The Disciple Maker as a Shepherd

The Disciple Maker as a Shepherd

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After intentionally making disciples for more than 30 years, I have come to understand that disciple makers should see themselves as shepherds. In other words, when we make disciples it is what is known as a “shepherding” or “pastoral” ministry.

Although some have abused this, I believe it has merit and should be considered. We’ve all heard of stories where shepherds have been guilty of forcing or manipulating those in their care to do what they want them to do by saying “GOD” told me to tell you this or that.

A godly shepherd should “lead” the sheep not “manipulate” or “coerce” them. But what does that look like? Let me offer three practical suggestions. A godly shepherd will help to:

  • Grow the Sheep

A shepherd will seek to provide all of the things necessary to grow the sheep. He will lead them to find rich pasture and water. He will seek to give them just the right nutrients and minerals necessary; in addition to the exercise and rest their physical bodies need.

The wise disciple maker seeks to help create an environment for spiritual growth. He knows the most important disciplines; Bible Intake, Scripture Memory, and Prayer must be introduced in his disciple’s life so that he can commune and hear from GOD.

In addition, he will introduce the right books, principles, and practices that will allow him to exercise his faith. Doing ministry projects together should be encouraged so that the principles you are learning together can be more fully realized.

  • Guard the Sheep

A shepherd will not only seek to provide for his sheep; he will protect his sheep. As Jesus said “The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”

A disciple maker must protect those entrusted to his care. Especially to protect them from false teachers and heretical teaching!

That is why I believe foundational teaching is so important. When believers have the right foundation they are equipped to “rightly divide” the Word of God.

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

(II Timothy 3:16-17) ESV 

  • Guide the Sheep

Shepherds guide or lead their sheep. They can so easily be led astray. You know the saying “Like a sheep led to the slaughter” the disciple maker not only helps to grow and guard those in his group, he seeks to guide them as well.

We all have decisions to make and all of us like to have a listening ear to assist us in discerning things from God’s viewpoint.

In addition, the disciple maker has the great privilege to live a Christ centered life before the members in his D group. Notice what Peter tells the shepherd’s.

Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock (I Peter 5:2-3) ESV

There is no greater teaching tool than the power of a “Godly example.”

Can you do me a favor? If these ideas resonate with you, would you:

  • REACT. Do something.
  • RESPOND. Leave a comment on this post.
  • REPOST. Repost this link on Twitter, Facebook or your blog.

Tim joined Long Hollow as the Pastor for Campus Development in 2015. Tim is married to Chris LaFleur and has a four wonderful children, and ten amazing grandchildren (making holidays very fun exciting)! Tim enjoys reading books by John Piper, and pastor Robby Gallaty. His hobbies include watching the LSU tigers play or going fishing for the day. Brother Tim lives to be obedient to the call of God, and is reminded of God’s strength through his favorite passage of scripture, Colossians 1:28-29.
  • john appleseed

    Very well written, sir. Your article is a blessing to this new missionary who’s trying to make disciples.

  • Thank you!