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The Role of a Shepherd

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; 3 he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long.

John 10

“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the

sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 They will not follow a stranger, but they will run

from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech with

them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7 So again Jesus said to them,

“Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and

bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved,

and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I

came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good

shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

12 The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not

own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the

sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.”

Ezekiel 34

The word of the LORD came to me: 2 Mortal, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel: prophesy, and say to them—to the shepherds: Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep. 4 You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured, you have not brought back the strayed, you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and scattered, they became food for all the wild animals. 6 My sheep were scattered, they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill; my sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with no one to search or seek for them. 7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 8 As I live, says the Lord GOD, because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild animals, since there was no shepherd; and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep; 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 10 Thus says the Lord GOD, I am against the shepherds; and I will demand my sheep at their hand, and put a stop to their feeding the sheep; no longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, so that they may not be food for them. 11 For thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. 12 As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them

with justice.

John 21:15-19

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would

glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Acts 20:17-38

From Miletus he sent a message to Ephesus, asking the elders of the church to meet him. 18 When they

came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the entire time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, enduring the trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. 20 I did not shrink from doing anything helpful, proclaiming the message to you and teaching you publicly and from house to house, 21 as I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus. 22 And now, as a captive to the

Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there,

Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me. 24 But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace. 25 And now I know that none of you, among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom, will ever see my face again. 26 Therefore I declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. 29 I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow

them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to warn everyone with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace, a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified. 33 I coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You know for yourselves that I worked with my own hands to support myself and my companions. 35 In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 36 When he had finished speaking, he knelt down with them all and prayed. 37 There was much weeping among them all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, 38 grieving especially because of what he had said, that they would not see him again. Then they brought him to the ship.

23 except that the Holy

1 Peter 5

Now as an elder myself and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as one who shares in the glory to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you 2 to tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it —not for sordid gain but eagerly. 3 Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief shepherd appears, you will win the crown of glory that never fades away. 5 In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

The Leader as Shepherd

Psalm 23:

What do you notice about the language and images of this psalm? abundance, intimacy, provision and care How does the shepherd provide for the sheep (vv1-4)? makes me lie down

ü What does that imply? coercion — the sheep don’t lie down when they need to.

ü What is the shepherd’s role in ensuring the sheep get green pasture? sometimes involves meeting needs in ways they don’t know. The sheep aren’t the superintendents of their own needs. In fact, sheep don’t lie down unless their needs are met— not if they are hungry, fearful. This is a picture of a satisfied, after-dinner type sheep.

What does this say about the manner of provision, its nature?

ü for his name’s sake: the shepherd’s reputation is on the line, so you can trust him

ü The shepherd is with the sheep

What else is with the sheep? the rod and staff How are “rod and staff” comfort? necessary for leadership, protection, prodding, fighting off wild beasts. Shepherds will injure sheep so that they cannot run if they are prone to scatter or leave the flock.

If we were to put this psalm in modern language, what would this be? a commercial for the shepherd! He is using persuasive imagery to communicate the great goodness of his shepherd above any other possible choices. “Do you lack something? Try my shepherd! You’ll lack nothing! You’ll have rest, protection, abundance!”

What do vv5-6 add to our understanding about God’s leadership of his people?

ü overflowing, abundance

ü whole life long, not temporary

ü living in the house of the Lord

ü provision and security in the midst of danger (a full meal, not a drive-in McDonald’s meal. “Excuse me, enemy, I’m not finished with my dessert. You’ll just have to wait.”

ü “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me” lit “pursue", “hunt me down”.

How many of us have felt that about God—we run away and his mercy hunts us down? What is our normal relationship to goodness and mercy? we pursue it all of our days, perhaps maybe one day we will get it.

He begins by speaking about God, but ends by speaking to God. Why do you think this happens? He is caught up in worship. He is so powerfully aware of the truth of his remarks about God that he is inspired to turn in worship to God. Summarize the benefits of God as shepherd

ü lacking nothing: all needs are met

ü green pasture

ü still waters (not dangerous, steep cliffs)

ü leading in right paths, a sense of purpose & guidance

ü restoration

ü fearless because of his protection

ü comfort of rod and staff

ü full table in safety

ü oil & comfort, overflowing cup = abundance

ü goodness and mercy following me

John 10:

What did you learn? How is Jesus both a gate and the shepherd? Why does he use both images? Either metaphor by itself is incomplete: Jesus is both the way into salvation and the one we follow there. We cannot be the gate (for others) but we can be shepherds to others, pointing them to the gate. Jesus is the prototype of all good shepherds, but he is the unique gate into salvation.

Focus on the three contrasts. What do you learn about shepherding from each:


Good Shepherd

Stranger: sheep do not know his voice

sheep know his voice; he calls them by name

thief and robber: comes to kill and destroy

comes to bring abundant life

hired hand: survival is his top concern

lays down his life for the sheep

the sheep aren’t his

he owns the sheep; he is invested in them

flees in danger

protects the sheep, doesn’t flee

ü How do thieves steal the sheep? carry them off—separating them from the flock, not leading the flock away.

ü What is the difference between the shepherd and the thief in their posture toward the sheep? needy vs. abundance. The thief is hungry, waiting for a meal. The shepherd has talents and food to spare to give to the sheep and to provide for them.

ü Hired hand? no loyalty to the sheep, doesn’t care ultimately—just punching a clock, its simply a job. The hired hand looks just like a shepherd when things are going well. He shows his true colors when things start looking dangerous—when faced with conflict, potential pain, a risk time demanding courage, which the hired hand doesn’t have.

ü What did “the shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” mean to Jesus’ first hearers? the good shepherd puts his life on the line—he risks his life. (Post resurrection we can understand this with greater significance, but to these people, they would still hear this as the risk of a loyal shepherd.)

ü The loyalty of the sheep for a good shepherd is well placed—he will not leave them.

What is the danger of the wolf? Snatches one, but scatters the rest. That is the real danger. Once the sheep are scattered, they are in trouble. They become wolf-bait. Even four or five sheep are still no match for a wolf. (“OK, guys, we must organize. Joe, you be the ‘bait’” ."Why do I always have to be the bait?” etc.)

Results of bad shepherding: the sheep flee, scatter, die

ü v15: God is the model for Jesus: He shepherds Jesus the way Jesus shepherds people.

ü Just as Jesus learned from God, so we learn from Jesus. We know what it means to shepherd people by being shepherded by Jesus.

How do we come to know Jesus’ voice? Scripture—Jesus does speak through his words in scripture. Prayer—There are some sheep who are Jesus’ sheep, who know his voice and won’t be led astray. Yet some of Jesus’ sheep will be endangered by wolves, etc.

For us as shepherds: What is the difference for IV staff between us as hired hands and as shepherds? What would it look like for a staff to be a hired hand? What would be the difference in mind set, lifestyle, outlook, choices?

ü no sense of ownership of students, no care

ü just a job, 9-5, punching the clock

ü at different times of the year I can feel like a hired hand.

ü On Friday night of a weekend conference, I am pumped and ready to shepherd the flock of God in my care. By Sunday afternoon, I want to punch the clock and go home, and forget the concerns of the flock. I have become a hired hand.

What happens to the mentality of shepherds sliding over into hired hands?

ü Pain in ministry regularly leads to a professionalization of ministry—tending toward hireling relationships. A defense against the painfulness of relationships and really caring.

ü Someone could start out as a shepherd and end up as a hired hands.

ü This is a pretty common experience. Pastors who began caring, but realized to care hurts, to care wearies. Pretty soon you learn how to survive—that is what the hired hand is good at:


ü Some of the biggest threats in ministry come from the sheep. Becoming a hired hand by wanting their approval and therefore not really treating them like my own—not really caring about their best interests—not saying what needs to be said.

ü Sometimes to be faithful in ministry it may cost you your relationships, or professional acceptance.

A hired hand has neither a desire to lay down his life for the sheep, nor a confidence that God is his Good Shepherd. If “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing", then you can give of yourself to your sheep—you don’t have needs that the sheep are expected to meet. Being a shepherd in a process which involves “soul restoration” .If I am a shepherd 9-5, but then need to take a break from shepherding in order to recover, then I am really just a hired hand. But if my life as a shepherd includes an ongoing restoration process, then I don’t have to protect my life from my shepherding. I can be a shepherd without punching a clock.

When does the hired hand look like a shepherd? When there’s no danger or risk and his life isn’t on the line.

Random comments on hired hands:

ü Two different people can have the same kind of schedule and one may be a hired hand and another a shepherd. It is all a matter of attitude.

ü Simply needing solitude is not a sign of hired hand activity.

