A Planned Program of Shepherd Development

New Shepherds Orientation Workshop, West Fayetteville Church of Christ

Jerrie, We’ve just appointed five elders. Four of those have never served as a shepherd of God’s people. Do you think you could lead a workshop to help them in beginning this work?” The phone call arranged a weekend with the congregation’s elders and wives in Gatlinburg November 1, 2, 2013. That phone call was the beginning of New Shepherds Orientation Workshops and New Shepherds Orientation website and blog. I’ve led similar events for three other congregations since then.

The most recent workshop was with West Fayetteville Church of Christ, in Fayetteville, Tennessee, July 15, 16. We met at Hampton Inn in Fayetteville, starting at 4:00 p.m. Friday afternoon and stopping at 10:00 p.m. We worked six more hours on Saturday. The shepherds, their wives, preacher, and his wife were in the workshop.

[tweetthis]Most recent NSO workshop was with West Fayetteville Church of Christ July 15, 16.[/tweetthis]

NSO WF 5A question arises, “Why do you ask wives to be present? Do you believe women should serve as elders?”

No. Women don’t serve as elders since they can’t meet the qualifications or prerequisites described in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. That would place them in authority over a man as forbidden in 1 Timothy 2:12.

However, because they aren’t appointed as shepherds of the flock doesn’t mean can’t contribute to the effectiveness of their husbands who are appointed.

My observations:NSO WF 760 2

  • A man can be an ineffective elder with or without a good wife.
  • A man can’t be an effective elder with an unsympathetic, nonsupporting, ineffective, or gossiping wife.
  • The better understanding his wife has of her husband’s role, responsibilities, rewards, and commitment to confidentiality the more she’ll be able to support, encourage him, and minister with him.

We discuss how a wife should respond to criticism of her husband. What should she do when people want her to deliver messages to her husband? How can the shepherd’s wife and other Christians minimize gossip in the congregation?

[tweetthis]A man can’t be an effective shepherd with an unsympathetic, nonsupporting, ineffective, or gossiping wife.[/tweetthis]

Topics we discussed:

  • How can elders shepherd each other?NSO WF 760 3
  • How will we grow together as a group?
  • How will we handle criticism?
  • What is a good plan to be sure we’re caring for all sheep?
  • How can we relate to deacons and encourage them?
  • How will we develop as overseers as well as shepherds?
  • How will we oversee each other?
  • What can we do to keep important things from falling through the cracks?
  • Will we function as deacons and be called elders?
  • When there isn’t unanimous consent on an issue, will we have minority or majority rule?
  • How can we prevent the development of a toxic “head elder”?
  • What’s one thing we can do to prevent conflict and promote peace?
  • How will we evaluate, encourage, and build up deacons, preachers, and each other?
  • What will we do to develop dedicated disciples of Jesus who will serve as shepherds and deacons in the future?
  • What are some ways we can have good communication with the congregation?
  • What are different kinds of meetings we should have to lead and shepherd this church?
  • Who should select additional leaders in this congregation?
  • What’s a good way to facilitate selection?
  • How will we encourage and express gratitude to members of the congregation?

My Recommendations for a New Shepherds Orientation Workshop:

  1. Involve all elders, preachers, and wives.NSO WF 4
  2. Meet offsite — away from the church building.
  3. Work twelve hours together.

I have time for a limited number of workshops in 2017. If you have an interest or would like to ask questions, please contact me:

Tel. (615) 584-0512

Email: jerrie@barberclippings.com

Please read comments over the next few months in the sidebar from those who participated.

What would you like to see included in an orientation for new shepherds and encouragement for seasoned shepherds?
Please comment below:

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3 thoughts on “A Planned Program of Shepherd Development

  1. I served the youth under the eldership from 96-98; one of those elders is pictured. Two of these men were deacons at that time. They are good men and will do good work.