“It changes and challenges our understanding about how to lead and love people well.” That quote from a participant at the “Leadership from the Shepherd’s Perspective” workshop held last week for Denver Area Youth for Christ in the United States helps to sum up the 1-1/2 days spent digging deeply into God’s Word to explore the universal leadership concept of shepherding, applicable to all of us who lead and influence the people in our lives.
The time together was full of poignant public and personal moments. Keen, a former gang member, attended the workshop so he could effectively reach and shepherd kids in urban Denver. After being shot on the streets of the city last year but surviving because his cell phone prevented the bullet from hitting an artery, he wants to assure he influences well those he’s working to reach through DAYFC. Justin, a young dad, moved his chair to within six inches of the “HOME – PRESENCE” flipchart page posted on the wall. He didn’t want anything to distract him from concentrating on the behaviors the group had listed as he felt demonstrating Presence with his family is where he most needed to focus his energies. Donny told his personal story of forgiveness when we shared the value of using the FORGIVE, RELEASE, and BLESS concept when he found himself in need of forgiving the professional mechanic who took a shortcut and repaired his vehicle with used parts instead of the new ones. The lack of integrity caused an accident and the death of his 5-1/2-year-old son, six years ago. Heidi’s three-month battle with COVID left her with damaged vocal cords and a weak, raspy voice, from excessive coughing. In spite of that raw and fresh challenge, she worked hard to communicate with her team and the entire group throughout the workshop. She privately shared that because she doesn’t have the COVID-19 antibodies, she is susceptible to contracting COVID again.
Denver Area YFC staff and volunteers found the shepherding concept simple, yet convicting, practical, and challenging as they explored the aspects of Provision, Protection, and Presence in the areas of their lives where they influence most office: home, ministry, with kids, with volunteers, and with donors. The Father wonderfully blessed our time together as each participant had the opportunity to search inwardly and identify those areas of leadership in their own lives that needed to be strengthened, ultimately designing an action plan to address those needs. God worked beautifully in the hearts and minds of everyone present, leading all of us to reflect and respond to the modest, yet profound shepherd metaphor used throughout Scripture.
#dayfcshepherdleaders, what a blessing it was to serve you!