…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14

Jesus leadership style & principles – shepherdship, .. shepherd sheep

Reading the Bible’s examples,
perhaps Jesus’ leadership is better described as shepherdship or shepherd sheep
i.e. Leader = shepherd, … shepherd sheep leadership


Shepherdship – the position, duty, or occupation of a shepherd
Shepherd – a person whose job is to take care of sheep
(Merriam-Webster dictionary)

72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;
    with skillful hands he led them.
Psalm 78:72 (NIV)

“It is I who says of Cyrus,
‘He is My shepherd!

And he will perform all My desire.’ …
Isaiah 44:28 (NIV)

Leadership, … depending on the industry one works in, the word may conjures images of

Steve Jobs‘ revolutionary market leading innovation
Churchill in the battle of Britain,
Jack Welch, phenomenal enhancement of shareholder value
Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King. Nelson Mandela, social change through non-violent resistance
Muhammad Yunus, banker of the poor, Mother Teresa, sister of the slums,
… etc, etc …. (I’m sure you have your favorites to add to this list),
as new leaders emerge every decade from various parts of the world.

Leadership could also mean concepts, methodologies such as

the art of working through others,
mobilising & motivating others towards achieving a goal, winning,
… optimising people, processes, profits, shareholder value,
making the right & tough decisions at the right time,
decisiveness, the buck stops here, leading the charge,
strategic thinking, planing, execution,
ability to translate vision to reality,
eye for talent & growing people
visionary, revolutionary, market disrupter
… etc, etc, etc

quick, … grab …
… an event producer, …  a MBA, … a consultant, … a coach, … a CEO … a strategist ???!!
talks, studies, .. vision, mission, strategies, plans, execution, … KPI, ROI, etc … ??
priorities ?

What about Jesus?
What can we learn from Jesus?

What makes Jesus leadership compelling, … life changing, … different?

After watching the video, what’s your thoughts of Jesus?

The greatest leader of all
(Click here)

I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
John 10:14 (NIV)

What was Jesus’ qualifications, background?

“Isn’t this the carpenter? …”

“Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” … ”
“… Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee.”
Mark 6:3, John 7:52, John 1:46 (NIV)

… an unexpected outsider ?

What set Jesus apart?

17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him (Jesus). And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me

to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,

19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

21 .. “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.

32 They were amazed at his teaching,because
his words had authority.

36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are!
With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!”

Luke 4:17-19, 21, 32, 36 (NIV)

28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching,
29 because he taught as one who had authority,
and not as their teachers of the law.
Matthew 7:28, 29 (NIV)

… poor, … captives, … blind, … oppressed, … the crowds
… the people

At the heart of shepherdship … is sheep, … i.e. people,
loving people,
serving others by the   anointing of the Holy Spirit,
& sharing by the   authority of  God’s Word,
for God’s glory, in His power,
setting people free.

Jesus said,
“I am the vine; you are the branches.
If you remain in me
and I in you,
you will bear much fruit

apart from me
you can do nothing.
John 15:5 (NIV)

Jesus is our inspiring example,
and He says, “Follow me”

38 new wine must be poured into new wineskins. Luke 5:38  (NIV)

At the last supper, … Jesus introduced,

the new covenant in His body & blood —
“This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
(from Luke 22:19, 20 (NIV))

the new commandment —
 Let me give you a new command:
In the same way I loved you,
you love one another
(John 13:34 (MSG))

the same way I loved you — Jesus, our example

the new leadership model, … leader’s heart .. a shepherd’s heart

At the last supper,
24 A dispute also arose among them, as to
which of them (12 disciples) was to be regarded as
the greatest.    

a dispute at the last supper,
just hours before Jesus crucifixion.

Which disciple was the greatest?
As the disciples competed for recognition/promotion,
“look at me … look what I’ve done”

25 And he (Jesus) said to them,

“The kings of the Gentiles
exercise  lordship  over them,
and those in authority over them are called benefactors.

 “Kings like to  throw their weight  around and
people in authority like to give themselves  fancy titles.

i.e. conventional hierarchical leadership attitude
lordship, throw their weight, fancy titles
(a career path?)

power structures, ….

26 But not so with you.

Rather, let the greatest among you
become as the youngest,

the leader
as one who serves.

… But I am       (shepherd)
among you 
as the one who
(from Luke 22:25-27 (ESV))

Look at Him !
Jesus, our example to follow.

But not so with you,

greatest  –>  youngest, least order, rank, respect
leader  –>  one who serves others … focus, motivation

 the greatest  =  the one who serves.
… rather than,  the one who leads, …
not up on stage busy activity,
… but, helping people, practically serving others led by the Holy Spirit in everyday life

laying down position, title  … to humbly welcome,
graciously bless, .. lovingly restore, .. caringly support others,
& helping others to soar,

seeing the good in others,
desiring the best for others,
giving the best, … in love,
like Jesus     (Philippians 2:5-11),

being a   servant   of Christ

i.e. very different from conventional leadership
a call

a choice between:
‘being in charge’, … power, personal enrichment or prestige
‘getting the credit’

love, humble service, … ‘the Lord is in charge’
‘giving God the glory’

the greatest become as the youngest
the leader   the one who serves

the greatest =  least ego,
willing to humbly esteem, collaborate and support others,
willing to submit to others.

A team approach of multi-disciplinary gifts & ministries of the Holy Spirit.

 the greatest  =  the one who serves  –  Jesus leadership style
rather than, the one who leads  (conventional leadership).

 the greatest  =  the one who serves
Thus, … such people have a heart for others,
a compassion & sincere concern for others
who are joyfully, humbly
reaching out to lend a hand to others,
comforting others,
patiently listening to others and their concerns,
bearing fruit by the Holy Spirit.

a joyfully loving servant is easy to spot
in any group,
(…. actions speak louder than words.)

5:6 … What matters is faith expressed through love. 
2:26… faith without actions is also dead.
Galatians 5:6, James 2:26 (ISV)

the greatest  =  the one who serves
being spiritual is being practical, down-to-earth, … hands-on,
like Jesus who came down to earth to live amongst us,
who washed his disciples’ feet
— a practical physical need. 

Note:  Jesus could have easily directed/delegated the least disciple
to wash everyone’s feet.

I am among you       (shoulder to shoulder)
as the one who serves

— Jesus our example

Jesus demonstrated through His life,
27 For who is greater,
the one who is at the table or the one who serves?
Is it not the one who is at the table?

I am among you as one who serves.

Luke 22:27 (NIV)

On a tiring trek down a steep dry road from Jerusalem to Jericho,
the good Samaritan
quietly and instinctively helped the man who fell into the hands of robbers;
the  off-duty priest and Levite (who saw the same man),
passed by on the other side.  (Luke 10:25-37)

The true test of a man’s character is
what he does when no one is watching.
― John Wooden

Down-to-earth, practical, servant-hearted compassionate service to others
helps one avoid spiraling into
“arrogant, lost touch with the people”  leadership,

more on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho (click here)

Later, at the last supper, Jesus elaborated,

This is the very best way
to love. 

