Our series for Pastor & People for November 2014 is:
“You Need More Than a Church: You Need a Shepherd”


We live in a day when some pastors live very extravagant lives and enjoy comforts away from the sheep. But despite this picture, true shepherding poses difficulty for sheep and shepherds.

Difficulties for Sheep

  1. Finding a shepherd is more difficult than you might think.
  2. Submitting to a shepherd’s care requires trust and vulnerability. Many sheep have been beaten and fed upon, and this naturally hurts the relationship between pastor and people.
  3. Idolizing the shepherd is a temptation for many sheep. But be careful to not make too much of the elders (or ‘shepherds’ as we’ve synonymously called them) as one can easily exalt them too high. This exaltation won’t be good for pastors’ souls or their relationship with the sheep.
  4. Lastly, their is a temptation to be overly disappointed with a shepherd. Yet the more you accept a shepherd and relate to him, the more you’re positioned to see their limitations and be disappointed. Remember: he’s just a man.

Difficulties for Shepherds

  1. Sheep bite.
  2. Sheep make a mess.
  3. Shepherds disagree.
  4. The more you see people’s sin, the more their load becomes emotionally heavy.
  5. Shepherds are not always appreciated, especially when they’re being corrected.
  6. The shepherd’s task is physically tiring.
  7. The shepherd’s task can often be lonely.
  8. Given the numerous gray areas of the ministry — the shepherd’s task is just plain difficult.

Resources highlighted in this post

  • Jackie Hill, “The Art or Joy” (get it for free from Humble Beast or support the sister on iTunes)
  • Jackie Hill on church hurt via Desiring God
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Thabiti M Anyabwile

Thabiti M Anyabwile

Thabiti is one of the pastors of Anacostia River Church in Washington, DC and the president of The Crete Collective. He is the author of several books and as an introvert enjoys quiet things at home.

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