Shepherding Ministry: General Ministry Desciption on How To Shepherd God's People

Shepherding Ministry Position:

The person engaged in shepherding ministry may be the pastor of a church, an elder in the church, a small group leader, a Sunday School or Bible study teacher, a discipler, a mentor, a parent, etc.

Shepherd Responsible To:

Anyone doing shepherding ministry is ultimately responsible to the Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4).

Conditions for Serving as a Shepherd:

First and foremost, this person, also a sheep, must be part of God's flock through a personal relationship with the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Loving the Chief Shepherd is a primary qualification for tending to His sheep (Jn. 21:15-17).

Purpose of shepherding ministry:

Tending to the spiritual welfare of believers over the course of time by watching over, guiding, and nurturing them, is intended to help the sheep become more Christ-like.

General Ministry Duties of a Shepherd:

(Scripture used below may be that which uses the example of the Chief Shepherd or may speak specifically of certain shepherds and are used here as a pattern for all shepherds.)

  1. Loving the sheep:
    • gather them to yourself and carry them close to your heart (Isa. 40:11)
    • build a personal relationship with them wherein you know them and they know you (Jn. 10:14)
  2. Serving the sheep:
    • not in it for what you can get out of it but for what you can give to them (1 Pet. 5:2)
    • willing to invest your life into the sheep even to the point of laying down your life for them (1 Thess. 2:7; Jn. 10:15)
  3. Being an example to the sheep:
    • lead by example, not force (1 Pet. 5:3)
    • pattern yourself after the Chief Shepherd so you are a good example (1 Cor. 11:1)
  4. Leading the sheep gently:
    • not pushing them by being impatient, demoralizing, or dictating but rather gently guiding with patience, affirmation, and communication
    • have a healthy balance between caring and leading (Isa. 40:11)
  5. Equipping the sheep:
    • teach them to be responsible so they can be discerning out in the world (Phil. 1:9-10; 1 Jn. 4:1), can triumph in spiritual warfare --awareness of danger, of the enemy (Eph. 6:10-18), and can feed themselves from the Word (Matt. 4:4; Col. 3:16)
    • avoid developing a dependency on you so you don't cripple the sheep from taking care of themselves when you aren't around
    • yet, remember that they are sheep who are prone to wander ... even when they seem to be doing well, keep your eye on them, check in with them, watch over them, and be available

Also Read: Specific Shepherding Ministry Duties

In addition to this content, the Shepherding Ministry Manual guides you through a study on the qualifications that should be in "shepherds of God's flock" based in 1 Peter 5:1-4 and thus incorporated into their ministry description.

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