Home Pastors Church Leaders, Have We Lost Our Ability to Shepherd?

Church Leaders, Have We Lost Our Ability to Shepherd?


My work leading an international parachurch ministry happily includes meeting and spending time with church leaders.

A while back, I was having lunch with a bright, young pastor and was using the time to get to know him better. As he described his work as a pastor and church planter he said, “What I really don’t enjoy much is shepherding.”

A shepherd who doesn’t enjoy shepherding?

It was not the first time a minister had said something similar to me.

One problem with a shepherd not enjoying shepherding is, when he must “shepherd,” he’ll do so half-heartedly or begrudgingly because he would really prefer to be doing something else. AND, the quality of his shepherding may be lacking, meaning those he shepherds often won’t get the spiritual leadership they need.

When shepherds aren’t really interested in the spiritual work that is the heart of their calling from God, the consequences of that lack of interest can negatively impact the people in the congregations they lead.

For example, When counseling a church leader who had fallen in sin, part of working with him was to get his senior minister and board of elders to take on the responsibility of leading him through a process of restoration, something we’re instructed to do in scripture.

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself, (Galatians 6:1).

They responded very slowly to the request, finally agreed to serve this brother who had confessed his sin, and now had to repent and work at restoring his walk with the Lord.

While agreeing to walk this brother through a restoration process, most of what followed was the fallen man having to prompt and plead with the church leaders to actually provide him with leadership! They rarely contacted him, gave little to no guidance, didn’t help set any expectations, and had not developed any process for accountability. It was as if these church leaders didn’t have a clue about how to help a fallen brother be restored in his walk with Christ.