Illustration results for shepherding leadership
BLACKABY: WHAT DOES A CALLING LOOK LIKE?
Henry Blackaby shares from his book "The Power of the Call" pages 10-14 a clear picture of what one looks like who is called by God into pastoral ministry:
1. The pastor is chosen
2. He is chosen by God
3. He is chosen by God to be His servant
4. He is chosen by God to shepherd His people
5. He recognizes that God’s people are His inheritance, that they are God’s “special treasure” (Exodus 19:5-6).
6. He has integrity of heart.
7. He recognizes that his assignment will require “skillfulness of his hands” (hard work, consistent with his heart).
8. God calls his servants to be stewards (Acts 20:28-31)
9. God calls his servants to be spiritual leaders
a. You cannot do Kingdom work with the world’s methods.
10. The people are your ministry not the means you use to fulfill your ministry.
THE WEAK WILL SHAME THE WISE
We have to come to the realization that life is much more than brokenness. According to God’s word, we are vessels of honor which contain the power and glory of the Christ. I, too, have had a problem with such thinking throughout the years. How can I, a vessel of honor for God, be fractured and imperfect?
But then I recall biblical characters such as King David. Truly he was a vessel of honor. He was a man after God’s own heart. He embodied the tenacity and fortitude to lift honorable praise and adoration to his fortress and shelter, God. But yet I can also recall that even David had his failures and his times of disgrace. He, too, was known for his immorality in the forms of adultery, conspiracy, murder and concealment of the facts. Even so, God still used David for his glory and honor by allowing him to pen such beautiful words as the Psalms. Beyond that, after seeking forgiveness and repenting openly, God permitted him to continue as Israel’s greatest leader of all times.
Then there was Moses, a mighty man of valor. A man that took great thought towards his leadership capabilities and the responsibility he had as a caretaker. So overwhelmed with his job that he, too, overstep his bounds and crossed the line. Through a moment of anger he slew the life of a fellow human being and then ran to hide from his crime. Yet, God saw fit, after years of softening his heart in the fields of shepherding, to call him forth as a powerful deliverer of his own people, Israel.
Even during that journey from Egypt to Canaan, along with those he was leading, was disobedient to a gracious God and still had to suffer a few consequences for those choices. Yet, God never left them helpless and alone.
There is also the Saul who thought that he was confident he was doing God justice by persecuting the early church and its leadership; sometimes even leading to stoning to the death those who called themselves “Christians,” followers of the Christ. He felt warranted to do such inhumane mistreatment by God’s mandate to sustain his cases of harassment against these so called “perverters of the Law of God.”
But once blinded by the light of the Christ on the road to Damascus and a definite change of heart, Saul became Paul, one of the greatest apostles of all times. He was encouraged to found numerous churches throughout Asia Minor and credited for such, even in Spain. He also was granted the right to author several letters that made their way into the canon of writings that now make up the New Testament.
And we certainly can’t overlook the ladies either. Mary Magdalene, even though her life apparently started out on the wrong foot and she most likely had chosen a questionable livelihood, she still became one of the most prominent disciples of Jesus. She was so thankful for his life-giving and life-changing teachings, that she relinquished her past and became a new person in and through him. And then she finally was privileged to be one of the first evangelists that early Easter morning after speaking to her Lord in the garden.
Listen carefully again to a portion of our text for today: “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen.”
Yes God has always used worn, broken clay vessels for his honor and glory and still does. God has not changed, he still takes what we given him, our imperfections and flaws and remakes us into useful earthen pots that contain the precious gospel on the Christ. He then grants you and me the tenacity and fortitude to lift honorable praise and adoration to his fortress and shelter, God. He has given to us the call to be deliverers of those bound in the chains of sinfulness through the use of the message of salvation entrusted to us. In His fullest of intentions, God also wants you and me to be great messengers of the faith, telling all those about us of the justifying acts of God through his own Son, Jesus, the Christ. He has privileged us with the ability to become evangelists beginning in our own homes, families and neighborhoods, sharing the Good News that Jesus is alive and well and that he still wants to be their and our friend, no matter where we may have come from or what kind of life we have lived.
Remember, God is still using our foolish lives to discredit those who are pretentious and haughty. He has selected those who think of themselves ineffectual and inadequate to amaze those who believe they are immovable and invincible. He elects to use those the world often classifies as infamous and unlovable.
The Scottish preacher John McNeill liked to tell about an eagle that had been captured when it was quite young.
The farmer who snared the bird put a restraint on it so it couldn’t fly, and then he turned it loose to roam in the barnyard.
It wasn’t long till the eagle began to act like the chickens, scratching and pecking at the ground. This bird that once soared high in the heavens seemed satisfied to live the barnyard life of the lowly hen.
One day the farmer was visited by a shepherd, who lived in the mountains where the eagles lived.
Seeing the eagle, the shepherd said to the farmer, "What a shame to keep that bird hobbled here in your barnyard! Why don’t you let it go?"
The farmer agreed, so they cut off the restraint. But the eagle continued to wander around, scratching and pecking as before.
The shepherd picked it up and set it on a high stone wall. For the first time in months, the eagle saw the grand expanse of blue sky and the glowing sun. Then it spread its wings and with a leap soared off into a tremendous spiral flight, up and up and up.
At last it was acting like an eagle again.
HELPLESS ON MY OWN
Philip Keller was a sheep rancher. In his book, "A Shepherd Looks at the Twenty-third Psalm," he says that sheep they require more attention than any other livestock. They just can’t take care of themselves.
Unless their shepherd makes them move on, sheep will actually ruin a pasture, eating every blade of grass, until finally a fertile pasture is nothing but barren soil. Sheep are near-sighted & very stubborn, but easily frightened. An entire flock can be stampeded by a jack rabbit.
They have little means of defense. They’re timid, feeble creatures. Their only recourse is to run if no shepherd is there to protect them. Sheep have no homing instincts. A dog, horse, cat, or a bird can find its way home,...
When the wise men come to Jesus, they bring three gifts: Gold, which is the gift for royalty, a gift for a king. Incense, which was for divinity, a gift you give a God. And myrrh, which is a funeral gift, a gift used for burial. Their gifts show amazing insight.
At first hearing, you might think these gifts were a lucky coincidence. They’re not. God set up the events of Christmas in such a way that you would know that He was carefully orchestrating each element of it, years in advance. Nine months before Christmas, God sent an angel to tell Joseph and Mary about the birth of His Son. Christmas night, God sent angels to communicate with shepherds about the birth of His Son. Hundreds of years before Christmas, God sent a holy man – Daniel – to the eastern peoples to prepare their highest caste, their wise men, (court advisors to the king) to respond to the birth of His Son. God communicated to the wise men that the Messiah would be king and God, and that He would come to die. Through a combination of Daniel’s leadership, Hebrew Scripture, and the tailor-made revelation of a star, these wise men knew as much or more about the nature of the Messiah as the Jewish people.
Fred Smith, in his book Learning to Lead wrote “The shepherd or pastor’s ultimate goal is not to please the sheep but to please God.” Cecil Paul the Author of Passages of a Pastor says that pastors need to free themselves from and I quote “The Tyranny of Evaluation.” Tim Hansel writing in his book, Until Further Notice Celebrate writes that we need to realize that "we are playing to an audience of one"
Pastor Leadership Styles
Shepherding-loving, nurturing, community-driven 55%
Bridge Building-good personality, create consensus, being people together 53%
Directional-seeks next logical move, searches for right path 44%
Team Building, matching people/jobs, expects it done, hands off tasks 38%
Visionary-powerful vision caster, knows what he/she wants 36%
Managing-works behind the scenes, knows systems, is process-oriented 21%
Strategizing-divides vision plans into achievable chunks, project leader 18%
Reengineering-stirs things up, then arranges them, good in crises 13%
Motivational-may not know big picture but reads people well 11%
Entrepreneurial-creates many projects, may later lose interest 11%
(Your Church 1/2-04)
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A SHEPHERD
With a spring in his step and an eye to the sky, at sunrise, he makes straight for the sheep fold. As soon as he rattles the gate, he gives his morning call, greets the sheep, often by name, every sheep is on its feet. They spring toward the gate, with expectancy written on their faces and in their eyes, another great day on the range with their loving shepherd leading the way to fresh grass and cool water.
