Welcome to New Shepherds Orientation, a blog and website dedicated to providing information, inspiration, and appreciation for those men and their families who serve as shepherds (elders, bishops, overseers) of the Lord’s church.
I have served with sixty-four shepherds in full-time and interim ministry in addition to scores of others in workshops, consultations, and gospel meetings. These men have taught me, encouraged me, corrected me, and supported me since I started preaching in 1961.
My full-time ministry has taken me to five congregations 1967–2007 and seven congregations for interim ministry 2007–present.
I was blessed with a variety of experiences in transition in ministry. The first place out of school was my first full-time work and their first full-time preacher. I didn’t know what I was doing when I went and didn’t know what I was doing when I left. In the second congregation, I was fired. The third, I resigned without having any idea of where I was going. Between the fourth and last church, I spent seven months discussing, planning, and thinking. It was a slow, smooth transition.
In all of these I learned about leadership, myself, and how to serve and many ways not to serve. I want to share some of those learning experiences with you and others.
I plan to post twice a month and add multiple resources that will help elders be more effective in their great work.
If you think you can find a helpful “mustard seed” in this blog, please subscribe and tell elders, deacons, preachers, and all concerned Christians about this resource.
- The group becomes like its leaders.
- Whatever you would like to see different in the group, become that yourself and in days or decades the group will likely imitate those attitudes and actions.
- The group (eldership) will grow in proportion to the growth of individuals in the group.
- Gratitude is a growth-producing attitude. The church should appreciate its shepherds. Shepherds should appreciate the gift of service from the Holy Spirit and the trust and cooperation of the flock under their care.
- The model for each shepherd is Jesus, the Chief Shepherd.
I grew up in Centerville, Tennessee, graduating from Hickman County High School in 1963.
It was there that I met Gail Champion, who was raised at Childhaven in Cullman, Alabama. We were married August 18, 1964. We have two children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandsons.
I received a B.A. in Bible from Lipscomb University in June,1967.
Classes on counseling, grief, and conflict under James A. Jones, M.A., Central church of Christ, Dalton, Georgia, 1982–1985, provided me with principles and skills on how to deal with people, problems, and conflict. It was my privilege to serve as a co-leader of more than thirty workshops, Leadership Dynamic for Dynamic Leaders, 1986–2006.
John Parker, Gail, and I participated in Basic Education from the Interim Ministry Network in 1998, 1999. There were two weeks class instruction and six months field work. This was eight years before we started interim ministry. I took a refresher course from the Interim Ministry Network, March 2007.
The Post Graduate Seminar in Family Emotional Process at The Center for Family Process in Bethesda, Maryland consisted of three three-day seminars, October, 2001, January, April, 2002. This educational and growth experience was started by Edwin Friedman, author of Generation to Generation and many other books. Beside the Bible, this book has been the most influential in my life and ministry.
Gail and I participated in the Coaching with Excellence workshop with Dan Miller, January 16, 17, 2014. We learned principles in helping others grow and develop according to their opportunities and personalities.
Some of the best educational experiences I’ve had were weeks of isolation where I read, studied, and reflected fourteen hours a day. I did this August 11–18, 2000, November 5–9, 2001, September 13–17, 2004, and September 16–20, 2013.
Shady Acres Church of Christ, Sikeston, Missouri, April 2017-present
Northside Church of Christ, Jeffersonville, Indiana, September 2015-February 2017
Maury City Church of Christ, Maury City, Tennessee, September 2013-July 2015
LaVergne Church of Christ, LaVergne, Tennessee, August 2011-June 2013
Collegeside Church of Christ, Cookeville, Tennessee, March 2010-June 2011
Hendersonville Church of Christ, Hendersonville, Tennessee, October 2008-December 2009
Eddyville Church of Christ, Eddyville, Kentucky, May 2007-August 2008
Berry’s Chapel Church of Christ, June 1993-April 2007
Sabbatical, June, July, August 2000
West Nashville Heights Church of Christ, July 1988-May 1993
Central Church of Christ, Dalton, Georgia, April 1977-June 1988
Madisonville Church of Christ, Madisonville, Kentucky, December 1968-March 1977
Yorkville Church of Christ, Yorkville, Tennessee, March 1967-November 1968
Regular Sunday appointments while in school:
Wrigley Church of Christ, Wrigley, Tennessee, June 1966-February 1967
Dorris Chapel Church of Christ, Trenton, Tennessee, September 1965-May 1966
Yorkville Church of Christ, Yorkville, Tennessee, June 1965-August 1965
Northside Church of Christ, Corinth, Mississippi, August 1964-May 1965
Monthly appointments while in high school and first year of college:
Lower Sulphur Church of Christ, Centerville, Tennessee
Little Rock Church of Christ, Wrigley, Tennessee
Wolf Creek Church of Christ, Centerville, Tennessee
Beaverdam Springs Church of Christ, Centerville, Tennessee
Brush Creek Church of Christ, Linden, Tennessee
Farmers Valley Church of Christ, Linden, Tennessee
I have been practicing ventriloquism since 1955. I do several programs each year for schools, teacher appreciation banquets, and golden age banquets.
I have been running since 1969. I completed the Country Music Marathon 2004, 2005, 2006. I have been running barefoot since the Spring of 2010. I have completed four half marathons barefoot.
I enjoy riding a one-speed cruiser bike. I have completed eight century rides on the Natchez Trace.