Monday, June 09, 2008

Thoughts on Shepherding

Yesterday, we installed four new shepherds at High Pointe. Following along with the typical Timothy/Titus minister role of installing new shepherds, I gave the new shepherds a charge to be the type of shepherd outlined in Scripture. I read from John 10, 1 Timothy 3, and 1 Peter 5.

As I read these passages, there were several things that ran through my mind then and today.

First, Jesus said that the shepherd knows the sheep and that they know his voice. In order to truly be a shepherd, one must have a following--a group of people who willing follow this person and come to them for help and guidance.
Second, the "characteristics" of shepherds that are listed are almost exclusively about character and way of life. This should point towards the emphasis in shepherding--that these are men who demonstrate to God's people what it means to walk with God.

Third, not only is shepherding itself a gift (Eph. 4:11), but there are at least other gifts associated with shepherding: teaching and hospitality. Teaching is related to not only knowledge imparted, but to a way of life that can be imititated. Since we are in the middle of a series on hospitality, I found the reminder that hospitality is a quality of a shepherd interesting. The word for hospitality in 1 pet. 4:0 literally means "love of stranger," and refers to the welcoming of those who are aliens, strangers, and those in need. This is a behavior that Peter encourage Christians to extend to one another. Shepherds must be welcoming!

What do you think are the most essential qualities of shepherds?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

James,

Shepherds must be compassionate, caring and forgiving. Their lives identify them before they are selected. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Christ the Great Shepherd was about serving people's needs and ministering to them, whether in joyous times or in sorrowful times. Shepherds of God's people must do their best to follow this example.

Steve

James said...

Thanks, guys, for your thoughts. These are indeed characteristics of good shepherds.