The Art of Shepherding
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
As Christians, our calling, no matter what we are gifted with, is to love and care for the people of God.
The heart of Christianity is to love people. If you love the idea of preaching, writing, singing or counselling others more than you love people, your priorities need adjusting.
As soon as people distance themselves from the House they are vulnerable to every kind of attack. We need to do whatever it takes to gather the flock, connect them together and keep them walking in that way.
As much as there is a challenge to us of telling people about Christ, there is the same kind of resistance from the spirit of anti-Christ about contacting people about being in church. But this is our job. We are to overcome those fears and seek out people who are lost and bring them back, with a mixture of prayer, acts of kindness and encouragement we will achieve this.
It’s far easier to maintain a believer than it is to recover them, so consistency of contact is imperative.
Believers who are loved and cared for will bring increase to the House of God.
Every one of us need to get those people entrusted to our care along to the house of God.
We are sometimes so busy trying to reach the people who never come to church that we ignore the people who have been coming but who need just a little attention regularly to ensure they maintain the habit of being in church.
The Bible clearly outlines how we should shepherd those in our care:
‘For the shepherds have become dull-hearted, nd have not sought the LORD; Therefore they shall not prosper, nd all their flocks shall be scattered.’ - Jeremiah 10:21
2. Gather and Attend to Them
God is called the Chief Shepherd, the Good Shepherd and the Shepherd of His people. He is our example of what shepherding is all about.
’Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: "You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. …"But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds;’ - Jeremiah 23:2
You must gather and connect people rather than scatter and disconnect people. Our purpose as a shepherd is to see people in church.
Just as a car salesman's effectiveness would be measured by the number of cars he sold, or a builder by the number and quality of houses he built, or a runner by the time he ran his race, or a surgeon by their skill at saving lives, so a leader’s/shepherd's effectiveness is measured by their people gathering in church.
So the question we have to ask ourselves is, 'Are the people I'm leading actively engaged in church life?'
Things that scatter and disconnect include criticism, independence, isolation, division and disloyalty.
3. Bring Fruitfulness
‘…and they shall be fruitful and increase.’ - Jeremiah 23:3
This means we help people become fruitful by reaching their family and friends for Christ.
4. Feed them the Word and the Spirit
‘I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them’ - Jeremiah 23:4
Strengthen people with encouragement and positive attention, appreciation and recognition.
5. Speak Faith
‘and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed…’ - Jeremiah 23:4
Impart faith and promises from the Word of God.
Teach them the laws of provision and abundance.
‘nor shall they be lacking," says the LORD.’ - Jeremiah 23:4
Help people organize themselves financially, circumstantially, so they are well provided for by their own efforts.