Welcome and What Can I Do to Encourage Spiritual Leadership?

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 64 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 as the local preacher 1967–2007 and five congregations for interim ministry 2007–2015.

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.

Some of the topics to be discussed:

  • Majority or minority rule?  How many votes do you give to each elder?
  • Setting goals
  • Head elder:  toxic, benevolent, none?
  • No-suicide contract for leadership
  • Elders appreciation parties
  • Shepherds who leave when the wolf comes don’t care — Jesus
  • How to hear criticism
  • For pain to be most productive: anticipated, chosen, managed
  • When most people hurt me, I gave them permission
  • Contracts – why, written, items, reviewed
  • Elder rules
  • Elder operating procedures:  non-negotiable, negotiable.
  • Counseling for me
  • Are death wishes the best way to solve leadership problems?
  • How to get rid of a bad elder
  • Questions to learn more about your family
  • How do you want the church to be? — Be that!
  • How to keep things from falling through the cracks
  • Elders’ meetings
  • Discussion before decisions
  • Elder-preacher relationships.
  • Family meetings
  • A leader is a non-anxious presence
  • Funerals and parties
  • Processing anger
  • Who selects leaders?
  • How to select leaders
  • What kind and how many leadership seeds are you sowing?
  • Planning a preacher’s (elder’s) departure
  • Eldership agreement
  • 48-hour rule
  • Anonymous letters
  • Counseling, referral, followup
  • Suicide, 3 questions, contract
  • Elders I have known
  • Why do other people keep me so busy?
  • Delegation steps
  • Criticism
  • Listening until the other person gets through talking
  • Sabbath — day a week
  • Isolation
  • Sabbatical
  • Good leaders may not be the first to speak
  • Learning to Love my Friend(s)
  • God’s Great Servants
  • Are you allowing your last preacher to control your present preacher?
  • How to deliver bad news — death
  • How to deliver bad news — termination, reduction in pay
  • Should we let our preacher preach after he resigns, is released?
  • “They say we are not open”

What would you like to see discussed first?
What other topics would be helpful?

Please leave a comment by ...... clicking here.

(Visited 270 times, 85 visits today)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Please comment

6 thoughts on “Welcome and What Can I Do to Encourage Spiritual Leadership?

  1. Thank you Bro. Jerrie Barber starting this blog. Men in the church should be encouraged to develop and hone their skills to take leadership roles. All Christians are commanded to grow and develop a stronger relationship with God in their personal lives. When we take those roles as elders and deacons, we should likewise continue to grow into those positions to become better leaders. Let us never say as leaders, “I have arrived”. Elders many times need encouragement because the nature of the job can be discouraging and difficult. I look forward to the posts and comments.

    • Vernon, Thank you for your comments and attitude. Your father, Valess, has been a good friend and example to me of a good shepherd who is following the Good Shepherd. You are following in their steps.

  2. Hello, Brother Jerry! So glad you are beginning this blog post! I am confident you will help new and existing shepherds toward a greater servant ministry in the Lord’s Kingdom! Thank you for your servant heart! – Steve Kirby

  3. Jerry,Thank you for doing this! I would like to hear your thoughts about setting goals, Elder operating procedures, how to keep things from falling through the cracks, and how to best handle new families wanting to place membership.

    • David, Thank you for your response and suggested topics. I had some of these. I have highlighted them. You gave me a new one I hadn’t thought of. I added it to the list. I appreciate your encouragement.