If you pastor, lead, or mentor others in the church then you are a shepherd. You are what the Bible refers to as an “overseer” (Acts 20:28) and those who are placed under your care are your sheep. A shepherd’s primary responsibility is to the safety and welfare of the flock. I our world, that means God has placed you to care for, guide, teach, protect, and know your sheep.
Don’t forget that shepherds are also part of God’s flock and in the context of small groups, small group leaders are sheep too.
Caring for sheep is hard work. They have a tendency to wander off and need guidance, they may even get into trouble and need your protection. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you lead your flock:
Care for your sheep
Small group leaders can appear to be very self-sustaining. On the surface, it may seem as if they are doing well and their group is going strong, but after a deeper look, the leader who appears to have it all together may actually be struggling. His group might be floundering while the members wallow in superficiality. Do not neglect regular one on one time with your leaders so you can care for their spiritual health.
Know your sheep
Do you really know your leaders? Do you know the names of their spouse and kids? Take the time to learn about their families, their struggles, and their prayer needs. Let Jesus be your model in this. He knows each one of us intimately. In 1 John 10:27 He said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
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Lead your sheep –sacrificially
Shepherds rise early in the morning to tend to their flocks. Leading your sheep will take extra time, energy, and, sacrifice, and often at inconvenient times. Once again, Jesus sets the right example for us: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” –John 10:11. Do everything you can to help your group leaders to succeed. Help them by connecting people to their groups or assist them in solving specific problems. Above all, pray for them.
Feed your sheep
What tools are you providing to your sheep? Do you regularly feed them resources to help them to thrive? Share good materials with them such as, books, articles, blogs, seminars, studies, and teaching tools. Guide them in the direction of good, biblical studies.
Protect your sheep
Acts 20:29 says, “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.” As a shepherd, you are also a watchman. There are many ways for wolves to enter the church. Small groups and small group studies can be one of them. Take great care to know what is being taught in your small groups. Do not be afraid to take a stand for what is biblical. Take this responsibility seriously.
What can you do to better shepherd to the flock in your care?