Tips for Parents to Effectively Shepherd Their Children

Training Category: Shepherding Ministry

Parents Shepherd their ChildrenIf we liken parents’ role to shepherding (Deut. 6:4-9; Prov. 22:6; Eph. 6:4), then we must conclude that their responsibilities include what shepherds would do.

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Tips for Parents Who Want to Effectively Shepherd Their Children

Shepherds are most effective in fulfilling their responsibilities when they understand the condition of the flock (Prov. 27:23-24). The same is true with parents which might be applied as follows:

Parents must learn the personal bent of each child.

Train a child in the way he should go (according to his bent), and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Prov. 22:6)

Parents must discern what is in the heart of the child.

The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out. (Prov. 20:5)

Parents must be aware of the influences the child faces.

He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. (Prov. 13:20)

The above points are included in the Shepherding Ministry Manual that lists parenting as a shepherding venue.

Parents’ Role of Shepherding Children

Training Category: Shepherding Ministry

Parents Role of Shepherding ChildrenGod has given parents the primary responsibility for the spiritual nurturing of children (Deut. 6:4-9; Prov. 22:6; Eph. 6:4). The Church assists parents in this responsibility but parents are the ones to shepherd their children.

To Read: Shepherding Ministry Venue: Parenting

Resource: Shepherding a Child’s Heart Curriculum (link goes to an affiliate store)

What does parents’ role of shepherding their children look like when they take it seriously?

1) Parents who shepherd their children get beyond simply providing for physical needs to their emotional and social well-being but also providing for the nurture of their souls, for their spiritual well-being.

2) Parents shepherding their children work at protecting them from bad people or physical harm but also protecting them from the Evil One and a world view that leaves out God.

3) Parents who shepherd don’t focus primarily on children’s behavior but focus primary on their heart.

Resource: Parenting is Heart Work Church Kit (link goes to an affiliate store)

4) Parents who are shepherds move beyond merely telling children what they should do to showing them how through their own example.

The Shepherding Ministry Manual includes some information about parenting as a shepherding ministry venue. The above points are included in it.

Looking for a Mentor?

Looking for a MentorPerhaps you read the article on Mentoring Relationships as a Shepherding Venue and it stirred up a desire for that kind of guidance or ministry coaching. Or, maybe you read the posts listed below under Related Posts on older men and women mentoring younger, based on Titus 2, and sensed your own need to be mentored. But, how do you go about looking for a mentor?

Titus 2 does not directly speak to people who want to be mentored. It is more geared to leaders who are to teach older men and women to live godly lives, from the inside out, so that they will be good role models and encouragers of those who are younger. This passage does not provide instruction for how that connection is to be made but it could be used to help us know the kind of person who would make a good mentor.

Points to Consider in Looking for a Mentor

Generally a person of the same gender works best so as to avoid possible temptations and also not to give the wrong impression if seen together. Notice that Titus 2 links older women with younger women and also infers that older men are to be encouraging younger men in their walk.

Looking for a person whom you can respect because he/she lives a godly life lines up with the kind of people suggested in Titus 2.

Men who are “temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance” (Titus 2:2)

Women who are “reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good” (Titus 2:3)

The person doesn’t always have to be physically older than you but spiritually and experientially more advanced. You may not always be able to find someone in the same line of ministry with more experience but do need someone able to point you to God as you seek to learn and grow in your walk.

Someone different than you, yet not so different you can’t gel, will tend to bring the greatest challenge to your life. You want a good fit, which isn’t necessarily someone just like you, but rather a person who is able to stretch you so you can grow.

Plan for Finding a Mentor

You might want a step by step plan for finding a mentor. However, passages like Titus 2 and others used to suggest the need for mentoring, do not provide instructions for how to make that connection. Titus 2 addresses leaders who are to teach older men and women to live godly lives, from the inside out, so that they will be good role models and encouragers of those who are younger. It does not directly speak to people who want to be mentored.

Consequently, the best way to find a mentor may be to pray about it and trust God to open the doors. Remember what God says about making decisions:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6)

After praying, ask those you sense would be a good mentor to pray about if it is something God would have them do. Perhaps ask a few people and then give time and space for God to work in their hearts about it. You may also want to ask your Church leadership to pray with you about this as well. Continue in prayer yourself that God would motivate the right person.

Certainly you should want someone who not just wants to mentor you, and is ready to mentor, but also whom God deems to be the best fit. Be aware, however, that He might raise up someone you would least expect. God sees the big picture. His choices may differ from our expectations. See 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 for how His standards differ from ours. Praying and trusting God in our pursuit of a mentor only makes sense.

For More on Mentoring: Resources for Discipleship & Shepherding Ministry

Environment Conducive to Spiritual Growth

As a Church we might be tempted to think we can merely provide some biblical content and maybe some “how-to” tips and people should grow spiritually as a result.  But, more goes into helping people grow than providing knowledge. We also need an environment that is conducive to spiritual growth.

Qualities that Tend to be in an Environment that is Conducive to Spiritual Growth:

Environment Conducive to Spiritual Growth
(Click to enlarge & repin in Pinterest.)