How they eagerly bound through the gate, one after another, the younger lambs and yearlings with a skip and a bound of sheer joy, pleasure, and playfulness, the older sheep in a more sedate and dignified manner, as if reserving their energy for the demands of the long day ahead.
The sun peeps over the hilltop horizon to make jewels of the dew on the bushes, the ground grass and tussocks. The air is clear, brisk, and bright. The wind has not yet arrived and there is a sense of peace all around. As the flock strings out, all is joy, abounding life, and togetherness.
The sheep follow after as the shepherd leads them along a different course in a new direction to feed on a fresh range that has not been grazed for months. The leaders are at first unsettled and seem to want to return to the old paths and the well-trodden ways, but they reluctantly follow the lead of their shepherd as he directs them to fresh, clean pastures and sweet grazing.
As they enter this new range, all is action. The flock comes alive. Each of the sheep tries to out step the others in a search of the first morsel—a sweet wildflower, a ripe seed head, a rich bottom clover, or a ground-hugging plant. Each tender morsel is nipped off on the move, a bite at every stride. What a joy to observe a flock of hungry sheep graze the fresh, sweet pastures.
It doesn’t last long. The first pangs of hunger are soon satisfied, and the mob aligns itself behind the active leaders. The lambs are ready for their morning treat: mother’s milk. This wonderful mother gives all to her twin lambs, as they grow bigger and fatter, while she becomes thinner, and until they almost lift her off the ground as they bunt and bump to bring down the sweet milk. No wonder she often lags a bit and appears exhausted, having to meet the insatiable demands of these ravenous “younguns” that never seem to get enough.
The leaders are either alone or have only one lamb to tend to. Often they are barren ewes, wethers [castrated sheep], or rams, with nothing to hold them back. They are often more selfish than the other sheep, who are making many sacrifices. They hurry on, run ahead, push and jockey for position, demanding the first and best morsel for themselves.
The shepherd is well aware of their behavior and knows all about it. Many times he will deliberately let them charge ahead and up a barren rock plateau, while he turns the tail of the mob and the stragglers into a path leading to the sweet side valley and into the rich pasture. Gradually he goes back to the greedy sheep and the leaders who are stringing out the flock and taking them in the wrong direction. The shepherd takes his time to turn them and to bring them back to join the others, being sure they have had ample time to nourish themselves on the first fruits.
As the day grows hotter and the sun climbs to its zenith in the clear, bright sky, the mob starts to search for shade—the shade of any tree or bush or overhanging rock—and each sheep shows signs of thirst with the drooping ear and the licking of lips.
The shepherd knows the range. He has walked the sheep paths long before any of his flock were born. He knows where the green pastures are and he knows where the fresh springs of water are. The way is not always easy.
Sometimes the sheep must be forced and persuaded to move down a steep, rocky path. It is often difficult going. They would much rather climb than to descend. It is their natural inclination. The rocky path is narrow. The rocky path is perilous. The rocky path hurts their tender feet. There is unnecessary crowding—and there is dust and there is heat.
Finally, they come to the low plateau and the lower ground. At last, around the bottom bluff, the spring gently gurgles, making a still pond of crystal clear water. The leaders call to the others, signaling the discovery of the water, and within a few minutes, all is contentment. Thirst is replaced with refreshment.
And what a sight! Each sheep takes its turn. Each sheep sips, rather than gulps. There’s no charging in, no shoving aside, no forcing itself ahead of the other. They wait politely one for another. They often take time to wet their silky muzzles, swish, and toss their heads, drinking slowly with no haste and great contentment.