ü There is a natural inertial slide toward a hired hand mentality for us as shepherds. Many people in ministry begin as shepherds but end as hirelings—caring becomes too costly, too tiring. The tendency toward professionalization.

ü Professional vs. “amateur”: amateur from the Latin lover. An amateur is one who is a shepherd out of the love of it, a professional is one who is a mercenary, doing it (as a hired hand) for the money only. We want to be lovers, amateurs.

Ezekiel 34:

What do you learn about shepherding from this passage?

ü shepherds have responsibility

ü very active, not passive: search, healing, restoring, feeding

We learn about shepherds from what? bad examples—negative images What is bad about these shepherds?

ü They eat the sheep but they don’t feed the sheep.

ü They ignore the needs of the weak. The injured should bring out a compassionate response;

here the response is the opposite. The shepherd is not invested in the sheep, so impatient with the fact that the flock must move more slowly because of the weak. (Have you ever had a handicapped/blind/deaf person in your fellowship? How does it feel? How do other leaders tend to respond to them?)

ü They rule with force and harshness. (Contrast to Ps 23.) We can rule with force and harshness by being impatient at people who mean well but are slow, unpopular, awkward, not fun to be around—people who do not “feed” us socially. So we can show impatience, communicating to them that we would rather they not slow us or the group down.

ü They allow the sheep to be scattered. The worst thing that can happen to a flock. If a wolf comes in, it can get one, perhaps two sheep at most. If the sheep are scattered, the wolf can eat for a month, one sheep per meal, no rush, no danger to the wolf. What kinds of things scatter a flock?

ü Over-commitment, poor shepherding, lack of love on the part of leaders and staff, poor follow-up, leader burnout and leader unfaithfulness, poor communication

What will God do with his sheep?

ü take them away from the bad shepherds

ü gather them: undo the scattering process

ü feed, heal, bind, seek, strengthen

ü God’s solution is immediate: to become a shepherd and then to appoint good shepherds (beyond the end of this passage)

ü How do we as shepherds eat sheep vs. feeding them? let’s be creative with ways to serve them… up as dinner. Eating sheep is bad; how might we be tempted to “eat” them?

1. treating students as peers, expecting from them what they cannot give us. Which is different than saying that students can become partners. They don’t begin as partners. For example, friendless and partnerless and alone on our campus, we stop by someone’s room and we sit down and say “Oh, its been a hard day” and just pour out our woes to them. Vs. as people mature and grow welcoming them into our friendship and increasing partnership. Eating sheep by using them for our emotional needs.

2. “needing” a leader and putting people into leadership who are not ready. “We need you” or “your dorm BS needs you” .We don’t need anyone to be in leadership, at any level, at their expense. Better to have people not be and wish they were rather than to be in leadership and wish they weren’t .But we should never get to the point where leadership seems contrary to people’s growth—or then they definitely should leave leadership.

3. Manipulation of people to get them to do what we want them to. Temptation to munch people in order to fill a quota at a conference. Sometimes the process of getting students to a conference can be worse than them not going at all. Better that they not go and regret it than that they go and resent you.

4. Romance. The temptation to see the sheep as romantic prospects. Even for married staff its an issue: attention from attractive females is ego-satisfying. How do I treat younger women as people not as objects.

5. Being power-hungry, wanting to rule with force and harshness. The good shepherd is a servant, the sheep’s loyalty is well placed. Just because we are staff, sometimes we receive more trust than we have actually earned.

ü Being motivated to seek the lost and wounded sheep: At a conference I am willing on Friday night to rally and try to look for the students that are on the fringe of the group and need help to be welcomed in to the group. But by Sunday I often am ready to relax with the insiders, to leave the conference in the Staff car as opposed to the bus, and close down. My shepherding instincts are operating at some times in high gear, but at other times I don’t really want to take the responsibility to look for the lost, bind up the wounded.

John 21:15-19

Which is it? “Peter do you love me more than these fish?” “more than you love your friends?” “more than your friends love me?” (which is what Peter was saying the night before he denied Jesus). Here we see Jesus reinstate Peter after his painful denial.

What do we learn about shepherding from this passage?

ü Jesus isn’t the only one who is supposed to do it.

ü Caring for Jesus’ sheep is how we live out our love for Jesus.

ü Do you love me? = feed my sheep = follow me = do what I do = be a good shepherd = lay down your life for my sheep.

