Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. 1 Peter 5.2-4
The Christian Ministry: Part I, chapter III
Charles Bridges (1794-1869)
“If the church be called a flock, the minister is the pastor to ‘seek that which is lost – to strengthen the diseased – to heal the sick – to bring again that which was driven away;’ in a word, to shepherd the flock in all the exercises of tenderness, consideration, and care, that belong to this endearing character.”
In John 10, Jesus identified six key functions of the Good Shepherd. We may assume these same functions devolve upon all those who have come with Jesus to shepherd His flock. (Jer. 23.3, 4) Every shepherd is called to know the sheep, lead the sheep, lay down his life for the sheep, defend the sheep, give eternal life to the sheep, and bring other sheep into the fold. In churches today, we don’t much follow this guidance. We try to make disciples, insofar as we do, in courses, classes, studies, and other programs. But the intensely personal, loving, directional, earnest, and fruitful work of shepherding? Where is that being done in the flocks of the Lord? Shepherding the flock is Jesus’ method for making disciples. Is it ours?
Meditate on Ezekiel 34.1-10. How did the shepherds of Israel fail the people of God? What does God say He will do as a result?
Shepherding in the Christian Worldview
The local church is defined by three primary functions: worship, making disciples (shepherding), and being witnesses in the world. Our course, One in Twelve: Introduction to Christian Worldview, explains how each of these works together to build the church in unity and maturity as signs and outposts of the Kingdom. The course is free, as are all the materials for the course, and you can study at your own pace and time. For more information and to register, click here.
The Kingdom Turn
The local church is both a sign and outpost of the Kingdom of God, but if “Kingdom of God” is nothing more than a notion or catch-phrase, the local church will founder in self-interest and self-seeking. But help the flocks of the Lord to make the Kingdom turn into a greater realization of the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom, and your church will come alive with the reality of the risen Christ and the power of His Spirit. Order your copy of The Kingdom Turn by clicking here.
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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.