Put your life on the line
for your friends.

You are my friends 
when you
do the things I command you. …
John 15:14 (MSG)

Unlike conventional organizations or institutions or kingdoms,
at His trial, Jesus explained,
My kingdom is not of this world …”
John 18:36 (ESV)

These are the building blocks for
the new empowered organisation model   (kingdom)
with Christ as the  cornerstone,  the head
distinguished by love, service, … empowered partners/peers,
in an inter-dependent organic body with diverse gifts,
filled with the Holy Spirit,
built on love relationship with God, and loving relationships with one another.
(see Ephesians 4:15, 16 and 1 Peter 2:4-10)

a team .. supporting  & rejoicing in one another’s progress

In the same way I loved you,
you love one another. 

… This is how everyone will recognize
that you are my disciples
—when they see

the love
you have for each other.
John 13:34, 35 (MSG)

everyone .. who can’t see God,
 … can recognizesee

… this distinct, distinguishing .. disciple .. mark

… love comes from God …
… God is love …

We love because
He first loved us.

1 John 4:7, 8, 19 (NIV)

In the same way I loved you,
you love one another. 

“Out of 100 men,
one will read the Bible,
the other 99 will read the Christian”
 D. L Moody

At the end of the last supper, Jesus prayed:
that they all may be one,
as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You;
that they also may be one in Us,

that   the world
may  believe
that You sent Me.
John 17:21 (NKJV)

Our love for one another,
our one-ness in Christ,
in the same way Christ loved us,
… that the world may see, recognize, believe
Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God,
and by believing anyone may have life in His name.

Jesus demonstrated leadership, shepherdship,
If I then, your Lord and Teacher,
have washed your feet,

you also ought to
wash one another’s feet.
John 13:14 (NIV)

I then, your Lord and Teacher,    
have washed your feet
Jesus, our example

wash one another’s feet
– hands-on .. personal,
simple, practical, help, support to one another .. in humility,
( a humble servant to one another )

we’re all   in service to one another,
serving one another

Carry each other’s burdens,
and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

3 If anyone thinks they are something
when they are not,
they deceive themselves.
Galatians 6:2,3


Submit to one another 
out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21 (NIV)

6:13 serve one another
in love.  Galatians 6:13 (NIV)

5:5 … All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another,
God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”  1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)

If I then, your Lord and Teacher,
have washed your feet … wash one another’s feet.
Jesus lived out
what His kingdom
and His will
is all about.

More on the last supper (click here)

45 “Who then is a faithful and wise servant,
whom his master made ruler over his household,
to give them food in due season?

46 … when He comes, will find so doing.
Matthew 24:45,46 (NKJV)

A   faithful   & wise servant serving the Lord & others.

Peter wrote:

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them

—not because you must, but
because you are willing,
as God wants you to be;

not pursuing dishonest gain,
but eager to serve;

not lording it over those entrusted to you,
being examples to the flock.
1 Peter 5:2, 3 (NIV)

Following Jesus example of the good Shepherd
— under His care, … watching over His sheep

not pursuing dishonest gain … not lording it over them,
Service, serving others is not a transaction,
its freewill giving/serving in love – because you are willing

Not greedy, … or power hungry.

Being generous, honest & humble

Peter wrote being examples to the flock …  eager to serve, … because you are willing
instead of, eager to lead, … because you want to.

Earlier in the week of the Passover, Jesus was popular, well-liked, well-followed,
the crowds welcomed Jesus,
Hosanna to the Son of David!

and, … days later, the crowds were saying,
Crucify him!

Within hours of the last supper, Jesus was arrested and crucified,
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep

After Jesus’ resurrection, He sent His disciples to the ends of the earth,
anointed and led by the Holy Spirit, through persecution and dangers.

“While ministry sometimes means risk,
it always means surrender”
— Jeri Little

“When Christ calls a man,   he bids him   come and   die.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

the good Shepherd … the Lamb of God

On a separate note,

an example — how a leader quench a community fight through humble service (click here)

here’s a Harvard article on Why the best leaders Are humble leaders (click here);
a phrase from the article  — “leaders should embrace a selfless leadership style”

Problem Sheep without a shepherd

Matthew 9:35-37 (NIV)
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages,

teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom
and healing every disease and sickness.

36 When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them,
because they were harassed and helpless,
like sheep without a shepherd.

37 Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is plentiful
but the workers are few.

Mark 6:34, Matthew 14:14, (NIV)
6:34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd,
he had compassion on them, because they were like
sheep without a shepherd.
So he began teaching them many things

14:14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd,
he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Why were large crowds drawn to Jesus?
they were harassed and helpless,
like sheep without a shepherd.

… looking for a shepherd, … a living Savior.

other translations: they were distressed, dispirited, fainted, weary, abandoned, scattered

In all their suffering
he also suffered,

and he personally rescued them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them.
    He lifted them up and carried them
    through all the years.
Isaiah 63:9 (NLT)

In all their distress
he too was distressed
… (NIV)

Praise God! Jesus is our great high priest who is able to empathize with our weaknesses … (Hebrews 4:15)

Beyond just seeing the crowd, the multitiude,
Jesus felt their distress,  felt their pain,
and he ministered to them.

The people in the multitude have encountered, experienced leaders/shepherds or others who have disappointed them, let them down,
…. or worse still, hurt them … abused them.
To such shepherds, the Lord said:

Those who are sickly you have not strengthened,
the diseased you have not healed,
the broken you have not bound up,
the scattered you have not brought back,
nor have you sought for the lost;
with force and with severity you have dominated them.

They were scattered for lack of a shepherd …
Ezekiel 34:4,5 (NASB)

the multitude of people were looking for the true Shepherd of their hearts who will not leave them nor forsake them,
who’ll take care of them, and love them
in word, … and action,
… The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Luke 15:1,2 (NIV)
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus.
But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered,
This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Luke 19:10 (NIV)
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Jesus gathered the lost, scattered sheep,
under His loving care.

15 I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,”
declares the Lord God.
16 “I will seek the lost,
bring back the scattered,
bind up the broken
and strengthen the sick;

but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.
Ezekiel 34:15, 16 (NASB)

Even today, … the needs and concerns of people are similar.
people are seeking for caring, authentic, sincere, real shepherds,
… like Jesus, … who feel their struggles,
… who lead them to the good Shepherd of our hearts.

When he looked out over the crowds,
his heart broke.

So confused and aimless they were,
like sheep with no shepherd
Matthew 9:36 (MSG)

What did Jesus do?
proclaim the good news of the kingdom,
healing every disease and sickness.

Jesus taught them the Truth of the kingdom of God,
Jesus demonstrated the tangible reality of the kingdom of God
— restored lives, healed bodies, and He loved them.