Acts 20

ü What do we learn from Paul as an example of a shepherd?

ü they know how he lived (v18); he lived it consistently. His life as a model was both accessible and attractive. He lived near enough to them that they could tell that his life was consistent, that the things he said about his love for God and people matched his actions. This is crucial for shepherding, and especially for leadership development (or staff development, for that matter). Staff need to live lives that are accessible (not seeing students for just ninety minutes/week) and attractive (not always complaining about their lives or worrying about burnout).

ü he did not shrink from declaring anything that was profitable (v20)

ü therefore he was innocent of their blood (Ez 33:6)

ü served the LORD w/ humility & tears (v19)

ü he admonished w/ tears and compassion (v31)

ü he met his own needs so he could give rather than receive (v35)

ü points them to God (v32,24)

ü he interprets his own model: he doesn’t leave them guessing as to his motives (v33-35)

ü foresight, warnings (v29)

ü What are some of his attitudes?

ü humility, “all humility”

ü self-denial, v34

ü with tears: compassion, he really cared for them, cried over them. He was deeply involved with the people. Not simply a “professional.” He didn’t live a self-protective lifestyle.

ü blessed, joy: he wasn’t ripped off through this process: not a monastic life of asceticism; rather passion and fullness.

ü What else do we learn? He declares, testifies, teaches, goes house to house What is the sense of that? advance of the gospel, urgency, constancy, boldness. It seems that this is all he thinks about. He is fanatical about this stuff. He is forceful, determined. He says, “I gave you everything I got from God.” Which is different from saying, “I gave you all you need” or “all there is.” Paul simply believed that he had discharged his call by not holding back. He didn’t think things but shrink back from saying them because they were hard. He is not fearful that the work is fragile and will collapse in his absence, though he is clear about the danger from the wolves. He explains himself as an example. What is the significance of that? Why would he have to do that? people might not get it unless he tells them. He wants others to be doing it to. He is generous with them, he wants them to become generous with others (not simply to reciprocate with him, which might be what they would have concluded). Suppose he just taught them this? “One should help the weak"— They wouldn’t know what it looks like—they wouldn’t understand what he meant. Suppose he just modeled it? they’d think:

“Paul is a really nice guy. He is very generous.”

If he just teaches it---no credibility. “Who are you?” “What does this look like?” “Sure, Paul, it is

easy for you to say, but…

IS NOT ENOUGH. ACTIONS ARE NOT SELF-INTERPRETING. We servant-leaders know how to be long on servanthood and short on interpretation. We are willing to model all day,

If he just models it---particularized, not reproducible: MODELING

but not to interpret for people what we are doing and why we are living like we do. People just conclude, “What a great guy!” Rather, we want them to conclude, “What a great God!” So we must tell them how blessed we are by living by faith in this way.

ü How does the Holy Spirit make us overseers of a flock?

ü God does a work in our hearts, to give us perception of needs and a heartfelt desire to enter

in. “Compassion

sheep without a shepherd.”

ü God does a work in the hearts of the flock, opening the hearts of people to whom God is calling us as shepherd. (v37—weeping among them because Paul was leaving them) It seems like God needs to do both of these things to confirm a call to us to the role of pastoral oversight. Our first visit to Harvard, we prayed, “God, give us compassion for Harvard students.” We didn’t really expect this prayer to be answered—we were prejudiced against what we expected from Harvard “snobs” .God clearly answered this prayer and confirmed our call to Harvard.

What does Paul say about why he is earning his way? so he can in all things help the weak. As he lives this way they have no clue what is on his mind, what he is thinking. (Compare this passage with the upper room discourse in John. Jesus, at the end of his time with his disciples, says repeatedly, “I tell you these things so that your joy may be full… I tell you these things so that you may believe… so that you will have confidence in me… If it were not so I ”

would not tell you these things is not enough.)

He says, “As I have served you, serve one another.” Modeling

ü He warns them of the wolves. Two warnings:

1. outsiders: wolves that will come in among you. Paul, as Saul, was this at one time.

2. insiders: people speaking perverse things from among your own selves

ü Why does he say, “I know that savage wolves…”? How does Paul know about these dangers?

