[the shepherd and the sheep]

[the shepherd and the sheep]

On Friday, a good friend of mine shared something that made me laugh at first, but then when I thought about it, it actually made quite a lot of sense.

The sheep and the shepherd. This example is used in the Bible so many times! David was the one who started the “tradition,” Jesus continued it, and the disciples picked it up.

The pastor of the Church is usually considered a shepherd. The people in Church are sheep. (Nothing personal here, just stating the illustration basis.)

The people in Church usually tend to look at the pastor for all the answers. I know I do. Sometimes it is all too easy to forget that the pastor is not God with all the knowledge. But this is not the point here…

With all the talk about the need to evangelize people and everything, the natural reaction is also to look at the pastor. However, this is where the quote from my friend comes in (and keep in mind he was speaking to a group of leaders of the Churches as well as pastors, and he does not really mince the words):

“The pastor is the shepherd. People are the sheep. The shepherd’s role is to take care of the sheep. It is the sheep that multiply… and a lot of the sheep in the Church are seemingly sterile.”

Of course it does not mean that the pastor can just say “Well, go and evangelize, while I stay here and take care of the sheep we got already.” As a Christian, his / her life will still be an evangelism tool as well as the words, but… it is sheep who multiply.

What do you think about this? I know a few pastors read my blog – I want to hear your thoughts. But even more, I want to hear the thoughts of the people who are not pastors.


  • i would agree with the general tone of your post, zee. i do believe evangelism is not the task of pastors. they have been gifted to protect, nurture, feed, and guide the flock, equipping them for service in their communities.

    but i think the better way for us to look at evangelism is to see it as the natural fruits of changed lives. there are a number of passages that would lead us to understand that pointing others to Christ is something that comes naturally to a believer.

    i'm not suggesting there is no such thing as responsibility in missions. nor am i suggesting there shouldn't be some sort of "system" in place for evangelism. i just think we over-stress our responsibility and duty in making disciples, as we also depend too much on systems and programs. i believe we'd be better off to love God, be obedient to him, and serve others — the evangelism bit will come.

    • i completely agree, James (do you prefer James or Brett? i am a bit confused :D)… evangelism is definitely something that stems out of the service to God and people – after all, evangelism is uniting God and other people around us, by becoming a bridge…

      however, it is something that also should be kept in mind because sometimes we are too happy-in-our-own-world having accepted Jesus as "our personal Savior"… that's what mainly we were talking about at the meeting (since that's, frankly, the situation at our Church).

      we'd be better off to love God, be obedient to him, and serve others — the evangelism bit will come – amen!

  • I was gonna answer, but this is a big one and I really don't have the time to write it all out, sorry. But I did read your post and thought you might wanna know that šŸ™‚
    My recent post Too Many

    • šŸ˜‰ well, my main point was to share this food for thought. so, don't worry šŸ™‚

  • (thought I'd return the visit :))

    I've always liked the shepherd/sheep analogy. This is slightly different than your post, but I've seen a lot of times how in our congregations it seems that the sheep protect the shepherd and lay down their lives for the shepherd, who is extremely important and shouldn't be bothered too much by the sheep. Seems like a lot of what we do is backwards….

    • hi Michael šŸ™‚ welcome to my humble abode šŸ™‚

      hm, interesting point. i guess there are bossy sheep everywhere šŸ˜€ (lol, the mental image that i am getting… hilarious)…

      kinda reminds me a bit a story when women brought their kids to Jesus and the disciples were trying to get the kids away, thinking they would bother Jesus' important message. heh…

      • I think I didn't write that very clearly. What I meant was, sometimes our churches behave as though the pastor is too important for the sheep, and that the sheep are supposed to look out for the shepherd. Instead, it should be the shepherd looking out for the sheep, laying down his life for the sheep, knowing the sheep by name, feeding the sheep, and going off looking for the sheep when they get lost and carrying them back home.

        I always think Jesus is such a great example of a shepherd, because he was so much smarter than the sheep, so much more 'important', and yet he watched out for them, met their needs, and gave up his life for them. He never turned sheep away because he was too busy or because his time was so valuable. The sheep were his life, not just a stepping stone to a larger ministry. And, like your post, he trained the sheep to go out and multiply.

        • yeah, i know what you meant. i guess my thought process just veered off the path there… you know how sometimes you think of one thing and then in a minute realize that thought by thought you somehow jumped onto a completely different subject? my comment above was something like that šŸ™‚

          The sheep were his life, not just a stepping stone to a larger ministry. – love this. so true. now we need to learn how to be like that as well…

          thanks for the feedback!

  • I love the post and would agree with it. God's people are what spread's His word. I can expound more if needed. If the shepherd is doing what he/she is called to do, the sheep will multiply. The sheep will go and tell sheep and those sheep will tell those sheep. ____Very good stuff Zee.
    My recent post Swallowing Bugs

    • thanks Michael šŸ™‚

      the credit all goes to my friend – i only re-posted what he talked about šŸ™‚ (with his permission)

  • Hey Zee! Sorry i am late to this one. Been gone all weekend. I once heard Charles Stanley say, "Shepherds don't beat sheep; they feed sheep." I find the picture analogy spot on when you consider the shepherd/sheep concept. however, as a pastor I must take seriously my approach to the people. I need to be really careful that I don't "demand" or expect more out of them than I do of myself. I do not feel as though God has given me the gift of evangelism but I do feel that we can all live our lives so there is fruit and if the opportunity arises to speak up.
    My recent post A Fistful of Thoughts

    • I do not feel as though God has given me the gift of evangelism but I do feel that we can all live our lives so there is fruit and if the opportunity arises to speak up. – i wholeheartedly second that, Bill.

      welcome back to the blogland, btw šŸ˜‰

  • Hi Zee,

    Love the post. Even moreso because evangelism and it's role in the church is something I've been thinking a lot about lately. While I think every believer has a responsibility to grow the Kingdom of God, I'm not sure that I'm certain every believer should go out and witness verbally. Many times (as I'm learning) talking about God goes against the grain for people and this can hurt our cause more than help it so I think the pastors job is finding those who are "recruiters for Christ" and building them so they can multiply the church. I'm wondering if it's a flawed position though to give every believer the responsibility for witnessing if that's not their strength. I know people who really turn people off when witnessing but continue to do so because they've been told they're doing the Lords work.

    I think a pastor should be no different than any other leader, he or she is probably best serving when they are growing the sheep and teaching them how to grow the church. It's not a one man show, and if it is, it's probably not a rapidly growing ministry. It's like a CEO being solely responsible for an organization, he/she is much better off hiring great managers and delegating out tasks they're best suited for. That's how a leader thrives.
    My recent post The Labyrinth Walk

    • hey Jessica! šŸ™‚

      talking about God goes against the grain for people and this can hurt our cause more than help it – mm hmm. that's why i sort of am prejudiced against all those tv-evangelists. they keep saying what's wrong with the world (and yell it, just in case there's someone truly deaf watching that show… or maybe that way God will hear them in heaven – no idea. i just don't like to be yelled at. even if it's about the Good news.)… i am not saying the world is a great place where everything is as it should be, but i don't think i would ever want to follow Jesus and His teachings if the only approach would be like that. it's all about relationships. but that is an entirely different topic šŸ˜€

      Yep, pastors are sort of like CEOs in some ways… and in some – not. there's a book called Runaway Pastor by David S. Hayes which talks about a pastor who could not longer stand to be a CEO of the church (and doing all the management, maintenance decisions, etc) instead of what he was called to do – love people. That drove him to a desperation and he ran away (from everything – his church, his wife, everything). the book talks about him finding his way back.

      thanks for stopping by!

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