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There’s More To It Than Preaching!

Category Articles
Date February 1, 2011

There’s more to the ministry than preaching! We have to shepherd our people – all of them – as well.

A. Biblical foundations

[1] What it means ‘to shepherd’
Two key verses are Acts 20:28 and 1 Peter 5:2, both of which are found in direct addresses to elders. We are to look after the sheep.

[2] Who has to be shepherded
All the believers (including yourself and your fellow-elders) who the Chief Shepherd has put in your care. Every one!

[3] Why they have to be shepherded
He has purchased them with his own blood and doesn’t intend to abandon them to the wolves. Your shepherding is his means of keeping them persevering, and thus of ensuring their salvation.

[4] How they have to be shepherded
This is revealed by paying close attention to Acts 20:17-38 and 1 Peter 5:1-4.

B. Practical outworking

[1] You must know who is a sheep and who is not
We have to go by their credible profession. We evaluate this by biblical criteria alone. To do this properly, we need to get close to people.

[2] You must know each individual sheep
We must have an accurate and comprehensive knowledge of each individual sheep. We cannot do this while keeping our distance. We can only do this by taking time.

[3] You must take definite steps to ensure that each sheep is looked after
Here are some suggestions:

Preaching
A major part of our pastoral work is done through our teaching. This needs to be accessible to all and discriminatory in its applications.

The church
The church needs to be taught what ‘fellowship’ really is: it is a genuinely shared life. We must foster it. We must also keep people abreast of what is happening in other people’s lives.

The eldership
Elders can discuss every sheep as an individual and decide pastoral action, organise proactive visiting, pray together for everyone, and let the deacons handle everything that gets in the way of pastoring the flock.

Yourself
You can:

Other suggestions:

Plus all the thoughtful touches that show that you love and you care
Chief among these is giving all your attention to the person in front of you. Also phone calls, notes, e-mails, moments of prayer together, spontaneous visits, etc., relating to anything which the person concerned might see as an important event in their life.


Given at the Eccentrics Conference in Dinas Powis, near Cardiff, in January 2011.

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