ü he has seen this happen to other groups

ü he has faced it himself

ü he has seen traces of it in this group of elders Not necessarily has Paul received a personal vision from God, but simply that Paul, as a shepherd, knows these paths, has traveled them before, and knows what is up ahead for the Ephesians. Foresight: Paul’s ability to see what others cannot see. This is what makes him a leader. Apart from foresight, leaders cannot lead. Wolves: people who are getting inappropriate needs met through their leadership experience. They hunger for approval or acceptance or self-worth and strive to receive these extrinsic rewards from the experience of leadership. Of course there are intrinsic rewards of leadership (e.g., v35), but wolves see people as the meat of their own appetites.

Why does he tell these people this? Because they don’t have foresight. To empower them, so that they can lead the sheep. Then they will know what to look out for.

What does he want them to do? remember, remember, think back on my model. For example, when with a student who has seen my generosity and wants to take me out in return, articulating

that the real goal of my generosity is not so that the student will pay me back, but that he/she will pass it on to others, as I have passed on others’ generosity to me.

ü This is an area of weakness for staff. We are pretty good at modeling, but we just don’t talk about it. This is especially true about lone staff. It is easier to talk about another partner’s generosity as an articulated model.

Another way to put this: Our model will influence the people most closely around us, the two or three people with whom we have most closely worked. But our articulation of the model will clarify it for those people, but also will begin to give it categories for people who have experienced it from us. It will broaden our ability to have influence. As we articulate what we have modeled, it will move them all further faster. Then the younger leaders can not only learn how to model servanthood, but can learn how to articulate servanthood as a model.

E.g.: II Tim 2:2: What you have learned from me in the presence of many witnesses, teach others that they may teach still others. He doesn’t just model, he teaches in public. Paul’s articulation of his model is a crucial aspect of his shepherding. Likewise with his warnings: his foresight for the flock at Ephesus doesn’t do them any good unless he articulates it.

Having the eyes of a shepherd involves knowing when to articulate what about the model you (or others) have been.

What about “I am innocent of the blood of all of you” ?What does that mean? relates to proclaiming and declaring—he is not responsible for those who reject the message of the gospel.

How could he be held responsible, it seems? if he had shrunk back from declaring the whole counsel of God. The watchman, Ez 33:6, also Ez 34, “I will require the sheep at their hand” .If the watchman sees danger, tells people, and they disregard the warning it is their problem. But if the watchman sees danger, but does not warn the people—they still die, but the watchman is held responsible.

ü Paul says, “Everything I got from God I gave you.” Paul didn’t hold back, didn’t fear losing a popularity vote. Paul feared his guilt more than he feared their judgment of him. Paul played to an audience of one. His only audience is God. Paul has a sense of urgency and a sense of totality about what he is doing. He didn’t leave out the hard stuff.

I Peter 5

What is the point here? we have a reward coming. There are proper and improper motives for shepherding. We often forget that there is a reward promised. Yet there is a proper gain and also a shameful gain, an improper reward. CS Lewis’ image of the motives for marriage: to marry for money is considered improper and mercenary==>shameful, but to marry for love is proper. Both expect to have a reward, but to marry for love brings the proper reward. Likewise for a shepherd, there are proper rewards, but there are also shameful reasons for being a shepherd.

Proper motives for shepherding

Improper (sordid) motives for shepherding

ü the chance to grow in faith

ü recognition or status

ü an ability to see God at work

ü privilege or money

ü deepen relationships with people

ü romance, seeking approval, being well liked

ü grow in capacity for love: even our ability to love our parents and families grows when we grow as shepherds

ü power: social, intellectual, emotional

ü crown of glory that doesn’t fade: fruit that lasts

The chief shepherd: we never graduate from sheep-dom. We too are under leadership, we need shepherds, we are still sheep. What is the constraint? family, peer pressure. Perhaps in a fellowship “maturity” means becoming a BS leader. Constraint implies an external motivation, not an internalized motivation.

Shameful gain == being a hired hand Shameful gain: recognition that comes from status in the culture you have chosen to live out your life. Extrinsic rewards: marriage prospects. Viewing your sheep as romantic targets. All these focus on the motive of a shepherd: willing, eager, servant. An example to the flock.

What are the warning signs of improper motives for shepherding?

ü resentment of other leaders

ü impatience at the flock

ü people desiring influence without paying the cost

ü prayerlessness

ü domination and control, ruling with force and harshness


ü How difficult is it to “admonish day and night”? we go through times of day-and-night admonishing, especially on the mission field.

