Shepherd Leadership (pt. 2) - Interior Protection
In the first post of this series I dealt with the fact that part of the job of a shepherd is to protect the sheep from exterior threats by becoming the door, and not allowing those threats to enter. If that were the only threat that sheep faced, protecting them would be relatively easy (or at least singularly focused). But the reality is, there are interior threats to the sheep as well. How do we, who are called to shepherd, act like a door, and protect from interior threats?
The Door must also protect from interior threats
So what am I talking about? What possible threats could the sheep face from each other? That's just it, they need protecting from each other! The sheep need protection from anything that would disrupt the unity of the body. This sometimes takes the form of gossip. Other times it takes the form of slander. In the worst case it takes the form of abuse.
So how do we protect the sheep from each other? By being the door, deciding who enters and who leaves. This means we need to know our people. That soul care is taking place. That there is confession and repentance of sin. What we found (at Redeemer) is that this is best accomplished through living in community, membership, and the appropriate use of church discipline. It's through these processes that it's determined who can enter and who can (or has to) leave.
So, part of the shepherds job is to protect the sheep. They must not just keep on the lookout for exterior threats, but also (and at the same time) keep an eye out for interior threats. This is not an easy calling. Thank God He has given His Spirit for both wisdom and strength to accomplish this calling.
Now that we know that part of the job of a shepherd is to protect, how do we do that? My next post in this series will list 6 things shepherds must do to protect the sheep.