Lives were changed & turned around,
… because they met the living Savior, Jesus.samaritan

Like the unknown good Samaritan who stopped,
and ministered to the stranger
who was stripped, robbed, beaten, and half-dead on the road to Jericho.
When he saw the man’s condition,
his heart went out to him.
He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’    Luke 10:34-36 (MSG)

the workers are few  Matthew 9:37 ,
even today, … Jesus seeks for shepherds,
… who shepherd sheep, minister to sheep, … who love sheep,
like the unknown Samaritan whose heart was moved to stop and minister to the unknown stranger.

Whenever something unexpected or serious happens,
someone — who can be counted on to practically respond and visit,
to follow-up and follow-through.
Hands-on, responsible, spontaneous.

A friend loves at all times, and
a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)

Shepherding sheep — getting one’s hands dirty,
weathering the elements,
fending, feeding, tending, nursing, restoring lambs & sheep
… one sheep at a time, … one lamb at a time.
Spending long days with ………  sheep.

Keeping watch.

Nurturing, nourishing each lamb & sheep
keeping them healthy, and growing,
… birthing new lambs.

Proverbs 27:23 (NLT)
Know the state of your flocks,
and put your heart into caring for your herds

Proverbs 12:10 (NIV, ISV)
The righteous care for the needs of their animals,
    but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.

The righteous person looks out for the welfare of his livestock,
but even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.

Shepherdship can begin anywhere, … family, place of work, etc … anyone the Lord brings across our path
… caring, guiding & helping others to follow the good Shepherd, Jesus,
and walk closely with Him.
Restoring lives through encountering the good Shepherd, Jesus.

Its interesting that in John’s gospel, John faithfully records Jesus ministry to individuals:
** Nicodemus, a Pharisee who comes and visits Him in the night; a Jewish religious leader.
** The Samaritan woman at the well;  an outcast, a Samaritan, a woman with a few husbands.
** The woman caught in adultery;  a person caught in sin.
**  Pilate;  a Roman governing authority
**  Restoration of Peter after Jesus resurrection
** The healing of the man at Bethesda, the official’s son, the man born blind.
** The family of Lazarus, Mary & Martha, and resurrection of Lazarus.
Multi-ethnic, across the social spectrum of society.

For each one, Jesus saw beyond their flaws, … to their need.
He took time, .. He paused, .. He patiently listened, … He ministered,
He went and seek out the sheep.

Shepherdship is individualised, personalised,
“How may I assist and help you?”
“How may I serve you?”
up close and personal,
a conversation, … a sharing dialogue

rather than one-size fits all,
“what I want to  teach or minister”
from afar, one-way,

Its interesting that in Luke 10:25-28, when the teacher of the law asked Jesus,
Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus did not straightaway give him a 4-step or 7-step presentation, or a fiery sermon.

Instead Jesus asked him a simple question
“What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?”

Jesus respected the man,
he engaged him in a conversation,
he wanted to know what he thought, his views.

And through the man’s own soul searching,
Jesus led him to discover the answer for himself.

Shepherdship in a nutshell:

Night and day we continue
praying with all our heart

that we can come there and see you again.
We want to give you
everything you need
to make your faith strong.

1 Thessalonians 3:10 (ERV)

give you everything
you need
helping by humbly enquire first,
take time to find out,
not assume,

what does he, she, they … need?
how can I serve them?

personalised , conversational dialogue.
In the business world — ‘customer-centric‘ services, ‘employee engagement & alignment’

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,
but only what is helpful for building others up
according to their needs,
that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

a shepherd’s sharing
is helpful .. for building others up

..  according to their needs,
benefit those who listen.

In short, … humbly serving the needs of those present in our midst.

come and see you again
not from afar, or social media tools

praying with all our heart
Shepherdship, shepherd sheep begins with
a caring heart of prayer, prayer for the sheep.

And the goal?
to make your faith strong

Thus, following the example of the Jesus, the Good Shepherd

Know that the Lord is God,
he made us, we belong to him,
we are his people,
the flock he shepherds.

the sheep he tends
the sheep he takes care of.
his well-tended sheep
sheep grazing in His fields

Psalm 100:3 (NABRE, ICB, ERV, MSG, Voice)

We’re be exploring the following about shepherdship, shepherd sheep:

* Shepherd examples
* The shepherd’s heart
* Jesus life example
* God’s shepherdship development program
* A good shepherd plans ahead & builds trust
* A Shepherd’s prayer
* Shepherdship — teamwork, collaboration & mutual submission
* Keeping watch — feeding the Truth
* The mum-dad  Shepherd’s heart
* Shepherdship – fruit & impact
* Watch and pray shepherds
* Shepherdship – Being an example to the flock

Shepherd examples

A quick scan of the Bible:

You led Your people like a flock
By the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Psalm 77:20 (NASB)

He also chose David His servant

And took him from the sheepfolds;
71 From the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him
To shepherd Jacob His people,
And Israel His inheritance.
72 So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,
And guided them with his skillful hands.
Psalm 78:70-71 (NASB)

“I am the good shepherd (ποιμήν);
the good shepherd (ποιμήν) lays down His life for the sheep.”

John 10:11 (NASB)


11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors (ποιμήν)  and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
Ephesians 4:11 (NIV)

The original Greek word for pastor is ποιμήν, poimēn, i.e. a shepherd (Strong).

The shepherd’s heart

15 … Jesus said to Simon Peter,“Simon, son of John,
do you love Me more than these?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

Jesus said to him, Tend My lambs.”

16… “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”  Jesus said to him,
“Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, Shepherd My sheep.”

17 He *said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

… Jesus *said to him, Tend My sheep.”
John 21:15, 16, 17 (NASB)

do you love Me?
A shepherd’s heart is nurtured and inspired by our love for our Shepherd,
Jesus who loves us and gave His life for us.

1 John 4:19
We love because He first loved us.

Shepherding sheep with a sincere love, agape & compassion for people, others
— a sheep lover.

Jesus question to Peter, “… do you love me …
Jesus instruction to Peter,
“… tend My lambs, … shepherd My sheep, … tend My sheep”

At the last supper, Jesus said to Peter,
“…  once you have turned back again [to Me],
strengthen and support your brothers [in the faith].”
Luke 22:32 (AMP)

Loving Jesus … expressed through strengthening, supporting, restoring, caring, praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
In loving others, by serving others … we love Jesus.

Without our Shepherd’s love in our hearts, … we grow weary and wary of sheep.
Sometimes one meets wolves in sheep clothing who bite.

But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend,
expecting nothing in return
Luke 6:35 (HCSB)

Owe nothing to anyone
except for your obligation to love one another
Romans 13:8 (NLT)

Love expects nothing in return.

Love forgives,
turns the other cheek,
and springs back into action again.

Jesus demonstrated His agape love to Peter, and restored him.
Jesus saw what potential & possibilities in Peter, … what he could become … preaching on the day of Pentecost, etc ….

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
– Michelangelo

Should not shepherds take care of the flock?
Ezekiel 34:2 (NIV)

Jesus said,
“The student is not above the teacher,
but everyone who is fully trained
will be like their teacher.”

