Posts tagged ‘sheep’

February 14, 2012

Shepherd Leadeship

by pastortimfowler

This weekend is our church’s big annual leadership meeting. We meet informally several times a year in smaller groups, but once a year I like to get everyone together for a pep talk and brainstorming session. Leadership is a not something that comes natural for most people. In our society we have cultivated a mentality of followers where leadership is an idea or an object is the driving force. You see it in the push to accept culturally relative issues like views on marriage and religion. In our political realm we are being lead by class warfare and guilt trips rather than desires that help all.
Churches have fallen into a mode of leadership voids that do not reflect what God intended for us. We have committees and groups that tell the pastors how they should act and popularity contests that elect our deacons and elders. We have lost the God given authority of leaders to a more comfortable group format. An old pastor friend of mine once said this. “In nature, where there is more than one head on a creature, it is a freak. Where there is no head, it is either a worm or dead.” Is it any wonder our churches are looked upon with such low regard by society?
The biblical leadership example given in the Bible for those who would lead God’s people is most always the shepherd. Sure there were kings and dictators, but that was not by God’s design. Even those kings that were most revered by God were those who were first shepherds, like David. Jesus is called the Good Shepherd. We are His sheep. Sheep do not form committees and have power struggles with their shepherd. They do trust the shepherd and submit to his leadership.
A shepherd is the one who is responsible for the well being of the flock. If he fails at his job, the whole flock can be lost. You can sum up the shepherd’s job like this. He is to provide a safe healthy place for the sheep to live and reproduce. The shepherd does not reproduce sheep. Sheep do that. But in many churches the people have somehow gotten the idea that their job is to find someone who will grow the church for them. Meanwhile they can eat and relax inside the comforts of the building and not have to worry.
A shepherd leader knows his sheep. He does not ask them if they want to eat from this pasture or the other. He leads them to the best food. He does not ask them if they want to drink from the stagnate pool or the trickling stream, he takes them to the good water. He does not let sick sheep infect the entire flock. He may have to carry one or even remove one from time to time to save the whole flock. And the shepherd does not have to ask his sheep if they want to reproduce, because healthy sheep like to do that and do it naturally.
The leader that God wants will lead the sheep to where they need to go. Protect them from any dangers. He stays in the field and is always alert for threats that want to sneak in and kill or steal. A shepherd often smells like a sheep and rarely smells like a king. And no king is ever loved by the sheep like the shepherd is loved by the sheep. Sheep trust the shepherd because he is who leads them with their best interest at heart.
I love teaching our leaders this philosophy. They seem to get it. Maybe that is why our church is seeing people bring their friends to church and to Jesus. Shepherding is not easy, but is very rewarding. One day the shepherd will meet the King and my prayer is that the humble shepherds will hear the King say, “Well done!”

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April 4, 2011

Sheep Need a Shepherd

by pastortimfowler

Last week I asked for ideas for my blog and someone named Kim gave me this one.
She thinks that the role of a pastor has changed over the last 20 years or so. I disagree. Okay, let me explain. The role of a pastor has never changed because it is one that is defined by God. His word and His job description will not change no matter what century we live in. Now I know what Kim is trying to get to, I am one of the few who can actually understand her. She sees a shift in the way pastors are being perceived and many are carrying out their responsibilities. There is a new wave of leadership in the church and many are taking a very open change in what tradition defined as the role of a pastor.
A pastor has always been closely related to a shepherd. In fact the word pastor comes from the Greek word meaning shepherd. These days we have no idea what that looks like because folks don’t have flocks of sheep everywhere like they use to. That has allowed the job description of a pastor to be manipulated by people and thus pastors have become what man wants not what God intended. So let me tell you some stuff that a shepherd did.
I guess the best description to some it up is this: The shepherd is to provide a safe, healthy environment for sheep to reproduce.
Safe. That means watching out for wolves and lions that want to kill the young and the weak. In a church environment these wolves and lions often take the form of control hungry people. They want the congregation to think that following one leader is bad and instead they split the church into smaller groups and tell them how wrong the shepherd is, thus leading them away from good food and fresh water and the protection of the shepherd.
Healthy. This means ensuring good food and enough food for all to eat. The right food for the young and old alike. Fresh water for all, free of the stuff that hides in stagnation and causes the sheep to puke the good stuff up because of the unseen bad stuff they ingested. And sometimes the worst danger to the entire flock is another sick sheep. Left to mingle with the rest of the flock, that one sick sheep will infect the whole herd if not separated until the sick one gets better. And yes, sometimes that even means permanently separating the sick one from the flock.
Finally, shepherds don’t grow flocks by purchasing more sheep from somewhere else. If you have a safe and healthy flock they will do what God designed them to do. They will reproduce. Healthy, safe sheep love to make babies. They fulfill something that God puts inside of them and the flock grows.
That is what the shepherd does; provides a safe, healthy environment for sheep to reproduce.
Today, there are some pastors who have become business men, sheep shearers, or vets that make the old sheep comfortable until they die. These are not pastors.
But I am thrilled to say that there is a growing desire to be a shepherd again in the church. Pastors are letting others worry about the things that were drawing them away from being shepherds of the flock and learning a valuable lesson…When the shepherd provides a safe, health environment and sheep are reproducing, the sheep love the shepherd and will follow him where he leads.
It is not complicated and it works. It is God’s design and that is why it works.
To my flock I say, I will do my best to keep the wolves and lions away and make sure that there is good food and water and that your health is good so that you can, eat, drink, and make babies!