This article appears in the December edition of Tabletalk magazine and concludes a twelve-part series on the subject of shepherding. See below for links to previous articles.
In this age of unbridled tolerance, people wonder how church discipline is loving. They view confronting people over choices that they have made as disrespectful to a person’s identity, dignity, and freedom. Thus, church leaders who hold people accountable for sin—and even call it a mark of the church—seem unloving.
A running metaphor will help. If a wolf attacks a flock and starts ravaging the sheep, is it loving for the shepherd to let him strike unopposed? Or if a sheep strays into danger, is it showing care just to let it go? The shepherd has a duty to protect the sheep from enemy attacks and separation from the flock.
This imagery is pictured in a familiar passage of Scripture. The psalmist confesses that the Lord is his shepherd, and then states that “your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Ps. 23:4). These two implements speak to the dual duty of our Shepherd that His faithful undershepherds are to also exercise.
Shepherding Is Never Outdated | JANUARY 2022
Shepherding is a Trinitarian Work | FEBRUARY 2022
Shepherding in the Spirit | MARCH 2022
Shepherding’s Singular Focus | APRIL 2022
Shepherding’s Varied Nature | MAY 2022
Shepherding Friends | JUNE 2022
Shepherding with Hospitality| JULY 2022
Shepherding through Prayer | AUGUST 2022
Shepherding the Lambs | SEPTEMBER 2022
Shepherding through Catechesis | OCTOBER 2022
Shepherding with Administration | NOVEMBER 2022