Luke 6:40 (NKJV)

Paul wrote:

If I have the gift of prophecy,
and know all mysteries and all knowledge;
and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains,

but do not have love, I am nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:2 (NASB)

A shepherd’s love
… goes far, far beyond
great spiritual gifts, natural talents, oratory ability  (prophecy, etc),
great knowledge  (Phd, MDiv, etc)
and great faith, prayer, fasting  (mountain moving faith).

Jesus asked, “… do you love Me?”

Jesus life example

Jesus said:

I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

John 10:14 (NIV)

Jesus, our good shepherd redeemed us with His own life.

At the last supper Jesus said

12 “This is My commandment,
that you love one another,
just as I have loved you.

13 Greater love has no one than this,
that one lay down his life for his friends.

14 You are My friends if you do what I command you.
John 15:12-14 (NASB)

Shepherdship, shepherd sheep, summed up in 2 verses.

Jesus, the good shepherd, is our example of a shepherd’s heart.

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)

In any flock there’re sheep of all ages, size and needs.

With nursing ewes, the good shepherd patiently takes His time,
pauses, and waits for them to catch up with the flock.

With little lambs, the good shepherd helps them by carrying these little ones in his arms,
close to his heart


How fast can a family walk together?
As fast as the youngest child.

The good shepherd:
** understands and consciously makes up for each sheep’s weakness, needs, concerns.
** guides them in a comfortable pace to pasture and water,
** rests every now and then for the sheep to leisurely graze and nurse their young.
** spends most of his day with the sheep under his care, knowing each one individually, treats them like his family.

The good shepherd knows whenever one goes missing,
… and goes out to search for the lone lost sheep and safely brings it back.shepherdsheep4

Luke 15:3-6 (NIV)
Then Jesus told them this parable:
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’  

Every sheep is precious and cherished by the good shepherd,
when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders
he guards them with his life.

I led them with cords of human kindness,
    with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
    a little child to the cheek,
    and I bent down to feed them
Hosea 11:4 (NIV)

The good shepherd gains the trust and the love of his sheep.  They trustingly follow their shepherd who knows each sheep by name.

Jesus said,
“… the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them,
and his sheep follow him
because they know his voice.

But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them,
and they follow me.”
John 10:3,4,14,27 (NIV)

My sheep listen to my voice – its true !  (click here)

Here’s how the Lord shepherded Israel in the wilderness,

29 Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them.
30 The Lord your God, who is going before you,
will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes,

31 and in the wilderness.
There you saw how the Lord your God carried you,
as a father carries his son,
all the way you went until you reached this place.”

32 In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord your God,
33 who went ahead of you on your journey,
in fire by night and in a cloud by day,
to search out places for you to camp
and to show you the way you should go.
Deuteronomy 1:30-33 (NIV)

God’s shepherdship development program

Interestingly, two of the great, well-known leaders who led Israel in the Old Testament,
David & Moses, had previously been unknown shepherds.
(job experience in their CV)


When Moses first encountered God through the burning bush,
he was hard at work (at his office) in the wilderness, shepherding sheep.

Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.
Exodus 3:,1,2 (NASB)

While faithfully pasturing the flock alone,
in the wilderness, …
where no one was looking,
…. the Lord was.

When no one knew Moses was there working,
… the Lord knew where to find him.

40 years in the wilderness pasturing the flock of sheep,
Not forgotten, … not abandoned, … not forsaken.

All these years, Moses had gained familiarity with pasturing and herding sheep, … managing all manner of sheep, … living in the rugged wilderness by day and night.   Invaluable experience to well-equip Moses to shepherd Israel in the wilderness for 40 years.

Similarly, … on the day David was anointed by Samuel,
he was out (at his office) faithfully shepherding sheep

11 And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are these all the children?”
And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and behold,
he is tending the sheep.”
Then Samuel said to Jesse,
“Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.”

Maybe … David was tending the sheep faraway,
or David’s family may have somehow forgotten to invite him that day.

The Lord remembered David.

12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is he.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah.
1 Samuel 16:11-13 (NASB)

Just before facing Goliath, here’s what David said to Saul,

34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep.
When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock,
35 I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.”
1 Samuel 17:34-36 (NASB)

David had experienced the Lord help him deliver the flock from the lion and the bear.
He had personally experienced the Lord … at the office, in the marketplace, in real-life.
Hence, he had the courage, faith and God’s anointing upon him to deliver Israel, … and overcome Goliath.

When the lion & bear came,
David did not run away.

He faithfully stood by his sheep.

He took ownership and responsibility
of the unforseen problem, challenges, dangers.
the buck stops here!

Field tested and crisis proven
in rugged weather & wilderness terrain,
ever-ready for the unexpected.

Both Moses and David had faced the fierce and weathered the storms,
bravely guarding & faithfully tending the sheep well,
Shepherds who did not run away and abandon the sheep.

Courage, reslience, perserverance, faithfulness
… tenacious, resourceful,
faith in God

Paul wrote of his own experience:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 

who comforts us in all our troubles,
so that
we can comfort those in any trouble
with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death.

But this happened that
we might not rely on ourselves but on God,
who raises the dead.
2 Corinthians 1:3, 4, 8-9 (NIV) 

In selecting deacons, Paul’s advice to Timothy —
These men must also first be tested;
then let them serve as deacons
if they are beyond reproach.    1 Timothy 3:10 (NASB)

The character test.

A consistent, .. faithful.. walk with God,
through the seasons of life’s challenges & joys.

Also, through their experience in Pharoah’s court and Saul’s army, they observed and learned firsthand the inner workings of leading & managing a large group of people.

Although anointed by Samuel for leadership,
David learned to submit to Saul and God,
… being forgiving, not vindictive, … and wait for the Lord to exalt him
in due season.

So, … when great power & authority was handed to him,
he was ready to steward the sacred trust.

Meekness – strength under control
— Charles Swindoll

A good follower grows into a good leader.

Psalm 75:6,7 (KJV)
For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.
But God is the judge:
he putteth down one, and setteth up another

1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)
“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”

Interestingly, both men, … spent years, far away from their ultimate destination,
Moses, in the wilderness, … far from Egypt
David, in the countryside, … far from Jerusalem, chased by Saul,
… humbly waiting … waiting, …
till the day, … the Lord lifted them up,
… in His time.

God prepares his shepherds well

With their humble hearts and faith in God,
they were ready to graduate to greater things.

By the way, ..  both David & Moses faithfully cared and protected their relative’s sheep as their very own — Moses’ father-in-law’s sheep, and David’s father’s sheep.

Jacob shared with Laban, his father-in-law, about shepherding his father-in-law’s sheep,
38 “I have been with you for twenty years now.
Your sheep and goats have not miscarried,
nor have I eaten rams from your flocks

39 I did not bring you animals torn by wild beasts; I bore the loss myself.
And you demanded payment from me for whatever was stolen by day or night.”
Genesis 31:38, 39 (NIV)

Accountability, integrity, faithfulness … a consistent, faithful walk in the marketplace.

