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Chapter 6

The Shepherd

 
The first scriptural reference to Shepherds or Elders is found in

Numbers 11:25

"And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders:"

God gave Moses seventy men to assist him in caring for the children of Israel. They functioned with an anointing under his shepherding and thus could also be called Under-Shepherds.

In the New Testament the Greek word "Poimen" means

"to shepherd, care for, feed or lead sheep."

Shepherding is Gods care for His children by those He chooses.

God clearly reveals in His word what his idea of Shepherding is.

Ezekiel 34:2-16

12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.

14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.

15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.

16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick:

The Church of Jesus Christ is made up of many members. (Sheep)

God has called Shepherds to care for His sheep.

      Let us consider four aspects of the Shepherd:

  1. The New Testament qualifications of the Shepherd.
    These are described in 1 Timothy 3:1-7
    A Shepherd should be:
    Blameless

Of good report
A husband of one wife

A vigilant person
A sober person

Of good behavior
Hospitable

A teacher

Non-aggressive

Patient
Not covetous

Not greedy

Not a lover of money

One who rules his house well.

  1. A Shepherd should always be under authority.

As Shepherds we are to be in subjection to those placed by the Lord Jesus over us, and should always be open to correction and discipline by them.


3. Shepherds should always be in unity with the other Shepherds.

1 Corinthians 1:10

"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no

divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."

Shepherds need to be as one before the Lord in perfect unity. They need at all times to share and be in unity with the vision, guidance and the goals of the leadership. Lots of independent visions cause division, and lots of heads create a monster. Shepherds need to be united in fellowship, prayer and fastings, meeting the needs of the saints they shepherd. They should not have self-elevation or personal
gain in mind as Shepherds.

  1. Shepherds need to be effective leaders.

Shepherds take upon themselves the responsibility to care for a group of Christians and are responsible for their spiritual growth, protection and well-being. Christians come together in groups known as cells. These cells are led by Shepherds, who lead by word, action and example.

When leading a cell group they need to ensure the spiritual growth of the members, who must be taught and motivated to win others to Christ. Each weekly Cell meeting must be well organized and spiritually effective.

    The cell leaders commitment.

A cell leaders commitment will include the following:

  1. To take the responsibility of spiritually leading several members of a cell group.
  2. To do all cell activities in excellence.
  3. To carefully and prayerfully select helpers.
  4. To lead the cell in growth to twelve members.
  5. To then gracefully divide the cell into two.
  6. To restart the process of building each cell to twelve again.



    Four things that are necessary for successful shepherding:
  1. A Divine calling.

Shepherds need to walk worthy of their Divine calling.

Ephesians 4:1

"I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called."

God takes the initiative to call us to work for Him as Shepherds and He does this by speaking to us in different ways. When He calls us, we feel in our hearts the unction and the conviction to work for Him. We then obediently take upon ourselves the responsibility to be trained to be able to effectively do His work.

We are totally committed to the task.

  1. Training.

Our training will involve two things:

a. Having the Godly character that God requires of us for the 

    task.

b. Being trained to do the work He requires us to do.

2 Timothy 2:15

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

  1. Confirmation.

When it is evident to those in leadership that someone is called of God and that they have submitted to training and guidance, then their calling may be confirmed. Only those confirmed may be ordained to the ministry of Shepherding.

  1. Ordination.

A Shepherd may be ordained for four reasons:

1. To acknowledge Gods choice and authorization of their  ministry.

2. To give the candidate the place and opportunity of ministry.

3. To impart by the laying on of hands special gifting.

  1. To announce the time of the commencement of ministry.

The ordination will have the following elements:

  1. The Leadership will recommend those confirmed for ordination.
  2. Ordination should take place at a Church gathering.
  3. Candidates should be charged to fulfill all their responsibilities.
  4. The Church Leadership should then lay hands on the candidate, and give whatever words, exhortations or prophecies the Lord has given, and impart whatever graces, God would at that time bestow upon the candidate.
  5. Thereafter, the Shepherd should be received as a servant of God and be honored and supported by his Peers and the Church.
  6. The new Shepherd should himself be subjected to pastoral care and spiritual authority.

