Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles,
the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and
build up the church, the body of Christ.
- Ephesians 4:11-12
The gift of shepherding reminds me a little bit about the story of the lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7).
I tend to shy away from people when I go through a rough patch, and I find that most people do that nowadays. In congregations as big as ours it is just so easy to get lost in the crowd, which is why the gift of shepherding is such an important gift to have. We don’t all feel comfortable enough to ask for help. Sometimes you might not even know where to start, but the person with the gift of shepherding will wrap you in genuine embrace and guide you in the right direction.
And sometimes all you need is for someone to send you an email or text message. As an example, one of our mindful shepherds messaged me a few weeks ago, asking if everything is okay because she hasn’t seen us in a while.
By reaching out, she left her 99 other sheep for a bit and came looking for her missing sheep. That message was all it took to spark a conversation which helped me get to the answer I needed.
Just like Judas and Silas did in the book of Acts:
Then Judas and Silas, both being prophets, spoke at length to the believers, encouraging and strengthening their faith. (Acts 15:32 NLT)
Shepherds are caring people that build nurturing relationships with the ones that God entrusted to them. They take care of the whole person; they will probably make sure that you had coffee or lunch before they start discipling you! They take a real interest in your life and put great effort into getting to know you.
Here are just a few practical examples to show how you can use the gift of shepherding:
- Sunday school or Bible study group leaders
- Special ministry, i.e. youth groups, senior groups, or women’s ministry
- Helping in shelters, orphanages, or children’s homes
The gift of shepherding gets used outside of the church environment as well and gives us all the opportunity to demonstrate the Lord’s love through action. Whether it’s helping the less fortunate or raising your kids at home.
There’s a little bit of shepherding in every nurturing role that we take.
1. Is there a specific person that you would like to shepherd and how would you go about it? Think about a holistic approach, in other words, more than just a spiritual conversation.
2. Do you relate to the above-mentioned character traits and would you like to develop and practice your gift of shepherding? I want to encourage you to reach out and use this special gift. There are so many people that need nurturing nowadays. Speak to your local church or community leaders if you want to join an existing program. And if you feel the Holy Spirit nudging you towards someone, please heed the call! That person might just need your special shepherding gift.
We want to thank You, Lord, for the gift of shepherding and for the very special people that have received this gift. Without their nurturing and caring so many souls would have been lost. These are the people that take special care of and that build the body of Christ, equipping people to do God’s work. We ask You to bless their work Lord, and we ask the Holy Spirit to encourage more people to use their gifts in Your service.
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD? CLICK HERE
Want to know more about the Spiritual Gift of Shepherding? Check out this RESOURCE from Shepherds of the Lost.