10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; ….
12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s,
who will give you what is your own?
Luke 16:10,12 (NKJV)

Like David, we’re all have the privilege in  tending our Father’s sheep :-).

In a hidden valley, a faithful one leads
No one looking on, he cares for their needs
For he knows the One who tries the heart
So he is steadfast and content to do his part

As he lifts his voice in praise to his King
Only the lambs will hear and follow as he sings

In a hidden valley, a leader is born
He has faced the fierce and weathered the storm
Kelly Willard


Moses was tasked to lead and shepherd people who were formerly slaves all their lives — oppressed, suffering, in misery under the slave drivers of Egypt.

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.

And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.
Exodus 3:7,9(NIV)

I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery.
I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam.

MIcah 6:4 (NIV)

For David, after fleeing Saul, his first group he led was a group of distressed, discontented and in debt men — a 3-d army.

All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and David became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.
1 Samuel 22:2 (NIV)

Shepherd leadership, anointed by the Holy Spirit

others, …  from weakness … to greatness,
others, …  from nobody…  to somebody.

from Simon … to Peter

water … to wine

To the church in Corinth, Paul wrote,
26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you.
27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.
29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.

A good shepherd plans ahead & builds trust

As a shepherd leads his/her sheep to pasture and water,
the shepherd plans ahead,
maps the safe routes, decides the best resting places for the night,
looks out for calm watering places,
scouts and understand the terrain,
and plan a comfortable pace for the flock.
Logistically and operationally, the shepherd needs to know how much feed and water his entire flock needs a day, … and where to find it.

The plans of the diligent lead to profit
as surely as haste leads to poverty.
Proverbs 21:5 (NIV)

Ants—they aren’t strong,
but they store up food all summer
Proverbs 30:25 (NLT)

Sheep stray away, or drop out
when the shepherd leads in an
un-planned, disorganised , … confusing, or
“make it up as we go along” way.

The same goes for the diligent preparation
of a well-structured, clear teaching message.
Its so much easier to follow/understand such messages.

Diligent shepherds who communicate clearly,
who plan and empower others,
gain the trust of the sheep.

A well-organised shepherd leads a flock well.
The flock respects & trusts such shepherds who have their best interests at heart,
and is well-prepared for the unforseen, and stand with them through any storm.
They have confidence in such shepherds.

3:15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart,
who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.

23:4 I will place shepherds over them who will tend them,
and they will no longer be afraid or terrified,
nor will any be missing,”
declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 3:15, 23:4 (NIV)

Leadership, shepherd sheep … is built on trust,

… priceless & delicate, … strong and yet fragile,
earned, and not taken for granted.

Relationship based,
personal touch.

Takes time to develop & strengthen;
long-term friendships, … rather than career moves.

A good shepherd is in the field with the sheep,
helping sheep in the flock.

Shepherds … on the ground,
keep their ears to the ground,
grasp the facts on the ground
have their  feet on the ground,
hit the ground running.

Once, a shepherd loses touch with the ground,
the shepherd’s voice/message sounds foreign to the sheep.
Unable to find relevance, meaning & empathy to their situation,
the sheep seek other shepherds who care, … whose voice is familiar to them

Coming from a blue collar, working class family,
Jesus was in touch with the common folk,
and His message resonated with them,
as He went out to personally meet & minister to individuals and groups.
Eg. quite a number of parables feature everyday folk in everyday activities,
he met Peter at his fishing boat, Matthew at his tax booth.

A good shepherd  is also one who rules over his own spirit,
manage his own household well.
i.e. rule over self, self-control,
and manage others well

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.

Patience is better than power,
and controlling one’s temper, than capturing a city.
Proverbs 16:32 (NASB, HCSB)

He must manage his own family well,
having children who respect and obey him.
(but if a man does not know how to manage his own household,
how will he take care of the church of God?),
 1 Timothy 3:4,5 (NIV)

rule his spirit — self-control, slow to anger, patient, temperate, not impulsive/reactive.

How to tell a good shepherd?

Look at the sheep and lambs.
By the condition & health of the sheep flock,
… none missing, … new lambs birthed.

Whether they are following the Good Shepherd, Jesus
and learned to listen to His voice personally.

My sheep listen to my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
John 10:27 (NIV)

Similarly, observe one’s family, the behavior of one’s children,
the response/reaction when things go wrong,
or when car drivers carelessly cut into one’s lane, etc, etc.

 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you?
You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone.
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
2 Corinthians 3:1-3 (NIV)

Thus, if a student has difficulty grasping, understanding something, or performing a skill, … perhaps the teacher has a part to play as well.

Loving one’s spouse inside the home like Jesus agape,
helps & hones one to love others & shepherd others outside one’s home like Jesus agape.
Living godly examples of Christ’s agape.

25 Husbands, love your wives,
just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.

 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his own wife loves himself;

29 for no one ever hated his own flesh,
but nourishes and cherishes it,
just as Christ also does the church,
30 because we are members of His body.
Ephesians 5:25, 28-30 (NASB)

A healthy shepherd family, … a healthy fellowship, community.

A Shepherd’s prayer

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream,
and God said,
“Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Solomon answered, …

 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen,a great people, too numerous to count or number.
So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people
and to distinguish between right and wrong.
For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this

11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice,
12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.
1 Kings 3:5,6, 8-10 (NIV)

2 Chronicles 1:10 (ERV)
Now give me wisdom and knowledge
so that I can lead these people in the right way.
No one could rule this great nation without your help.”

A wise and discerning heart, a knowledgeable mind,
able to distinguish right and wrong, just and fair,
leading others in the right way, with God’s help.

The Lord was pleased with Solomon’s request.
His request was not for more blessings upon him — long life or wealth for yourself
neither was his desire to monopolise and secure his own position — death of your enemies

The right attitude, mind & heart to serve the people and God;
dependence on God’s ability working through him,
to shepherd & serve the people well.

Shepherdship — teamwork, collaboration & mutual submission

Shepherds usually work in groups, taking turns watching the sheep in the fields at night.

In the New Testament, consider,

6:7 Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.

10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.

14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God,
they sent Peter and John to Samaria

13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting,
the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
 … The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, …

 13:1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.

15:6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question … 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us

15:39 Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus,
40 but Paul chose Silas

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,
12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Mark 6:7;    Luke 10:1;   Acts 13:2,4;   Acts 13:1;   Acts 15:6,28;   Acts 15:39 (NIV)

The New Testament seems to suggest that leadership or shepherdship is plural, … rather than a lone CEO at the top.   A collaboration of diverse gifts & ministries to equip God’s people for works of service, and to build up the body of Christ.

In the Old Testament, there’s a prophet, priest & king framework, anointed with the Holy Spirit.
eg. David, Nathan, Zadok & Abiathar

The Lord gave the children of Israel victory over the people of Amalek, through the team of Moses, Aaron, Hur and Joshua (Exodus  17:8-13).

