Shepherding Our Clergy

The concept of “shepherding up” is broached at every workshop we facilitate, and it nearly always produces the same reaction:  a look of confusion, of wonder, and a “Really??” stare. 

In a nutshell, it’s the concept of shepherding those who shepherd us.  It’s defined rather loosely until we dig in and determine how we will display this duty. In concept, it is the responsibility to demonstrate Provision, Protection, and Presence to those to whom we report or who act as supervisor, manager, overseer, or teacher in our lives.  

I was reminded of our responsibility to “shepherd up” within the Church while reading an address by Alistair Begg. Senior Pastor of Parkside Church.  In his exhortation, he references others who share his occupation and calling… 

“It never once occurred to me when I was a boy that I would one day be called to pastoral ministry. My ordination in October of 1976 established me on a course from which, by God’s grace, I have never thought to change. The two years spent in the company and under the tutelage of pastor Derek J. Prime laid the foundation for all that has transpired. To this day, the example he provided continues to challenge and inspire me. For thirty-eight years, the Parkside family has displayed a long-suffering affection for me, and the privilege and responsibility of doing what I do keeps me alert and hopefully growing in grace. This is a calling that I share not only with my colleagues here but also with fellow pastors around the nation and throughout the world. I join you in expressing my deep appreciation for pastors during this month, known as Pastor Appreciation Month.” 

Our clergy.  The duty with which they have been charged is clear:     

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, 
who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; 
reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
2 Timothy 4:1-2 

It is a duty of the highest order, one that is direct from the Good Shepherd Himself. Therefore, in gratitude and appreciation, may we shepherd up to these men and women.  First, in this month of special recognition by encouraging them in the tasks they are performing and the weighty responsibilities they bear, as instructed by the writer of Hebrews, for a very specific and exceptionally essential purpose… 

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,”
so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
Hebrews 3:13 

 Then, may we demonstrate Provision, Protection, and Presence for these dear ones on an ongoing basis, in creative and selfless ways – by flourishing in our faith, growing in love for one another, with all humility and without fear, facilitating unity within the body of Christ… 

Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you,
because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing.
2 Thessalonians 1:3 

To this, we have been called.  Live into it deeply. 

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