Where does an elder, shepherd, go to learn how to do his job well? There is no better teacher than a good example of someone who has done it well. There is no better example than Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
Sheep in Jesus’ fold, sheep pen, have Jesus for a shepherd. Sheep in Jesus’ sheep pen have come in the door (John 10:7-10). They hear voice of the Shepherd (John 10:1-5; Matthew 9:36,37). But sheep in Jesus’ sheep pen are still sheep: dependent, dirty, disoriented (see previous post: Advice from a Preacher, Elder, and an Apostle to Elders). They still need a shepherd, including the shepherds that serve under Jesus as the Chief Shepherd.
The example for this process that shepherds today can imitate—the shepherding model of Jesus found in John 10:1-18.
1. He calls his own sheep by name. He has to know their names. That is not done in board meetings deciding on whether to use barbed wire or electric fence to keep the sheep in.
“To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:3).
2. The sheep know the voice of the shepherd. He has to be talking to them. They trust only the Good Shepherd. This comes by talking and listening to the sheep.
“And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” (John 10:4).
3. The shepherd is not a hired hand, does not run when danger comes. One of the most devastating things a shepherd can do is run away from the sheep when they are in danger and not even say, “Good-bye.”
“The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep” (John 10:13).
New Shepherds Orientation coaching assumes:
1. You are not there.
2. You want to go in that direction.
3. The group cannot grow without individuals in the group growing.
Growth needs to be continual and balanced.
Shepherds are still Christians, pilgrims on a journey. One does not know everything just because he is asked to serve as a shepherd. The man who is not willing and ready to grow into a more effective shepherd, should decline the appointment.
Each person will be making growth plans in five areas:
God is interested in all of life. Wisdom comes from acknowledging God and asking Him for help in every area.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).
If I look to God in only one or two areas of life, my “life wheel” will be out of balance and the trip will not be smooth.
In New Shepherds Orientation workshops, we do group sessions. I also talk with individuals about how you like to learn, suggesting resources to help you grow in all areas of life, and checking with you to celebrate the progress and encourage your continued growth.
In this blog, I plan to write about some of the same topics that we discuss in workshops.
If you would like to know more about New Shepherd Orientation workshops and coaching, send me an email and we’ll set up a time to talk: firstname.lastname@example.org .
What comments do you have?
What are some topics that you would like to see discussed?
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