Thursday, July 23, 2009

Where Are The Equipping Shepherds?

The job description of a shepherd is really not that deep or detailed. The job description is not “rocket science.” I would not argue nor would I propose that the qualifications for an equipping shepherd is not far more sweeping, strenuous, serious, and stated than the actual duties. Paul was very direct when he gave to Timothy and Titus the qualifications of the man who desired to shepherd God’s people. Those qualifications should not be discounted, diluted, discarded, or disregarded! In the fourth chapter of Ephesians, Paul tells us clearly that Christ, himself, gave some very important and valuable gifts to the church of which he was the head. The passage is familiar to most; Christ gave to the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, and depending on how you interpret tous de poimenas kai didaskalous, shepherd-teachers or shepherds and teachers. Christ gave such gifts for the building up of the church spiritually. God, in His infinite grace gave through Christ men who would accomplish his sovereign decree that those whom he redeemed would be conformed to the image of His dear Son. His Son, Paul writes is the measuring stick, the standard, or the marker by which our growth in likeness is to be measured. The job description (don’t discount or disregard the qualifications) is very simple. Equip the saints! Build up the body! Train, disciple, develop, discipline, and provide what is necessary to be conformed to the image of Jesus is the duty of the equipping shepherds! Equip elders, equip deacons, equip teachers, and equip the saints – through a godly example, godly exhortation, and godly exposition. The question begging to be answered then is equipping them for what? Believers must be equipped in the following areas: Understanding how to pray according to the will of God Proper understand of the privilege of giving Effective Witnessing Living in Christ, worthy of their calling Conqueror sin Devotions Studying the word Understanding of the hope to which they have been called Realizing the riches of Christ’s inheritance in the saints Understanding the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us The lambs, sheep, and people of God need to be shepherded and equipped in such a manner that they are no longer immature, no longer tossed about by every new or deceptive teaching, they need to be able to speak biblical truth in love and to grow up in every way into Christ! This is hard work, isn’t it? That is why so few pastors are true shepherds. Today we face a crisis in the body. Men are not being recognized and developed as shepherds, they are being trained as professional entertainers, businessman, entrepreneurs, and CEO’s. Look at and meditate deeply on the following passages: Galatians 4:19 – “…my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” Colossians 1:24-2:3 – “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”
Where are the equipping shepherds?

No comments: