“He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to Him, “Yes Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.””John 21:16
Some of the most beloved and most often quoted Scriptures picture God as a Shepherd tending His flock. Psalm 23 talks about how God leads us to rest in green pastures and how He prepares our meals in the presence of our enemies. David said that he didn’t need to be in want and that he didn’t need to be afraid because God was shepherding him. The apostle John recorded Jesus telling a crowd that He Himself was the good Shepherd. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but the good shepherd came that we would have abundant life! Unlike a mere employee who runs from danger, He laid down his life for the sheep. The Apostle Peter exhorted elders in the church to shepherd God’s flock voluntarily and eagerly, according to the will of God. Pastors weren’t supposed lord their authority over God’s people or lead them out of compulsion or for sordid gain.
In October our leadership team had the wonderful opportunity to take a four day retreat, during which time we were trained on the three primary functions of good shepherding: lead, develop, and care. A shepherd must intentionally influence and enable his flock to accomplish a given task. But getting a job done isn’t God’s only goal, if that’s all He wanted, He would have been better off with machines than humans. Great leaders strengthen their follower’s capacity to grow and contribute while achieving their goals. And like God, a good shepherd watches over and cares for the health and well-being of those who look to him. It was a fruitful time for all of us.
After three and a half years, we were honored to be with our students in the Pastoral School for their very last week of class. We eagerly listened as they each gave a thirty minute oral presentation explaining a Biblical theme through the entirety of Scripture as it relates to the Gospel. It was amazing to see the difference in understanding, character, and doctrine that God had brought about in them through His Word, which never returns empty handed. Unfortunately we will not be able to hold a graduation ceremony until April 2nd, when a team will be visiting from the US, and the Covid restrictions will be a bit lighter.
Praise God with us that:
- All of our students passed their finals.
- That Noelle finished teaching our kids through another semester of homeschooling.
- We are seeing great fruit in the churches of our pastors.
Please pray with us for:
- Matt’s parents and brother who are currently suffering from Covid. His parents are slowly recovering but his brother almost lost his life and has a long way to go before fully recovering.
- Wisdom as we interview church leaders for our next intake of students.
- Funding to finish our 2nd Pastoral School of Discipleship campus.
- Our Business As Mission to gain success so our ministry can be operationally sustainable.