WHERE HAVE ALL THE SHEPHERDS GONE?
Soon after I took over a church nearly 40 years ago, a number of people came up to me, and said something like this ” You are the first real Pastor/Shepherd we have had in this town since Pastor………. was here. Only recently a member from my church at that time wrote to me on FB and said, “I have not really had a Pastor since you left town” (and that is over 30 years ago). I am not putting the spotlight on myself with these two statements, I want to highlight the fact that there are many Leaders in Pastoral roles in many local churches, who have the title Pastor, but do not have a Pastor’s heart.
Ephesians 4:11 NKJV tells that Christ has given to the Church 5 Ministry Gifts. And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, In the past many Bible Colleges had a question on their Application Form DO YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A CALL TO MINISTRY? This question is often omitted now as these days it is all about academics and qualifications. A Bible College CANNOT MAKE a person a Pastor, it can only enhance and equip the Ministry Gift in the person.
I believe we need and must have large even mega churches in our cities, their size can be such a key that God can use in impacting our towns, cities and even states. Good business principles are required for all churches but especially large churches, so that everything can run well and efficiently.
THE DANGER IS PEOPLE CAN BECOME SIMPLY A NUMBER OR A STATISTIC
We must ensure that our churches are being BUILT ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN OF THE WORD OF GOD, then we can anticipate the blessing and glory of God on the church. There are many keys to the pattern, which we know including good preaching and teaching, and as parents have our children (of all ages) well catered for in the church. The bottom line though is this, most believers don’t want the Greek or the Hebrew,
THE SHEEP NEED TO KNOW THEY ARE LOVED AND CARED FOR BY THE SHEPHERD.
Some years ago I cam across an excellent article entitled :
SIX THINGS SHEPHERDS DON’T SAY
It was written by a Youth Pastor called Dustin Bell, below is the complete transcript.
The simple story of the lost lamb and the selfless shepherd has been lodged in my mind for the last month. Recorded in Luke 15, the story is told by Jesus to help us see the type of shepherd (or leader) that Jesus is to us, so that we in turn can replicate this in our dealings with people.
1. “ITS ONLY ONE”
How easy it would have been for the shepherd to shrug his shoulders and conclude that it’s not worth going to all that effort for just one sheep. Perhaps if there were 10 or 15 sheep missing it would be worth it; but one?
This shepherd is exemplary because of his passion for one sheep. Jesus was like this. He willingly stopped a crowd to connect with one crooked tax collector, or one sick woman. I’m only one, but Jesus went out of His way for me.
Let’s realise that the youth ministry of thousands which we dream of is counted like this …. One + one + one + one + one + one + one + one + one – Every one matters!
2. “I”VE STILLGOT 99”
If I can’t be bothered going after the one, the easiest way to appease my conscience is by saying, “Look, I’ve still got 99!”
As great as it is that I have 99 sheep, I need to be reminded that God entrusted me with 100. I can’t allow what I do have to quench my passion for what I should, and could, have. Thank God for who He’s given you, but seek God for who He’s giving you.
3. “IT”S THEIR FAULT”
Let’s be honest. This sheep was stupid. Seriously. He deserved to be separated from the flock; after all, he chose to wander in the first place.
But, so did I, …. Yet my Shepherd chased me down at great cost to Himself.
Let’s never become resentful, bitter or angry toward people who wander from God and separate themselves from the from our church or ministry. Instead, let’s lovingly pursue the ill deserving, just as Jesus did for us.
4. “IT”S OUT OF MY WAY”
It’s 10:33 pm on a Friday night. You’ve almost finished your pack down and all you’re thinking about is food and watching the late telecast of the AFL. Then that teenager approaches looking for a lift home …. Which is no problem, until you discover that “home” is in the opposite direction to where you’re headed. Decision time.
Great youth ministries are built by teams of people who are willing to go out of their way for others; it’s one of the most Christ-like things that we can do.
5. “I TRIED ONCE”
Notice that this shepherd looked until he found it. Surely this shepherd would have been tempted to say “I yelled out once, but there was no answer, so I came home”.
How easy it is for us to say “I tried calling that new person but there was no answer”, then we cross off a task from the ‘to do’ list and move on. Jesus never told us to knock once, he commanded us to knock until ……
6. “IT”S NO BIG DEAL”
Finally, we see that this shepherd wasn’t nonchalant about the saving of a sheep. He knew that some things were a BIG DEAL and were worth celebrating.
What are the things that your team have decided are a BIG DEAL? What do you celebrate? What is a ‘win’ for your team? If you know it, you can aim at it and celebrate it!
Jesus is our perfect example, and He has called us to “take care” (Poimaino/Shepherd) the sheep, John 21:16 Passion Translation Jesus repeated his question the second time,“Simon, son of John, do you burn with love for me?”
Peter answered, “Yes, my Lord! You know that I have great affection for you!”
“Then take care of my sheep,”
Lord help us not to see people as numbers or statistics, but lambs and sheep Jesus has given us to disciple and nurture and feed, and if needs be we are lay down our lives for them