And when Joshua led Israel into the promised land,

Moreover, he (Joshua) shall stand before Eleazar the priest,
who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the Lord. …
Numbers 27: 21 (NASB)

After the 70 years captivity, Israel was restored through the team ministry of Nehemiah, Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, Zerubbabel, Joshua;  i.e. builder/governor, teacher, prophets, governor, priest.

At the council meeting in Jerusalem, after deliberation, they came to agreement with the Holy Spirit with their shared decision:
22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders,
with the whole church, to …

25 it seemed good to us,
having become of one mind, to  …

28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit
and to us ….
Acts 15:28 (NASB)
Decisions in the church in Acts were not unliateral or top-down,
they were shared decisions in agreement with one another and the Holy Spirit.
(see also Acts 6:3-5)

This calls for shepherds who are willing to humbly collaborate and cooperate with others in mutual submission and teamwork for the common good, community/fellowship,
… honoring the spiritual gifts of others, … and putting aside one’s personal desires.

Peacemakers building together.  Each one secure in their own identity in Chrisfor the common good.

Inter-dependent with others,  … (rather than independent) … in the body of Christ, and  Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. (Ephesians 5:23 (NIV))

Furthermore,  in the New Covenant, the Lord has anointed every believer with the Holy Spirit with His gifts and ministries for the common good,

“‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
Acts 2:17 (NIV)

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.
There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (NASB)


Submit to one another
out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5:21 (NIV)

Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?
Amos 3:3 (NIV)

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for,
it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

Matthew 18:19 (NIV)

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up. …
12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)

Shepherdship is both leadership and mutual submission in love, out of reverence for Christ,
unleashing potential in others … & with others,
supporting others to shine,
in community & fellowship;
Jesus gets all the glory!

(rather than building one’s ministry or profile)

22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 
25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,

(Interestingly, … Barnabas first went to Tarsus to look for Saul, rather than head straight to Antioch)

26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
Acts 11:22,25,26 (NIV)

Barnabas -> Saul —> Barnabas & Saul -> great numbers of people

And as the church grew, leaders with various gifts were in the church,
Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers:Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 
Acts 13:1 (NIV)

Moses unselfishly mentored Joshua to lead the next generation (succession planning).
And through Joshua’s faithfulness, the impact of his leadership was:

Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua
and of the elders who outlived him
and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel.
Joshua 24:31 (NIV)

because Joshua lived out the word of God,
and followed the Lord’s instruction.

Joshua 1:7,8 (NIV)
“Be strong and very courageous.
Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you;
do not turn from it to the right or to the left,
that you may be successful wherever you go.

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips;
meditate on it day and night,
so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.
Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Joshua took God’s word seriously;
he honored and revered the word of God;
building his life, … and the lives of others
on God’s word.

Keeping watch — feeding the Truth

On the night Jesus was born, … some folks were also faithfully at their offices working the midnight shift,

That night there were shepherds
staying in the fields nearby,
guarding their flocks of sheep.

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them ….
Luke 2:8,9 (NLT)

While the sheep were resting peacefully, these shepherds were taking turns  watching vigilantly over the sheep against predators or enemies that come only to steal, kill and destroy,
ever ready to defend the sheep, and fight for the sheep with their lives.

Jesus said, 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life,
and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.


Here’s an excerpt of Paul’s farewell words to the elders of the church at Ephesus, which echoes the shepherds at Jesus’ birth

Acts 20:20,27-30 (NIV)
20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house.

27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.

28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.
Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.

31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

Like the shepherds in the fields at night – keep watch, be on guard

I have not hesitated to preach anything,
that would be helpful, … to proclaim to you the whole will of God …
never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

Paul passionately taught everything that was helpful to the Ephesians, and proclaimed  the whole will of God to them … (not just snippets, sound bites), … even the hard and unpopular parts.  He withheld nothing back.
Paul fed them with the pure milk of the word, the fresh bread of life, the solid food of the Word (1 Peter 2:2, Deuteronomy 8:3, Hebrews 5:12)

Paul taught, discipled and mentored them in the ways of God.

Perhaps our knowledge and experience may be limited,
however, we can creatively  share and bless others with resources —
meaningful Bible messages that have personally blessed us, a song, a book, a web hyperlink, a youtube, an mp3, etc, etc.

Like the parable of the Sower and the seed,
by teaching and feeding God’s Word on good soil results in growth and fruit.
God’s truth
protects everyone against the deception of  savage wolves who distort the truth to draw away people.

distort the truth – deception, half-truths, untruths, misrepresentations of Bible verses, verses quoted out of context,  lies from the father of lies (John 8:44)

When the truth of God’s word is replaced by deception.

How are sheep scattered ?

12 … the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. (John 10:12 NIV)

Matthew 12:25, 30 (NIV)
25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them,
Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined,
and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.

30 Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

Mark 9:39
Jesus said. For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment
say anything bad about me,

40 for whoever is not against us is for us.

Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

for whoever is not against us
is for us.

Sheep scatter:
Whenever Jesus is no longer exalted, and does not take pre-eminence.
When division & disunity is sown.

Paraphrasing Matthew 12:30 and Mark 9:40
whoever is with me … whoever gathers … whoever is for us,
is on  Jesus side,
brings others to Jesus, the good Shepherd.

the wolf attacks & scatters the flock fanning the sparks of unforgiveness, ambition, pride, ego, envy,distrust, gossip, … leading to  fiery darts  of accusations, distrust, disunity, confusion, … culminating in fights, quarrels, divisions, church splits, etc
…. sown by the seeds of bitter envy and selfish ambition

14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts,
do not boast about it or deny the truth.

15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven
but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition,
there you find disorder and every evil practice.
James 3:14-16 (NIV)

Keep watch over the flock by feeding the flock with God’s Truth,
when Jesus, the Chief Shepherd, takes pre-eminence and is exalted.

The shepherd who takes the time and care to prepare  solid food to feed the sheep, and milk for the lamb,
produces healthy, and productive sheep.

The mum-dad  Shepherd’s heart

Paul shares an interesting insight into his pastoral shepherd approach to the Thessalonian believers,

1 Thessalonians 2:7,8, 11,12, 19,20 (NIV)
7… Just as a nursing mother cares for her children,
so we cared for you.
Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.

 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as
a father deals with his own children,
12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God,
who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?
20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

Loving parents, mum & dad, sacrifice a lot for their children in nurturing them to maturity.

like a nursing mothercaring, sharing our lives
perhaps here Paul was referencing a verse from the Old Testament,

Isaiah 49:15 (NIV)
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!

Paul’s desire is for believers to live lives worthy of God,

Galatians 4:19 (GNT)
My dear children! Once again, just like a mother in childbirth,
I feel the same kind of pain for you until Christ’s nature is formed in you

he liken this to a mother in childbirth, in agony & perserverance,
… and the joy when the healthy baby finally appears.

