If you are minister of a church, please consider...

If you are minister of a church, please consider the idea that you are not a shepherd.  It is an identity of many ministers in my context that the best clergy are those who function like pastors, or shepherd.

Shepherd is then defined as those who seek out lost sheep.  Shepherd is that one who feeds the sheep and leads them to still waters.  Shepherds are those who fight of danger and the sheep know the voice of the shepherd.

Ministers are not shepherds.  In fact we have a shepherd, the Good Shepherd, in Jesus Christ.  Ministers are not shepherds, Jesus Christ is.

If you are still holding on to the idea of minister as shepherd because you have a strong connection to that imagery, then might I suggest that instead of thinking of the ministry of the clergy as shepherds we might begin to think of the ministry of the minister are a sheepdog.

Ministers, like sheepdogs, are not responsible for the flock.  We take our instructions from the Shepherd.  We nip at the heels of the sheep.  We help guide the sheep as we best can understand the instructions of the Shepherd.  We are not to seek out lost sheep, that is the role of the Shepherd but we are embedded with the sheep.  Sheepdogs rely on the care, wisdom and guidance from the Shepherd as much as the sheep and in fact are called to intense training with the Shepherd in order to make sure we are functioning as best as we are able.

Being a sheepdog means we are able to say no to responsibilities which are asked of us which are the responsibilities of the Shepherd.  Being sheepdogs means we identify that we are not the Shepherd and that we are in need as much as anyone.

So, if you are a minister of a church please consider letting go of the idea that you are the shepherd of "your flock".

Christ is the Shepherd.

 The flock belongs to God.

We are servants of the Shepherd.