Dan you just keep sourcing great and stirring articles….too bad we’re so far apart, would love to know you better.
“So, we have an epidemic of leadership in the church. Not because we value leadership, but because we have a current obsession with being leaders.” …..”we’ve forgotten our charter…”
The way of true Shepherds seems to be looked upon or treated as old school now and maybe somewhat of a hindrance to real missiological success not by direct admission or definition but rather the undeniable evidence of practice and deplorable care that is more in line with corporate American profit taking of which the article below is addressing. What exactly are we bringing the “lost” into? A deeper, further and more profoundly educated lostness?
Or are we laying out a thought out well travelled, robust plan to lead boys (like me) to become courageous men and girls to become courageous women (my wife). Citizens that attempt to love Jesus not only in our eschatological astuteness or being fully versed in the Doctrine of Sin and the multifaceted studies of the Attributes of God or the endless paralyzing pursuit and labeling of my many potentially unseen sins, important as these topics may be, they are NOT the full representative life giving Gospel. But dare I say, even more important to the Gospel and His purpose for us is learning and honing the craft and life skills of being Christ followers in living and carrying out our roles as men, women, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, boys, girls and grandparents, not to be relevant but to be real, open, transparent, feeling, vulnerable and weak in this very real, non-ethereal, messy life of which there are no do overs especially with regard to the effect or non-effect we have on others and the next generation going into a time we will never see. And from that platform of love, humility and selfless service to others, proclaim the good news of cancelled debt, the unburdened love of God that frees us to love, glorify and enjoy God forever beginning with our stay here, unencumbered by falsely and misplacingly emphasized weighty doctrines. It has proven a most prideful and crippling experience to live with a preoccupation with getting right the theology and knowledge of God and the specifics of my layered sins at the expense of learning the craft and life skills of being an astute follower of Christ in DOING His will with the help of His Spirit and other men who have done it well beside me or before me, weaknesses and all, not perfectly but with character. That’s the stuff of Biblical shepherds and sheep.
Found within the serious issues of Ezekiel 34 is this short list summary “Job Descriptions” of a shepherd. A resume of sorts to compare to, as described by the One who Himself appoints them by bringing and calling them out by His Providence, to the surface (obscure, faithful, unnoticed and of no real account men, men who already smell like sheep because it’s in their hearts and DNA):
“15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”
Grateful to say that through experience, I think that the quote way above (2nd sentence “So, we have….”) from the article is the unfortunate exception rather than the norm, thank God. The last paragraph is a killer one too.