Then it is siesta time, the sheep in the cool shade of boulders and bushes and trees, and the shepherd in the shade of a high point, where he can survey all the flock as they settle down for a 2 or 3 hour nap. At last the rams, the wethers, and the older sheep have found rest and relaxation. At last the lambs have quieted down, and are willing to leave their mother–ewes alone and undisturbed. A time for quiet. A time for rest. A time for meditation. A time for chewing the cud. No noise. No predators. No perils. No dangers. At last, near the soil, the grass, the water, the best part of the day. What a sanctuary for sheep and shepherd, and under his watchful eye.
It is mid-afternoon, and the first to move is the shepherd. The shadows are beginning to grow longer. The heat of the day is passed. And it is time to retrace steps back to home and to the sheepfold. The flock is slow to stir from its siesta. The sheep would remain where they were all day and into the twilight if the shepherd would let them, but it is time to depart and begin the journey homeward.
The leaders of the flock are started back first, along the path that leads homeward, and up the steep path. The rest slowly follow. On regaining the tops, the afternoon winds begin to stir. The stir becomes a strong wind and a gale, directly in the face of the flock, the dust flying and the hot air whistling straight into their faces.
How the flock dislike wind in their face! Always on the range they immediately turn their backs to the wind. But now they must take the wind head on. Why? Why doesn’t the shepherd let us go before it, turn our back to it, or lead us some other way? The answer is, although it be difficult, although it be hard, it is the way home to the sheepfold. If they linger, if they dawdle, if they are not there by sunset, the flock will become scattered, sheep will lose their way, and they will become prey for predators, for thieves, for robbers—who prefer the darkness to the light because their deeds are evil.
It is not an easy end to the day. Many problems have been faced, many dangers anticipated, many needs met, and the shepherd has had to be vigilant all the day long.
When the way is hard, the flock may often become quite unsettled, even when it’s on its way home. The shepherd observes a poor old ewe, limping along at the tail of the mob. He goes to her and finds a small hard stick between her hooves. He takes the ewe in his arms, holds her gently and reassuredly, and carefully removes...
Buster Pastors: The number of Busters (currently ages 20 to 38) who serve as senior pastors has doubled in just 2 years from 22,000 to 45,000 (nearly 14% of all 324,000 Protestant senior pastors in the U.S.). Buster pastors are more likely to use drama (32% to 21%); show movies, videos, and DVDs (30% to 21%); and tell stories (28% to 13%). They are more likely than Boomers to describe their churches as seeker-driven (45% to 33%) and theologically conservative (93% to 80%), while less likely to depict them as fundamentalist (33% to 40%). Young pastors are also more likely to say their primary ministry skill is leadership, administration, or management (18% of Buster pastors identified one of these skills, compared to 12% of Boomers and 5% of Builders). Young leaders rate themselves poorly when it comes to pastoring, shepherding, and counseling. Both Boomer and Buster pastors see themselves as particularly ineffective at fundraising and evangelism. Just 46% of Buster pastors currently have a seminary degree vs. 62% of Boomers. Young pastors are more likely to affirm children are being influenced by magazines, peers, television (including MTV), and the political domain. Boomers and Builder pastors are more likely to believe the church has significant influence in the lives of children and youth. (Barna Research 2/18/04)
DON’T JUST COUNT THEM, LOOK THEM IN THE EYE
An item in Leadership magazine illustrates the importance of giving attention to needs, not just to numbers. "During World War II, economist E.F. Schumacher, then a young statistician, worked on a farm. Each day he would count the 32 head of cattle, then turn his attention elsewhere. One day an old farmer told him that if all he did was count the cattle, they wouldn’t flourish. Sure enough, one day he counted 31; one was dead in the bushes. Now Schumacher understood the farmer: you must watch the quality of each animal. "Look him in the eye; study the sheen of his coat. You may not know how many cattle you have, but you might save the life of one that is sick."
Great advice, whether it’s for the Sunday school teacher or the pastor. A full class or a crowded church isn’t necessarily a healthy class or a spiritual church. To find out people’s spiritual condition, you must "look them in the eye." Then you can minister to their needs.
(From a sermon by Scott Chambers, "What’s the Significance of a Shepherd?")