        Shepherds need to understand sheep

There are eight aspects Shepherds need to consider about sheep:

  1. Sheep need to be led to food and water.
  2. In storms, sheep need shelter.
  3. Sheep need careful care and watching so as not to be lost.
  4. Sheep need quiet restful waters.
  5. Sheep need green pastures to lie down and rest.
  6. Sheep need anointing oil to sooth their head in the hot sun.
  7. Sheep need dipping to protect them from harmful insects.
  8. Sheep need the shepherd's protection from wild animals.

         How to shepherd sheep:

Shepherds need to:

Love and value them.

Lead them to green pastures and refreshing water.

Care for them and not let one go lost.

Protect them under all circumstances.

      Those who are called to be Shepherds can be effective cell leaders in a local church.

       Understanding the concept of local church cells.

A church cell is the New Testament form of church life and to fully understand it, one needs to consider how the cells of a human body function.

How cells work in the human body.

The human body is made up of cells and it grows when the cells multiply.

This process takes place in the following way:

A healthy cell develops.

It forms two poles that are identical.

It divides into two parts.

These two parts split and form two cells.

Church cells work the same way.

A healthy church cell develops and grows to twelve members. It then develops two parts that prepare to divide. The division takes place, each having six members. Both cells then continue with their own growth process separately.

  • A Biblical foundation for cells.

Cells in the Old Testament.

Moses effectively ministered to the needs of the Israelites, by organizing them into small groups of ten.

Exodus 18:21

Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:

The smallest group of ten had a leader.

Nehemiah organized his people into smaller groups to be more successful in rebuilding the gates and wall of Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 3:1-32)

Solomon used the same principle to organize his Kingdom to function effectively. (1Kings 4)

Our Lords example.

When Jesus fed the five thousand, He organized them into small groups.

Mark 6:39-42

39 And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass.

40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.

41 And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.

42 And they did all eat, and were filled.

When Jesus sent out his Disciples to minister.

He sent them out as a group of seventy, a group of twelve and two by two.

Luke 10:1

"After these things the LORD appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come."

Matthew 10:5

"These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:"

Cells in the early church.

The one hundred and twenty disciples cared for the three thousand souls that were saved, by doing it from house to house.

Acts 2:46-47

46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Within a sixty-year period, the Church grew from one hundred and twenty Christians to millions over the face of the earth.

The early church came together in house meetings.

Romans 16:3-5

3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:

5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house.

Acts 20:20

And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house.

Cells in church history:

Catacombs - During the early persecution of the Church in Rome, Christians were forced to come together and worship in small groups in the catacombs.

Under communism - During the reign of communism in the former Soviet Union, Christians were forced to have church in small groups, in their homes.

China - To this very day in communist China, Christians have to secretly come together in small groups to have church.

A Biblical vision for Cells.

A vision to build the Church with new Cells made up of Christians is Biblical.

Here is a typical example of cells today:

Each new spiritual cell in the church is activated with a cell leader and five members. The cell leader appoints a learner cell leader, a prayer leader and a secretary. With an additional two members, they form the core group that will grow to twelve members, and then divide into two groups of six and continue the process. Once twelve cells have been birthed under the ministry of the cell leader, they will form a section and the cell leader is then promoted to a sectional cell leader. Six of these sections will form a district. (About 500 members) over which the sectional leader will be promoted to Associate Pastor.

Sunday services of the Church.

All the members will come together for fellowship and celebration on Sunday.

       The purpose of a cell.

Cell groups provide a setting where there can be encouragement, heart sharing, interaction and openness among cell members. The cell looks inwardly to help every member grow spiritually and outwardly to bring others to Christ.

        The functions of cell meetings.

Once members and visitors have been made to feel welcome, they should feel comfortable and relaxed. This is a good time for light refreshments to be served and conversation to take place.

(About fifteen minutes)

After this it is time to move the focus away from people towards the Lord. The prayer leader leads the members in prayer.

Following prayer, the group may be led in worship. With good taped background music, a musician or a strong voiced leader, the members may worship the Lord.

(About fifteen minutes)

This is followed by the edification time, where the members will share their testimonies and encourage each other.

(About ten minutes)

Following this, the cell leader may give a lesson or show a Christian video.