Grace-saturated

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12)

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Pet. 3:18)

Relationally supported

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Eph. 4:16)

Ongoing pursuit

In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world – just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. (Col. 1:6)

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.  (2 Thess. 1:3)

Well-rounded objective

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (Eph. 4:15)

Truth-based

so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God (Col. 1:10)

Holy Spirit empowered

Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? [ (Gal. 3:3)

keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. (Eph. 1:17)

Think about your church, or perhaps your small groups, in light of these qualities. Are you seeing spiritual growth in people’s lives?

Resource: The Teacher’s Role in Discipling Students Toward Spiritual Growth

Mentoring by Older Women

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women . . . (Titus 2:3-4a)

We hear the Apostle Paul’s exhortation for older women to mentor younger women. They have an experience base from which to pull much wisdom of how they learned to cope with the responsibilities of life. They can teach younger women what they gleaned from both their successes and failings.

Older Women Mentoring Younger Women

Click to enlarge image on Pinterest & repin.
But, older women mentoring younger women isn’t just about passing on “how to” be a good wife or mother. They are to also teach them qualities essential to being godly women. That is why Paul puts qualifications on the mentors. The church also has a responsibility to “teach the older women” to be a certain way so they can “teach what is good.” Notice that it is “then” that “they can train the younger women.”

To mentor younger women to “be” who they should be and not merely “do” what they should do takes more than words. It takes a role model, someone who lives what they say, to “train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands” (Titus 2:4-5).

  • If young women are to learn to be godly from their mentor, then they need mentors who are “reverent” … consecrated to the Lord.
  • If young women are to learn to be submissive from their mentor, then they need to see that reverence in their mentors spill over into “the way they live” in relationship with others. Submission grows out of respect.
  • If young women are to learn to be kind and pure from their mentor, then they need a mentor who does not “slander” or demean others through gossip or other negative words.
  • If young women are to learn to be self-controlled from their mentor, then they need a mentor who is not “addicted to much wine” or any other vice or bondage.

Do you have, or want to begin, a mentoring program at your church for women? Following are three questions for you to think through to line up what you do with Titus 2.

1) What criteria should be in a mentor?

Remember, more goes into mentoring than passing on life experiences so don’t make it about merely pairing up women based on who has been through similar life experiences. The mentor, according to Titus 2, should display certain qualities. Think through how you will know when an older woman is ready to be a mentor.

2) How will you recruit mentors?

Not all older women are qualified to join in such an endeavor. Think through how you present this opportunity to the older women of your church so you are not in an awkward position of turning some women away.

3) What training should be required of mentors?

Some older women are already godly or “reverent in the way they live” so they might not need as much teaching but should still go through training to remind them of what mentoring is all about. Think through what should be included in that basic plan.

Older women who do not meet the criteria of Titus 2 probably will not drastically change as the result of a few training sessions. Bondages are usually not easily or quickly broken. Think through how you can extend prolonged teaching, perhaps counseling or they themselves being mentored, to help them become more godly.

Read More:  Mentoring as a Shepherding Ministry

Shepherding Ministry: Priorities

Shepherding Ministry PrioritiesThree times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him.  Three times Peter responded that he did to which Jesus told him to feed His sheep.

In a previous post we looked at how different Greek words were used for “love” in John 21:15-17, pointing to our motivations.  And in another post, we saw that two different Greek words were used for sheep … little lambs, sheep … indicating that those whom He entrusts to our care will be at different levels in their spiritual growth which must be taken into consideration when shepherding them.  Here we will make some conclusions about the priorities of a shepherding ministry by noting that two different Greek words are used for tending to the sheep.

v. 15 –  “feed [bosko] my lambs”
v. 16 –  “take care of [poimen] my sheep”
v. 17 –  “feed [bosko] my sheep”

The word “bosko,” which was used twice, alludes primarily to providing nourishment.  “Poimen” includes feeding but goes broader to overall care and is the same word used in 1 Peter 5 for shepherding.

Why didn’t Jesus use the same word, “bosko,” all three times for added emphasis? Maybe He wanted to communicate that the flock needs more than feeding.  They need to be protected and sometimes rescued.  They need to be cared for when injured and comforted when afraid.  Click on the link below to learn more about the needs of sheep and the implications for shepherding them.

Shepherding Ministry Duties

Why didn’t Jesus just use the word “poimen” all three times since it includes feeding? Jesus could be stressing the priority of feeding the sheep.  Overseeing the flock is important but of prime importance is feeding the flock.  Perhaps this is why one of the qualifications for leaders is to be able to teach (1 Tim. 3:2).  Remember, teaching is not limited to the pulpit or classroom.  There are many ways to teach (feed) others.

Feeding is a top priority because:

  • People need to become thoroughly equipped for every good work which comes through the Word. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
  • People need to learn to distinguish good from evil which requires constancy in feeding on the meat of the Word. (Heb. 5:14)

The more equipped and discerning people are, the better they are prepared to meet the demands of this life and be light and salt in this world.  Anemic believers do little to advance the cause of Christ. They are too weak and lethargic.  So, feed them. Tend to other needs as well. And, feed them some more.  Feeding must be a regular occurrence.  Feeding must get beyond the milk (basics) to the meat of the Word.