I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in Her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s resource is Steps: Gospel-Centered Recovery, the newest Bible study from authors Matt Chandler and Michael Snetzer. This study is robust and is designed to help a small group identify root sin struggles and apply the gospel to those deep heart issues. Steps can also serve as the foundation for a gospel-centered recovery ministry. Here is an excerpt from Steps on the role of the shepherd:
Anyone even vaguely familiar with the biblical narrative will recognize the rather dominant theme of shepherding. Exodus 3:1 states that Moses “was keeping the flock of his father-in-law.” Moses was a shepherd.
Scripture includes a number of references to shepherding and men of faith who are described this way. Abel was a shepherd, as were Abraham, Jacob, and David, just to name a few of the Old Testament figures with that responsibility. God Himself is called a Shepherd in a number of significant passages, which consequently refer to His people as sheep: Psalms 23; 78:52; Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:11-13; John 10:11; 1 Peter 2:25.
Within the pages of the New Testament, the picture continues as Jesus called His apostles to be shepherds of the Church. See particularly Jesus’ charge to Peter in John 21. The apostles then gave this charge to the elders of local churches, who apparently appointed various shepherds within the congregation (see Eph. 4:11). While certain positions (pastors, group leaders, etc.) carry an inherent responsibility to guard the flock, every believer in some sense functions as a shepherd. We are all called to watch over our families, our own lives, our friends, etc.
Here is a brief overview of the responsibilities that come with the shepherd calling and the characteristics of those who are called.
Responsibilities of a Shepherd Leader
- Feed God’s sheep (see John 21:15-17; 1 Cor. 3:2).
- Protect from predators and lies (see Matt. 7:15; Heb. 5:14).
- Lead by example (see 1 Cor. 11:1).
- Discipline in order to bring sheep back into the flock (see Luke 15:3-7; Jas. 5:19-20).
Characteristics of a Shepherd Leader
- Use the Scriptures (see Ps. 119:115; 2 Tim. 3:16).
- Point to and love Jesus as the Good Shepherd (see John 10:1-8; 1 Pet. 2:25).
- Love people with compassion and challenge (see Luke 10:25-37; 1 Thess. 5:14; 1 John 4:19).
- Willingness to enter into difficult circumstances (see 1 Sam. 17:31-37; Luke 15:1-7).
Clearly, helping the people in your church or group identify and deal with their sin in light of the work of Jesus is a critical concern for shepherds. If you want to embrace gospel-centered shepherding and lead people toward real recovery, the Steps Leader Kit is designed to help. The study has 12 sessions included in the Bible Study Book, Leader Guide, and Mentor Guide. It also includes 4 DVDs that include introductions to each of the 12 teaching sessions from Matt Chandler and the Village Church staff, core content from trained pastoral counselors, and round table discussions.
This week, I am giving away two copies of the Steps: Gospel-Centered Recovery Leader Kit. This kit includes a small-group Bible Study Book, a Leader Guide, a Mentor Guide, and the 4 DVDs.
Register to win 1 of 2 copies here or in the form below by 12:01am CT on Thursday, January 7, 2016.
You can also purchase a copy at Lifeway.com/Steps.