(About twenty minutes)

The final part will be where the leader shares the vision of the cell:

Its purpose and destiny.

Some of the exciting activities.

Information about the next weeks cell meeting.

Motivating members to invite someone to the next cell gathering.


        The leadership of a cell.

The leadership of a cell will consist of the following:

1. A cell leader.

Who will care for the Christians in the cell.

Who will organize and lead the activities of the cell.

2. A learner cell leader.
The learner cell leader is an apprentice of the cell leader and should be trained
by the cell leader.

2 Timothy 2:2

"And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."

The trainee should:

Carefully observe,
Apply what has been learned,

Be willing to be delegated,
Be willing to be corrected,

Be encouraged,
Be dedicated to become a co-worker.


3. A prayer leader.

A prayer leader should lead and co-ordinate prayer and fasting activities of the cell.


4. A secretary.

This member should help with the administration of the cell and maintain a Christian books, tapes and video library, for members.

         The six phases of a cell before reproducing itself:

  1. The acquaintance phase.

This is the phase where the members get to know each other and feel comfortable with each other.

  1. The understanding phase.

This is the sand papering or stones rubbing together phase where members get to accept each other as they are.

Here members learn to understand each other's:

Personality.

Value system.

Sensitivities and differences.

  1. The community phase.

In this phase members tend to move toward each other in special fellowship and bonding. It is important for the leader to guide the members, allowing new members that come in, to be included in this bonding process.

  1. The ministering phase.

     In this phase, members experience growing spiritually and in ministry. They begin to use their talents and discover and enjoy their natural spiritual profiles.

The seven profiles are mentioned by Paul.

Romans 12:6-8

6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

The seven profiles enable a person to be either:

1. A speaker (prophecy)

2. A helper (ministering)

3. A teacher

4. An encourager (exhorting)

5. A giver (financing Gods program)

     6. A leader

     7. A comforter (A person who dries away tears) 

      

5.  Mentoring phase.

In this phase, the leadership of the cell is developed.

The next cell leader is developed, by going through an apprenticeship. The prayer leader and secretary are carefully and prayerfully guided to work excellently for the Lord.

The other members prepare their hearts to be used in leadership within the new cell.

  1. The multiplying phase.

In this phase, all the aspects and tools of Evangelism are used to cause the cell to grow and double in size.

     Eight things cell members should experience:

  1. Fellowship

When people enter the cell group it is necessary that they feel that they are part of a spiritual family and only true fellowship can achieve this. This will happen when members learn to know more about each other and everyday things of life. Cell members will get to share interests like hobbies, picnics, eating out, sports or sitting together at church. They will learn to value and appreciate each others company.

  1. Worship.

    It is necessary to express love, adoration and praise to the Godhead, where members pour out their inner affectionate devotion to Him. A cell leader needs to plan the worship by selecting the music and songs before the gathering and visualize the flow of the worship. While leading the worship, the leader needs to be sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Celebrating the Lords Supper could be a part of the worship from time to time.

  1. Evangelism.

Evangelism in the cell is essential for the continual growth of the cell. Cell members need to do evangelism training. There are three important places to evangelize:

1.   In our own circle of influence. (Family or friends)

2.    Finding fishing holes where one can fish for souls.

3.  Creating bridges to reach people for God.

Evangelism can be done in the following five ways:

a. Inviting friends to the cell gatherings.

Matthew invited his friends to meet Jesus.

         Luke 5:29

"And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there

was a great company of publicans and of others that sat

down with them."

There are an average of 20 persons within each persons area of influence.

b. Having end-time seminars about the Lord's coming.

c. Door knocking and doing neighborhood evangelism.

 

          d. Visiting the sick at Hospitals.

 

A cell leader can co-ordinate evangelism activities, where members can go out as a group and evangelize.

We need to reach hurting people. Those who are lonely, depressed, addicted and with broken relationships.

    4.  Edification.

If members are not edified in cell gatherings, then these gatherings will be fruitless. Members will be edified when:

They feel the Lords presence.

Their burdens are lifted.

Their hurts are healed.

They enjoy true fellowship with other believers.

They feel safe and protected.