Hence, in addition to sharing knowledge and information,
the focus is
live lives worthy of God, … until Christ’s nature is formed in us,
i.e. transformation of life and character, … to be like Jesus.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1,2 (NIV)

like a father encouraging, comforting, urging his children to live lives worthy of God,
persuasion, influence, guidance.

Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)
Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
    We are the clay, you are the potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.

Character development, … gentle, firm character moulding,
through careful, even strokes of encouraging, comforting, urging,
so that all of us  consistently live lives worthy of God.

Hence, … the tenderness, caring compassion of mum,
and the firmness, straight-talk of dad.

Compassion, … & sometimes, tough love.

Communications that touches the heart like mum,
and satisfies the mind like dad.

Because we loved you so much,

we were delighted to share with you
not  only the gospel of God
but our lives as well.

By openly sharing his life with the Thessalonian believers,
up close and personal,
Paul was able to influence and inspire them to live lives worthy of God.
Paul was an inspiring example to his flock.

You can impress from a distance,
but you can only impact up close.
— Howard Hendricks

And like beaming, proud parents, Paul wrote:
19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown
in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus
when he comes?

Is it not you?
20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

John wrote:
 I have no greater joy than to hear
that my children are walking in the truth.

3 John 1:4 (NIV)

Shepherdship – fruit & impact

Howard Hendricks:

“With the kind of start I had in life, I’m sure I could have soon died and gone to hell and nobody would have particularly cared.  I was born into a broken home, my parents having separated before I was born.  The only time I ever saw them together was eighteen years later when I was called to testify in a divorce court.

As a boy I lived in a neighborhood in north Philadelphia in which they said an evangelical church could never be planted. But God has a fantastic sense of humor whenever anyone decides what can’t be done. He led a small group of Christians to band together, buy a little house there, and start a church.

One man in the church was named Walt. He had only a sixth-grade education. One day Walt told the Sunday school superintendent he wanted to start a Sunday school class. “That’s great, Walt,” he was told, “but we don’t have an opening for you.” Walt insisted, however, so the superintendent said, “Good. Go out and get a class. Anybody you find is yours.”

Then Walt came into my community. The first time we met I was playing marbles out on the concrete. “Son,” he said, “how would you like to go to Sunday school?”

I wasn’t interested. Anything with school in it had to be bad news.

So he said, “How about a game of marbles?”

That was different. So we shot marbles and had a great time, though he whipped me in every single game. (Now you know: I lost my marbles early in life.) By then I would have followed him anywhere.

Walt picked up a total of thirteen boys in that community for his Sunday school class, of whom nine were from broken homes. Eleven of the thirteen are now in full-time vocational Christian work.

Actually, I can’t tell you much of what Walt said to us, but I can tell you everything about him…because he loved me for Christ’s sake. He loved me more than my parents did.

He used to take us hiking, and I’ll never forget those times. I’m sure we made his bad heart worse, but he’d run all over those woods with us because he cared.

He was not the most scintillating person in the world, but he was for real. I knew it, and so did everyone else in that class.

So you see, my interest in teaching is much more than professional. It’s also intensely personal—and, in fact, a passion— because the only reason I have a ministry today is that God brought along my path a committed teacher.”


“Years ago in a church in Dallas we were having trouble finding a teacher for a junior-high boys class. The list of prospects had only one name—and when they told me who it was, I said, “You’ve got to be kidding.” But I couldn’t have been more wrong about that young man. He took the class and revolutionized it.

I was so impressed I invited him to my home for lunch and asked him the secret of his success. He pulled out a little black book. On each page he had a small picture of one of the boys, and under the boy’s name were comments like “having trouble in arithmetic,” or “comes to church against parents’ wishes,” or “would like to be a missionary someday but doesn’t think he has what it takes.”

“I pray over those pages every day,” he said, “and I can hardly wait to come to church each Sunday to see what God has been doing in their lives.”

I challenge you to pray over your students this way—whether they’re nursery kids or senior citizens.”

— Howard Hendricks, Teaching to change lives, Multnomah Books, 1987, pg 13, 14, 28, 29

Through his experiences, Howard Hendricks clearly highlights that fruitful shepherdship is not based on paper qualifications, intellect, eloquence,
… rather its through

a caring concerned heart, a praying heart,
a friend, a buddy,

who weeps with you,
who laughs with you.

who is fun to be around,
makes others feel warmth, .. & loved inside,
.. valued, .. precious,
who looks out for the concerns of others,
who looks forward to others reaching their fullness in Christ,
unconcerned about personal recognition.
i.e. someone who cares,
who comes alongside,
who desires others to experience Jesus personally,
and helps others to be fruitful, reach their fullest,

… like Jesus

For Walt, the children he impacted and influenced,
each child would certainly look back with fondness,
and cherished memorable moments spent with him.
Walt was dearly loved by the those he led.

A heart filled by God’s love & Truth,
desiring to quietly, spontaneously
pour God’s love & Truth
into someone else.

The effective teacher always teaches from the overflow of a full life.
— Howard Hendricks

Like Walt and the other young man,
the focus is on caring, sharing, feeding, praying, loving
one child, … one person at a time,

Instead of size and numbers,
or building the church, group, etc,

they were interested in building individual lives for Jesus,
i.e. building people.

they taught by their life example,
and through their life experience with the Lord;
their love, passion and enthusiasm infectiously imfluenced others around them.

Hence, practical shepherdship is within the reach of everyone and anyone,
both young and the old,
… being a faithful, prayerful, caring friend

When I am down and, oh, my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up to more than I can be.
— Rolf Løvland

Watch and pray shepherds

In Paul’s epistles, he often mentions his tender personal prayers for the churches and individuals.
He and his friends certainly cared a lot for the people they led, shepherded, cared,
as they constantly remember them in their prayers.
For them, …out of sight (or side) … is not out of mind.

Romans 1:9,10 (NIV) 
God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness
how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; …

Ephesians 1:16 (NIV)
I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

Philippians 1:14 (NIV)
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy

1 Thessalonians 1:2 (NIV)
We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.

2 Timothy 1:3 (NIV) for Timothy
… night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.

Philemon 1:4 (NIV) for Philemon
I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers,

In some of his Epistles, Paul shares his prayers, for example

Colossians 1:9-12 (NIV)
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

These and other of Paul’s prayers are good prayers to pray over others.
Here’s a list of Paul’s prayers (click here).

One certainly feels deeply loved, by the tenderly written prayers of Paul for the people around him,
… and his greetings to them, by name.
His earnestness, sincerity, longings for them, … in spite of his own challenges or imprisonment.

Like a loving dad and mum constantly remembering their children affectionately in prayer.
Praying & hoping for the very best for their lives.

constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times

I have not stopped giving thanks for you

for all of you, I always pray with joy

Paul loved them deeply, … each and every one of them deeply.
Example — read his personal greetings to individuals in his letters (eg Romans 16).

Colossians 4:12, 13 (NIV)
12 Epaphras,who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings.

