to say, is to lead. In leading we must know where we’re trying to go so we can bend all our efforts to achieve our objective. If the goal of our instruction is love, and the great pursuit of our lives is the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then the people we serve should be able to see the evidence of these priorities in all our demeanor. If we set the right example, the people who follow will walk their paths by the trail we blaze.

Resources for Shepherds
Our workbook, Shepherding God’s Flock, provides more insight and details on the disciplines of shepherding that Jesus embodied and taught. This is an excellent resource for training shepherds at every level in the church. To learn more and order free copies of Shepherding God’s Flock, click here.

Our ReVision study, “Disciples Making Disciples”, shows the shepherds of God’s flock how to teach and equip all the members of the Body of Christ as true disciples of the Lord. Download all the installments in this series for free by clicking here.

Are you following our InVerse Theology Project series on work? We are redeemed for work, fulfilled in work, and gifted for work. By our work we pursue and realize more of our great salvation (Phil. 2.13). And our work begins in sanctification, the work we do bringing our soul more into line with Jesus. The most recent installment in this series on work addresses what that work requires. You can listen in by clicking here.

From the Celtic Revival
If you missed last Thursday’s Crosfigell, here’s a chance to catch up on our continuing series of meditations on the life and work of Columbanus, the greatest of the Irish peregrini from the period of the Celtic Revival. Our focus was on Columbanus’ great learning, and how that fit him for effective ministry at many levels of Gaulish society:

“When the holy man with his companions appeared before the king, the greatness of his learning caused him to stand high in the favor of the king and court. Finally, the king begged him to remain in Gallic territory, not to go to other peoples and leave him; everything that he wished should be done.”

  - Jonas, Life of St. Columban (7th century)[1]

Time and the hour is flying, age glides away by moments.
Scorn the joys of a transient life that perish.
Do not pursue frail wealth and empty gain,
Nor let overflowing abundance of riches be your concern.
Let your treasures be the teachings of divine law,
And the holy fathers’ rules of a chaste life,
All that the learned masters have written before,
Or the songs sung by scholarly poets,
Take these, ever despise transitory treasures…

  - Columbanus, “Verses of St. Columban to Sethus”[2]

In leading the people of God, few things are more important than that shepherds demonstrate a zeal for and joy in learning, for learning is at the heart of discipleship. Columbanus drew many followers because his great learning prepared him for great service in the Name of the Lord.

Crosfigell is mailed every Tuesday and Thursday. Subscribe to Crosfigell today (click here to update your subscriptions). Be sure you click each teaching letter you want to receive, (including Pastor to Pastor), and journey with us through our devotional study of this remarkable saint.

What can we learn from a cat? Well, an anonymous Irish scribe, from late in the period of the Celtic Revival (ca 430-800 AD), found his cat, Pangur Ban, to be an encouragement in his work. Listen to the poem he wrote about his cat in the most recent edition of Celtic Legacy (click here).

T. M. Moore.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


[1] Jonas, p. 7

[2] Walker, p. 187

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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