…one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)… 1 Timothy 3.4, 5
The Christian Ministry: Part I, chapter III
Charles Bridges (1794-1869)
“If the family of Christ be an household, the Minister is ‘the faithful and wise steward,’ who dispenses the provision of the house according to the necessities of its several members.”
It would seem to be fairly important that, like the Good Shepherd, pastors take the time to get to know the people in their care, and the overall state of their congregations with respect to the criteria of a healthy, growing church. Pastors learn the work of shepherding in their homes first, then among the people of God in the church. Paul used the word household to refer both to families and local churches, gathered in homes (cf. Titus 1.10, 11, cf. v. 5). This suggests a manageable flock size for one or two shepherds, and perhaps a model for how today’s larger churches might structure themselves for disciple-making and mission. How can we dispense God’s provision for their needs if we don’t create flocks within our flock, where relationships of love, trust, and mutual edification can facilitate the work of building the church?
How much of your pastoral work is devoted to getting to know the people in your care? And do they feel like they know you, as Jesus said they should? Is your church structured for this kind of shepherding?
Work on Your Ministry Skills!
All pastors and church leaders should be working to improve the skills necessary for leading and growing the flock of the Lord. Our book Fan into Flame provides an overview of the work of pastoral ministry – the context in which we do this work, the tools available to us, and the goals we should be seeking. Helpful self-assessments enable you to identify areas where you can “fan into the flame” the gift God has given you in calling you to the work of ministry. Fan into Flame is a useful tool for personal or group study. Order your copy by clicking here.
Prayer for Revival
Shepherding: The Model for Disciple-making
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.
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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.