He is always wrestling in prayer for you,
that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.

13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.

Like Epaphras, … shepherds of prayer,
who watch and pray for the flock,
partnering with with God in prayer.

Prayer moves the unseen sovereign hand of God, … changes lives,
that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.

The sheep are never far from the shepherd’s … watchful prayer.

Jesus said to Peter,
“… I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail ….”
Luke 22:32 (NIV)

Shepherdship – Being an example to the flock

One of Peter’s unforgettable experience with Jesus, was how the good Shepherd personally went to find him by the Sea of Galilee, and restored him; … after Peter had denied him 3 times, and abandoned Jesus in his toughest moments.

Grace.  Forgiveness.  Restoring grace.
Grace which inspired Peter to boldly preach on the day of Pentecost, and 3000 were added into the kingdom of God.

Peter describes shepherd sheep leadership:

1 Peter 5:2-6 (ESV)
shepherd the flock of God that is among you,

exercising oversight, not under compulsion,
but willingly,
as God would have you;

not for shameful gain, but eagerly;

not domineering over those in your charge,
but being examples to the flock.

And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders.

Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you

Let’s read two other translations of verse 2 & 3

shepherd and guide and protect the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not [motivated] for shameful gain, but with wholehearted enthusiasm; not lording it over those assigned to your care [do not be arrogant or overbearing], but be examples [of Christian living] to the flock [set a pattern of integrity for your congregation].

that you care for God’s flock with all the diligence of a shepherd. Not because you have to, but because you want to please God. Not calculating what you can get out of it, but acting spontaneously. Not bossily telling others what to do, but tenderly showing them the way.

See also Ezekiel 34 about good and bad shepherds.

The un-shepherd-sheep attitudes are:

after shameful gain … greedy,  calculative, a means to enrich oneself,
shepherds who feed only themselves (Jude 1:12) 

domineering, … bossy,  arrogant, overbearing,
command & control, fear-driven, manipulative,
domineering taskmasters, micro-managers

under compulsion, … a job, because we have to 


… rather than shepherd,
… rather than mend and tend,
… rather than gather

The sheeps’ health suffer.

While the exemplary shepherdship attitudes are:

willingly, … eagerly, … cheerfully, enthusaistically,
voluntarily, because we love to

The domineering shepherd drives, manipulates, controls.
Task oriented, activity, … works-focused
…. building corporate organisations.

The good shepherd inspires, influences, encourages, assists,
delegates, empowers. forgiving
People oriented, builds people, … grace,
… building loving community in Christ.

…  being examples of the flock,
be examples of Christian living,
tenderly showing them the way.

In the Gospels, Jesus consistently lived out what he taught,
he humbly demonstrated what he meant.
Some lessons he repeats a few times in various ways.
He is patient with his disciples.

Jesus first lived out in real life,
before asking others to do likewise.

Jesus embodied His vision, mission and values,
consistently, … everywhere he went.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and
we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father,
full of grace and truth
John 1:14 (NIV)

Jesus said,
“The student is not above the teacher,
but everyone who is fully trained
will be like their teacher.”

Luke 6:40 (NKJV)

when the chief Shepherd appears,
you will receive the unfading crown of glory

Luke 6:35 (ESV)
But love your enemies,
and do good, and lend,
expecting nothing in return,
and your reward will be great,
and you will be sons of the Most High,
for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

Serving others, expecting nothing in return,
Jesus our chief Shepherd has eternal rewards.

humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God
humility before God, 

clothe ourselves with humility toward one another,
before others, young and old

This was said of Moses,
Now Moses was very humble—more humble than any other person on earth.  (Numbers 12:3 NLT)

When Moses led Israel, he was in his eighties.
Even at his senior age, in humility
… he was open to arise,
learn new tricks from the Lord,
and a fresh career move :-).
to pioneer something new, revolutionary,
that’s never done before, … never seen before.

In the wilderness, Moses humbly followed the Lord, … step by step following the Lord, Shepherd.

Interestingly, … Moses’ first 80 years of his life only filled one plus chapter (Exodus 2,3),
while the last 40 years of his life filled nearly 4 books of the Bible.
Never too old … to be used by the Lord,
… there’s faith pages still to be written 🙂 .

Moses spent forty years thinking he was somebody;
then he spent forty years on the backside of the desert
realizing he was nobody;
finally, he spent the last forty years of his life leaning
what God can do with a nobody!

— Dwight L. Moody

In the wilderness, over and over again,
Moses patiently reminded the people to look unto the Lord and His faithfulness (eg Deuteronomy 1:30-33 )

In humility, … good shepherds lead others to the chief Shepherd, Jesus,
encouraging others to always look unto the Lord,
and not at themselves.
humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God

No leader can please everyone they lead.
In the 40 years that Moses led Israel, he experienced
criticisms, grumblings, complaints, unbelief, leadership challenges, un-appreciative comments, etc.
to his leadership … (even from his own family).

Instead of fighting back,
Moses strived to please the Lord and follow him,
… each time, Moses took ownership, responsibility of the problem.
Moses humbly went to the Lord in prayer for solutions.

Now Moses was very humble
—more humble than any other person on earth.

Numbers 12:3 (NLT)

By being popular, one only gains armchair ‘fans’ & virtual ‘likes‘…

a leader has willing followers
who arise and follow, … and act

A useful advice Paul gave Timothy on humility,

And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel
but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,
25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition,
if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,
2 Timothy 2:24 (NKJV)

Jesus’ teaching on humility and leadership,

9:48 … For it is the one who is least among you all
who is the greatest.

10:43 … whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.

22:26 … Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest,
and the leader as one who serves.
Luke 9:48, Mark 10:43,44, Luke 22:26 (NIV)

Jesus our shepherd, lived and showed us his humble example,

45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Luke 10:45 (NIV)


In a nutshell,

shepherd sheep with God’s wisdom,
with courage,
… passion, .. faith,
…. compassion, .. faithfulness,
… giving, … forgiving, …
loving Jesus, the Shepherd,
nurturing His sheep

In conclusion,

And let us not grow weary while doing good,
for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)

By His grace,
may we follow our redeeming shepherd,
and may his humble example inspire us daily.

I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

John 10:14 (NIV)

May we abide in the presence of our resurrected shepherd,
who equips, empowers us with everything good for doing his will,
and work in us what is pleasing to him

20 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant
brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus,
that great Shepherd of the sheep

21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 13:20,21 (NIV)

And in humility, may all glory go to our soon returning Shepherd.

And when the chief Shepherd appears,
you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
1 Peter 5:4 (NIV)


15 Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve Him day and night in His temple.
And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.

16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat;
17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne
will shepherd them
and lead them to living fountains of waters.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Revelations 7:15-17 (NKJV)


 Ministry | Shepherd Leadership

by 林弟兄, bro Lim
May 20, 2016

Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2016 – All Rights Reserved
Creative Commons License



This entry was posted on May 20, 2016 by in Ministry, Shepherd leadership.
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