They learn Biblical principles.

They grow spiritually.

They experience working for the Lord.

  1. Prayer.

Members need to be taught to develop a daily prayer lifestyle. They need to organize their prayer time. They need to pray over the food they eat. They need to start and end their day in prayer. They need to pray daily for their own spiritual cleansing by the precious Blood of Jesus. They need to be able to take their requests to God in prayer when needed. They need to intercede for the salvation of their loved ones and friends. They need to pray for their brothers and sisters in the Lord. They need to pray for the Church.

  1. Restoration.

When a person becomes a cell member they will discover that there are areas of their life that need restoration. Emotional, mental and physical hurts that need healing. It is important to direct those who need restoration, to Jesus the great Shepherd who restores our souls.

Psalm 23:1-3

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

The leadership and cell members can always be helpful in the healing of these wounds.

  1. Leadership.

All leaders must successfully exercise their leadership and not relinquish it to members who have strong personalities. They must duplicate themselves in new trainee cell leaders.

There are nine key elements for effective spiritual leadership:

1.  A leader must faithfully serve God.

2.   A leader must have compassion for people and be friendly. 

3.   A leader must be committed to studying Gods Word.

4.   A leader must practice the basic Christian principles.

5.    A leader must lead by example.

6.   A leader must be faithful.

7.    A leader must have a vision.

8.     A leader must be a hard worker.

9.     A leader must be submissive and teachable.

 

A leader cannot lead unless there are people to lead. By understanding the task that is at hand, a cell leader can direct and designate ministry roles within the cell. Members can be involved in ministry tasks. Responsibilities can be delegated. A leader should exhibit confidence in the person and clearly define the boundaries of their assignment and authority and what his expectations are. The resources like money, material and information need to be available to successfully complete the task. The leader needs to encourage and show appreciation for all efforts and assignments completed.

  1. Benevolence. Cell members need to experience and develop hospitality and love for people.

    This is evident in compassionate things we may do like:

Giving food baskets to the needy.

Feeding the homeless.

Inviting folks over for dinner.

Taking a dinner to sick folks.

Doing benevolent tasks to help the aged or physically impaired.

    Starting a cell for the first time.

There are several things a cell leader needs to do when starting a cell:

  1. Decide what day and what time to have the cell meeting.
  2. Decide where to have it.
  3. Make a list of the people to be invited to the first meeting.
  4. Inviting each of them individually.
  5. Deciding what the activities are going to be.
  6. Clearly and prayerfully setting out the program.
  7. Organizing and preparing the details meticulously.
  8. Asking those invited to do something. (Pray, prepare some food)
  9. Be sure to remind them the day before.
    10. Make use of the Godly counsel of leadership.

    Ten vital aspects of a cell meeting:

  1. It must have a specific date, time and venue.
  2. It must be well advertised and start on time.
  3. Worship must be fluent and in the Spirit.
  4. Members must be encouraged to participate.
  5. What is said must be well prepared.
  6. It must not be long and boring.
  7. Profiles of members should be identified.
  8. Talents of members should be used.  
  9. Problems of members should be identified.
    10. Members should be encouraged to attend church.


    Hindrances at cell meetings.

All hindrances during cell meetings need to be dealt with namely:

Untidy rooms.

Ringing phones.

Noisy pets.
Crying babies.

Noisy TV or Stereo sounds.

     Teenagers in the cell.

Teenagers should be allowed to participate in the cell meetings unless there is a special teenage cell that has been arranged for them.

     
Children in the cell.

Arrangements should be made for the children to be ministered to. Special children's lessons are available for this purpose and a different member should be selected to minister to them.

     Forms to use:

There are several forms that can be used to simplify and organize cell activities and are attached, namely:

  1. A cell group covenant.
  2. A guest list.
  3. An invitation.
  4. An attendance record.
  5. A cell group planning sheet.

 

Before completing the Shepherd questionnaire, consider this fact:

The real test of a Shepherd is fourfold.

  1. Equip yourself - study this training material
  2. Complete the questionnaire.
  3. Do the actual work of a Shepherd faithfully.
  4. The ultimate test is to receive recognition one day in heaven from Jesus Christ the Great Shepherd.
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