ü Focusing on shepherding a flock, vs. shepherding individuals. Let’s consider the concept of wolves and sheep who become wolf-like. People who look like they are part of the flock, but are dangerous to the flock.

The hardest thing about this is that the sheep cannot tell the difference between sheep and wolves. They do not necessarily know that there is danger ahead. They may end up walking right into the mouth of the wolf.

“The flock that is in your charge", the flock over which God has put you: There is a sense that God has put leaders in charge over a particular flock. We are given as leaders some people that are in our charge. (Any flock has fringe—sheep who perhaps are not quite incorporated.) But any flock has dangers from within and from outside. Our job is not to shepherd all the sheep in the world, but it is to look with the eyes of a shepherd over the sheep in our flock. Dangers from outside (even other sheep from other flocks) as well as dangers from within.

There is a need for shepherd-like vigilance. We understand church discipline, but that happens in a church. Often in IVCF we are slow to apply this principle. For example, a leader who begins to date a frosh—eating the sheep. Or take leaders that have a history of broken relationships. There is a wolf-like quality to these people. Do we ignore them, or give only gentle encouragement? Or do we act to protect the flock, taking them out of leadership with the challenge to repent of the wolf-like activity? For the sake of the entire flock, we must act with the authority of a shepherd, not harshly or domineering.

ü The worst thing a shepherd can do is to allow the flock to scatter. A wolf can take one sheep, but if the wolf scatters the flock, he can eat for a month, just picking off a sheep at a time as they wander the hills and die.

When young Christians come to college they face perhaps the worst and most disorienting scattering they have ever faced. More than anything else they need to be gathered. There is so much that prevents their being gathered: academics, extra-curriculars, romance, all the distractions of the first year of school. Our fundamental job as shepherds is to gather them. After they are gathered then we can feed them, take them to good pasture. Before they are gathered all we can do is go out and look for them. We cannot take them to good pasture one at a time. We cannot make them lie down alone. We cannot keep them safe or protect them from wolves alone. For us as shepherds, our role is not a one-to-one life rescue mission. Sometimes staff work can feel like it is a one-to-one personal discipleship service being offered the community at large.

Gathering sheep: implied image from John 10, a sheep pen where sheep are protected and kept together. One of our jobs as shepherds is to build sheep pens, ways for the flock to stay together. Primarily that comes in the relational activities, like after-fellowship events. [Taking a group from BU to Harvard Square: literally building a flock-like quality into a group of previously un-gathered individuals. The physical likeness to a flock is a helpful one:

we are together, we are a thing, not just a bunch of scattered individuals who were here to hear a lecture.]

A Shepherding story Hans the Shepherd Boy retold by Ella Lyman Cabot (from Moral Compass by William Bennett)

Hans was little shepherd boy who lived in Germany. One day he was keeping his sheep near a great wood when a hunter rode up to him. "How far is it to the nearest village, my boy?" asked d the hunter "It is six mile sir," said Hans "But the road is only a sheep track. You might easily miss your way." "My boy" said the hunter "if you will show me the way I will pay you well." Hans only shook his head "I cannot leave the sheep, sir," he said. "They would stray into the woods and the wolves might kill them."

"But if only one or two sheep are eaten by the wolves, I will pay you for them. I will give you more than you can earn in a year." "Sir, I cannot go," said Hans. "These sheep are my master's. If they are lost I should be to blame." "If you cannot show me the way, will you get me a guide? I will take care of your sheep while you are gone."

"No," said Hans "I cannot do that. The sheep do not know your voice and

" then he stopped.

"Can't you trust me?" asked the hunter. "No," said Hans "you have tried to make me break my word to my master. How do I know you would keep your word?" The hunter laughed. "You are right," said he. "I wish I could trust my servants as your master can trust you. Show me the path. I will try to get to the village alone."

Just then several men rode out of the wood. They shouted for joy. "Oh sir!" cried one. "we thought you were lost." Then Hans learned to his great surprise that the hunter was the prince. He was afraid that the great man would be angry with him. But the prince smiled and spoke in praise of him.

A few days later a servant came from the prince and took Hans to the palace. "Hans," said the prince, "I want you to leave your sheep and come and serve me. I know you are a boy whom I can trust." Hans was very happy over his good fortune. "If my master can find another shepherd to take my place, then I will come and serve you." So Hans went back and tended the sheep until his master found another shepherd. After that he served the prince for many years.