God describes a shepherd’s job in in Ezekiel 34:11-16. The tasks are simple but quite clear. It is also clear that shepherding can be easily evaluated.
The spiritual health, well-being and productivity of the church will be determined by how well I do four things that matter:
- Lead the flock
- Seek the wandering
- Feed the sheep
- Heal the hurting
Four verbs: lead, seek, feed and heal. Each can be measured. Think about them with me.
Leading is influencing. Influence comes from what I do more than what I say. Leaders have a destination in mind. As a group, we are going somewhere. Where am I taking the flock?
Seeking the wandering. Shepherds seek one who is lost, even while 99 are safe. The shepherd’s work is not limited to the sheepfold. The lost are “out there.” In what way did I seek for the lost this week?
Feeding the sheep is not by accident. A shepherd plans the journey from one field to another. Am I preaching/teaching off the cuff, with every sermon the start of a new adventure? Do I know what the sheep need?
Healing the hurting is putting healing salve on wounds. A kind word, a gentle prayer, an act of kindness all salve the wounded soul. It seems correct that, “A man who preaches to hurting people will never lack for a congregation.” A shepherd is a healer.
I graded myself. Of the four things listed, there are two I find myself lagging in. I need to do better.
To learn more about how to be an effective pastor, read my blog series on “The Science of Shepherding.” My latest book titled The Science of Shepherding can be purchased at carltoncoonsr.com.