Steps towards pastoring shepherd style

God has shown me a few examples the heart of which is to let the Spirit lead.

Yes you still need to lead but since you have been mostly revealing your own minds as a modern style pastor you will be disconnected from the minds of your sheep. This will leave you ill equipped to lead them to the biblical pasture that would address their minds need.

Your role changes from provider of truth, and oracle to the people to one of bus driver observer and security guard. You bring them to new pasture, you watch over them as they do their thing led by the Spirit and when is all is said and done you bring them back home to the safety of Christ Jesus.

  1. Enter into the Gates of Gods presence. The most effective way i have seen is to ask if anyone wants to thank God for something he has done in their lives since you last met. It may not be much at first and if nothing or little ask someone to offer up a scripture that has been on their hearts or a song that has been on their hearts. You will find this grows to into ministering to one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. If you give the spirit room you will get to watch him work. Do not be afraid to let this consume the entire time and then some if you are aware of the Spirit at work. God is not on our timetable. Just tell people if they need to leave they should feel free. Truth may be it gets better after some people go.
  2. Start taking the honor off of yourself. One way is by asking others who qualify as the least to read the scriptures for you. Ask for someone who has not read before and ask someone beforehand if they would volunteer to read if no one steps up. Get them comfortable with speaking the scriptures publicly, being focused on in regard to the things of God. – 1 Cor 12:23. Another way is by referring the answer to questions you receive to some of the smallest members of the body who you know can give a right answer. Then stand by them as they do. You are not pushing people off on someone else, you are demonstrating how to be a pastor of pastors and a leader for everyone else to see and emulate.
  3. Ask what people think about the scripture and let silence be your friend. Someone who feels their opinion would be unwelcome or that they are too small to share what they think, still is thinking something and they may only speak is when silence creates the space for them. Develop a level of security in expressing their minds. The goal is not to correct! The goal is to lead them to the right places so the Spirit can. You as a good shepherd need to learn what pasture they need to be bought to individually and as a group. You need to engage them in who they are that is found in what they think. If you want that missing connection this is where to start.
  4. Ask for different ways of thinking. You do not want the right answer! You want to know what they are thinking about. You need to know the health and maturity of the sheep you care for and this is how you do it! Do it by knowing what they are eating what they are chewing on inside of their minds. It is in the different ways of thinking that you find your answers to their health and maturity. The one who speaks an idea represents the many who are thinking it. They may have heard it on TV or at school, thoughts and ideas that they find themselves unequipped to handle or fit into their understanding of God and Jesus Christ. The goal is not to fix or correct but to offer them other food to chew one and let them chew on that and offer up their thinking of how the ideas go together and how they do not.
  5. Engage others as shepherds. This is important, one man can not care for 100 sheep properly. Jesus had 12. Within your group are others with the shepherds gift and you want to grow them because you need them to do your job right. You can start by asking the group for pasture (scripture) that pertains to the thinking expressed. Let them give verses not teachings or judgments. You will come to know them and rely on them to do your job for you most of time. Eventually you will come to call on them by name when needed. The goal is if someone weaker can give a good answer they should be the ones to answer, you should be the one to back them up.
  6. Manage the environment. This takes some focus and determination. This is where you earn you keep as a shepherd. Your primary job is to keep them safe while they chew their food. Do NOT jump in too fast to take down some false teaching expressed in the group, let them chew on it a bit and see who spits it out and who does not. Some people will be used to the old ways and want to be the oracles, be quick to shut them down making it clear in both word and deed that the ones who know the most, the greatest among you should be the last to speak on any matter. if that does not work interrupt them with statements like “Lets hear what some other people think”. You want to avoid shutting down the group or individual expression with judgments during the process. The singular goal is the consumption of the word and the expression of the minds and gifts of the sheep into an individual maturity. Most of this will just happen as the spirit flows and as you make room for it and a conductive environment.
  7. Dealing with the wolf. Satan has hooks into peoples lives, Christian peoples lives those hooks are our sins. As long as we are slaves to sin we will continue to sin and that sin invites the wolf to use us. So dealing with the wolf is dealing with sinners, some of whom may be Gods children still immature and playing around in the mud of this world. The Goal is to see them come in the wolf and deal with them as the a sheep in the wolf’s mouth. Some you may realize they are only ever coming as wolves, not meek, not learning, not forgiving. Those are just wolves and you should be man enough to remove them if you love the sheep. If you are unsure, assign them to a mature shepherd or take them on your self for a time to determine but separate them from the group or a minimum ask them not to speak anymore until after you have spent some time to understand them. You will get better at it as you do it, pray for understanding into the hearts of people but if you do not you will have failed as a Shepherd and that safe environment and growth will be lost as will many of your sheep.
  8. Bring them back home. Wherever you may take them in scripture and wherever they may roam from there always be sure to take them back home. Reconnect the scripture and ideas behind it back to Christ and their security and salvation in him. The bulk of the group from the place you brought them to. Then go after the those who wandered off into places that are not of god and address those ideas with Gods word and ways. This is the place for correction, confront the ideas presented with the word of God and add them to your list of things to revisit. Then offer to anyone who wants to discuss think more to contact you. Manage everyone into two to one connections: if they are really weak (conscience) or really strong (challenging). You can realize and cultivate people within the body if you can call on them for this job. Again you are not passing them off onto others. Have a private group with your people who have charges of care. What are they doing, how is it going, prayer, suggestions are they feeling overwhelmed are they making connection or loosing connection and what is their assessment. The goal is to do some life together and get connected and understand them at a deeper level so you can speak to who they are and who God intended them to become.
  9. Sending them out If you have a room full of heavy hitters spiritually and biblically adept you are wasting kingdom resources. Split them up, and move them around. Lazy shepherds have a tendency to hang around the sheep pen talking about sheep. Too many sheep in one pasture it quickly becomes barren. As soon as you have capable Shepherds that could take your place and a unity and agreement on how things should be for the benefit of the sheep and a fellowship of more they you can care for one on one its time to make a split. Do you want to manage the biggest flock or do you want the healthiest sheep that reproduce and increase your masters flock? IMO it is best to split them out by location since God knows where he has placed them and for what purpose. But as the Spirit leads. Eventually you would end up with your regular fellowship and your Shepherds fellowship.

This is the vision I have so far if you would like to share in it, contribute to it or try it out for yourself and share your experiences please do. It is a model of teaching more akin to the old style Hebrew schools. I plan to visit some such schools to gain more insight into how the the new testament church would have approached teaching.

Pastoring Shepherd style.

What I see today looks like a Shepherd running around with a lawn mower all week cutting and piling up grass and chewing on it until it all nice a squishy like baby food. Then come Sunday morning he gets all of his trained sheep, to line up in rows, sit down and open their mouths while his takes his pre-chewed food, puts it in and says, swallow and say amen! Its no wonder he ends up with 40 year old baby Huey sheep and a life spent changing adult diapers.

I know seems silly. But lets consider what Shepard’s actually do. They take sheep to a place they haven’t eaten up all their food yet and they step back in silence and watch and listen for trouble (wolves, poison plants, sheep wandering off, biting one another, getting stuck in the bushes). While the sheep wander about feeding themselves and having a good old time becoming good at doing what they where meant to do.

You see Jesus introducing his 12 sheep to new places with his questions and statements, you see them chewing it over among themselves. You see them coming back with questions and statement of their own for validation. Moving away from Shepherding (AKA Pastoring) to preaching to the sheep has resulted in a weak Church, unprepared, ill equipped, immature and largely powerless by biblical standards.

I think it is largely because leaders have bought into the traditions of the day becoming oracles and high priests after the the style of the roman temples. Some just lack faith in the Spirit and fail to trust to Him with the control. While others are in fear of being unable to answer well the ideas that others might introduce. Perhaps you are really not all that great of a Pastor and are not the best one for the job? The truth is the greatest pastor is the one who becomes no longer necessary but simply loved for who they have been. To peruse anything else is to be working against the kingdom.

Today the focus is on the greatest among us (supposedly) the man up front. We are not focused on the least and we need to turn that around. Your life as a Shepherd could be one of joy and celebration, watching the Spirit of God work and your people grow strong and ready for the times to come. Ready for the labors God has set aside for them.

Restore the biblical style of teaching. Put away the lawnmower, stop thinking you are the one it all depends on and get out of Gods way.

From here to there, steps to take towards Shepherd style pastoring(pasturing).

Why Faith?

Why does God require faith? It is a good question.

Faith is the ability of the heart to receive.

For example; when someone says they love you, your ability to receive that, and the depths it will reach inside of you depends on your faith. Faith: in yourself, in your experiences of them as individuals and your experiences in life.

The bible describes faith as the evidence of that which is unseen. That unseen evidence exists inside of us, we are guided by faith every day. Every time we leave the realm of our experiences we rely on faith. We open our hearts to one new thing and close it to another biased on that evidence within.

How can you believe in a God if you don’t have faith one exists?

How can you seek after a God without the expectation of receiving good?

These are the two preconditions for coming to the Almighty God which He has set down in His word the bible. These are simply truths about the nature of humanity and the capacity of the human heart to receive. Truths about how God created you.

But what if you don’t have faith?

Whats Next? How can you go from no faith to faith?