Shepherd leaders are called to protect the sheep. Protect them from exterior threats as well as interior threats. This protection is in the form of shepherds acting like a "door" (John 10), making decisions on who (or what) can both enter and/or leave. But, how specifically is this accomplished? Shepherd leaders practically protect the flock by:
Staying focused on Jesus
As under shepherds we need to stay completely focused on Jesus. In our personal lives as well as from the pulpit. Without staying focused on Jesus we, like Peter (Matt. 14:28-33), will sink under the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Keeping God’s glory the goal
We aren’t shepherds for our glory (or platform) but for God’s glory. We are to be building His kingdom, not ours.
Relying on Jesus’s strength to accomplish His mission
If we try to do things in our own strength, we will burn out and fail. We need to remain weak to show the glory of His strength (2 Cor. 12:10, 13:4).
Keeping the gospel message central
Our message should be gospel-centered, focused on the importance of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and how desperately we need to regularly hear it.
Faithfully following where Jesus is leading
As shepherds, our success depends on our faithfulness. Have we counted the cost? Are we willing to go wherever Jesus leads?
Laboring to make disciples
The mission is always the same, to make disciples; not converts (although that is important), and not followers, but disciples. That’s the way the mission is accomplished, God’s glory is shown, and God’s kingdom spreads.
That’s what shepherds do. They protect ... ok, that’s half of what they do. What’s the other half? I’ll jump into that in the next post of this series.