Best Shepherd Training I’ve Seen

…when shepherds shepherd shepherds

It was a Sunday afternoon elders’ meeting. Immediately after opening prayer, one of the men said, “I’ve just come from the emergency room. I was having chest pains. I wasn’t feeling too good.” We went to the first item of business on the agenda without a response from his report. There was no question — no special prayer — nothing.

When shepherds shepherd shepherds, shepherds will better shepherd the sheep


Were we too busy with the Lord’s work we had no time to minister to a brother in the group?

Contrast that with another eldership. Every time we met as a leadership team, we had a standing item on the agenda: Leadership Relationships. That meant we were to tell how it had been at our house since we met the last time. Usually things were fine. We prayed and went home. Some times there were special concerns. We listened. We discussed any challenges each one was facing. We encouraged. We prayed for each other.

One that stands out in my memory was from one of the elders. He said, “Since we met a month ago, as you know, Daddy died. Mother isn’t able to live by herself and moved in with us. My wife had her third back surgery. We wish she hadn’t had her first back surgery because it hurts now worse than then. She was diagnosed with breast cancer last week. I got fired Friday.”

We listened. We learned more. We prayed.

My observation: some of that is going on in every meeting and encounter we have. We can either talk it out or act it out.

It was refreshing and comforting to know every time we met we’d be able to give and receive encouragement.

Not only was it good for us but it was an occasion to practice ministry on each other similar to what we would do when others came to us.

When shepherds shepherds shepherds, shepherds will better shepherd the sheep. When shepherds don’t shepherd shepherds, shepherds probably won’t shepherd the sheep.

When shepherds shepherd shepherds, care and sensitivity increase. When two dental students have studied facts, discussed procedures, and practiced on dummies, it’s time for the real test

Today I’ll give you a root canal. Tomorrow, you’ll return the favor and give me a root canal.

I’m going to try hard to do an excellent job.

  1. I care for you.
  2. I want you to return the excellence and sensitivity I’m giving you today when you do my procedure tomorrow.
  3. I want to start and continue a practice of excellence and sensitivity I’ll continue to give my patients for years in the future.

Results of Shepherds Shepherding Shepherds

  • Ministry.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2, NKJV).

  • Sensitivity.

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12).

  • Integrity. If you don’t have these discussions with and about other leaders in your group, why do you think other members of the congregation will flock to you to ask for your help on these matters?
  • Practice. It becomes normal to help others because we do it often.

The only way I’ve ever seen this done consistently was when it was scheduled and done intentionally.

I’ve never seen it done accidentally.

How have you seen shepherds shepherd shepherds?

(Visited 551 times, 9 visits today)
Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

6 Responses to “Best Shepherd Training I’ve Seen

  • Travis Irwin
    3 years ago

    Right on

  • Jeff Smith
    3 years ago

    Bro. Jerrie,
    Two years ago we added two new Elders and our Elder meetings immediately got longer and longer. We blame the two new Elders who both have demanding jobs and have to get up early in the morning after some of our late night meetings. Understand, the meeting did not get longer because of the business at hand, it is my observation they got longer because all five elders enjoy each other’s presence. We get our business done, then “visit”. Sometimes we “visit” at the first, during, and at the end of our meetings. And yes, we pause often for special prayer for special needs as they are apparent. All five of us have commented on the length of our meetings but I think all five of us realize that to shorten our meetings we may have to reduce our valued time together. We are capable of short meetings, but don’t seem to have them unless necessary. I think, one of the beauties of Southside’s latest eldership is the fact that we truly like each other, support each other, and pray for each other. This has been true of the last several eldership groups we have had. It helps the spirit of the church as a whole.

    It seems that an unwritten rule of being and Elder at Southside includes, …..Do you like the other elders?,…… Do you enjoy their company?,….. Are you going to get “mad” and “offensive” if the consensus of the group over rules your “vote”?…..Do you play well with others? Each one of us at one time or the other has had to give in to the collective wisdom of the group, yet, we still like being in the group. It is a good formula for healthy meetings and that translates into good for our church family.

    • Jeff,

      I think you are on to something.

      Why would you want to spend that much time and exert that much effort for so great a cause with people you don’t like and are trying to beat in some kind of fatal competition?

      Jesus said people would know we are His followers when we treat each other right.

      That begins and ends with leadership.

  • FieldsF
    3 years ago

    Enjoyed the read

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