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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
Pastor to Pastor

Leading to the Precipice?

Our example is crucial.

Pastoral Vision (11)

And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” Luke 6.39, 40

A shepherd has three tools for leading and caring for the Lord’s flock: prayer, Scripture, and the shepherd’s personal example. The people we lead and serve are unlikely to rise above the vision, example, and exertion of their shepherds. Jesus made that plain: Those we teach will be as “perfectly trained” as we are. If we are not all that well trained, if we are reluctant learners, if our vision is unclear and uncompelling, and if our example is more complacent than conforming to Christ, we can expect nothing more than that from those we serve.

Gregory the Great (ca. 540-604) warned the shepherds in his care about this matter: “There are some who investigate spiritual precepts with cunning care, but what they penetrate with their understanding they trample on in their lives: all at once they are teaching the things which not by practice but by study they have learnt; and what in words they preach by their manners they impugn. Whence it comes to pass that when the shepherd walks through steep places, the flock follows to the precipice” (The Book of Pastoral Rule).

In the work of shepherding God’s flock, we must wield the Word of God, prayer, and our personal example in balance. We cannot shepherd the flock of God by the ministry of the Word alone. Nor will prayer, or prayer and the Word alone, enable us to fulfill the noble task of shepherding. We need to live the life of faith with vision, joy, power, courage, consistency, and holiness, so that what we preach and how we pray will lift the flock we serve to the heights whereon we dwell.

Don’t like what we see in the people we serve? Maybe we should take a closer look at ourselves, beginning with our vision for the life of faith and the ministry God has entrusted to us.

Resources for Shepherds
Our new Online Training Page is replete with learning resources of various kinds to help you and your congregation realize more of the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God. Click here to discover the videos, podcasts, conversations, short courses, and other resources—all free of charge—that can enhance your walk with and work for the Lord.

Men, join us for our April Kingdom Conversation on the topic, “Such a Great Salvation.” Unless our vision of salvation is as large as the Lord’s, we’ll miss out on much of what He intends for our blessing. Our book, Such a Great Salvation, will be the basis of the discussion, but reading it is not required. We will meet Thursday night, April 25, at 8:30 Eastern via Zoom. I’ll send out some questions to guide our discussion so you can prepare. Just let me know if you’d like to join us, and I’ll make sure to send you the link. And if you would like to order a copy of Such a Great Salvation, you can click here for the book or here for the free PDF.

For more insight to the work of shepherding and use of our tools for ministry, order a copy of our workbook, Shepherding God’s Flock (click here). Our course by that same title is an excellent resource to use for ministry staff and leaders. Watch this brief introductory video. The course is free and can be used individually or in a group.  

From the Celtic Revival
Patrick was able to realize the vision for ministry God gave him because he did not rely on himself or any methods for ministry. Each day he looked to God for the strength he would need to do the work appointed to him. Writing a generation after Patrick, an anonymous poet, using Patrick’s name, explained his approach to relying on the strength of the Lord:

This day I call to me God’s strength to show
my way, God’s power to help me as I go;
God’s wisdom for my guide, His holy eye
to light my way, His ear to hear my cry;
God’s Word to fill my speaking, and His hand
to hold me as I go, and help me stand;
His path before me and His shield to guard
me; all His strong angelic legions hard
around me to protect me: from the snares
of demons, from temptation’s might, from cares
and worries, and from threats of nature, from
one man or many that may seek to come
for my destruction, whether from afar
or near, no matter who or where they are.

  - Anonymous, “Patrick’s Breastplate,” Irish, 8th century

Here is an excellent way to seek the Lord for His strength day by day. Our Patrick study is now complete, and tomorrow we begin the first of a 15-week study on “Irish High Crosses.” These beautiful, majestic works of art were precious resources for instructing the Lord’s flocks, keeping their feet in God’s Word, their face toward the Lord, and their lives in the footsteps of the saints.

You can follow this study, every Tuesday and Thursday, by subscribing to Crosfigell. Update your subscriptions or start a new one by clicking here.

Want to learn about more of the great leaders of the Celtic Revival? You can download the PDF of our book, Lives of Irish Saints, by clicking here. For an overview of the Celtic Revival, download the PDF book, The Celtic Revival: A Brief Introduction (click here).

T. M. Moore

Support for Pastor to Pastor comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

And please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. You can contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 103 Reynolds Lane, West Grove, PA 19390.

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

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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