9600 E Mill Plain Blvd Vancouver, WA 98664  (360) 892-5520

How Shall We Shepherd?

1 Peter 5:1-4
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 

What does it mean to be a shepherd? Why does the church need shepherds? How are the shepherds of Jesus’ church to function? These were all questions that the Leadership Team and their wives discussed over the course of this past weekend during the annual leadership team retreat. Here’s where our conversations landed:

Church Shepherds are to Lead.
Jesus has set Biblically qualified elders over His church (see Titus 1, 1 Tim. 3) to lead them. But leadership is far more than speaking true things. A shepherd who only speaks to the sheep but never jumps into action is only kidding themselves. Jesus calls the leaders of His church to lead through the example of their lives and through the truth of their words. And it’s hard to do either of those things if the leaders are not known! The leadership team is to be a team that is known personally in such a way that their speech and actions help the flock to mature in their faith, and stay the narrow path that leads to life.

Church Shepherds are to Feed.
The leadership of Jesus’ church is to feed the flock. But, as we all know, what you eat makes a big difference. The elders of the church are therefore to feed the flock with what is good, and beautiful and true – which only comes through the goodness, truth, and beauty of the Scriptures. But, importantly, if the shepherds themselves don’t have healthy diets of the Scriptures, they won’t be able to feed the flock. So, in feeding the flock of God – each shepherd of God’s church is to be filled with the knowledge of the Scriptures so that it is the main thing they feed the flock – not their own wisdom, but God’s.

Church Shepherds are to Watch.
Elders are to watch. Far from simply supervising – this is an active watching, a watching that requires knowing. This means both knowing the flock AND the burdens they are carrying – who the vulnerable ones are, etc. Furthermore, this active watching is constantly surverying for oncoming dangers – cliffs, wolves, and the like. The leaders at EBC are to watch in such a way that they are ready to help, and to care, and to defend the flock from the harm of outside forces. And, much more common, to watch for harm caused by internal factors within the hearts and lives of the congregation.

Church Shepherds are to Warn.
The leadership God has placed over His church is also used by God to warn His people. To warn them of steep gullies to the sides of the pasture, and of the lures of cultural ideologies, and the dangers of apathetic attitudes. The EBC leadership team is put in place by God to be a means of grace to the church, to keep them from the harm of the enemy that prowls around, seeking to devour the faith of those that lag behind or stray.

All things considered – the task is weighty, and not to be taken lightly. Recognizing this, the EBC leadership team knows who the true shepherd is, and we are glad to love and care for this flock with a humble recognition that this is God’s church. I can say with full confidence, the team that God has put over Evergreen is ready. Ready to continue the work of ministry, shepherding the flock eagerly because it is a PRIVELEGE to serve the living God and His church.

I speak for the whole leadership team in saying we love you, church. And we are freshly excited to serve this body by leading, feeding, watching, and warning.

In Christ’s Mercy,

Pastor Ryan A.

Categories: Evergreen Connection