For the Shepherd

The following is an excerpt from an article that Julian Motley wrote for The Conservative Record in 1998 entitled Small Churches Have Big Place In The Kingdom.  This was a huge encouragement to me when Brother Motley sent it to me 5 years ago and I trust will encourage you as well.

Bro. Motley writes:

The “flock of God” does not need to be persistently prodded “to be and do and die” upon the threat of being cast off by God.  They need encouragement with the struggles they face in their homes and schools and work places.   Our preaching ought to help them become fortified through faith and learn how to wage spiritual warfare in the midst of their days.  The average Christian know precious little about “the riches which are ours in Christ Jesus” and what it means to “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6)  A congregation becomes increasingly involved spiritually as it begins to dawn up on increasing numbers of God’s people that Christ dwells in them and that all that is theirs by faith in Him is readily available to be revealed in and through them in answer to their prayers.  There is no measuring the difference it can make in any church where the minds and hearts of the people become filled with the “grace and knowledge of Christ.”

No good can ever come from repeatedly putting a believer on a guilt trip and making him to feel that he is a failure by condemning him for not being what he has tried to become and failed a thousand times.  What he needs is to be taught how to enter into “the fullness of the stature of Christ.”  This is how saved men become soldiers of the cross.

A few, small, traditional churches may die along the way, but it may be for want of a praying shepherd to come along side them in their struggle against the tide of sin and the challenges of the hour.

A noted speaker was recently quoted as saying: “if you preach in a way where no one gets their feelings hurt and nothing gets broken, you lack power and effectiveness.”  Paul wrote that we must indeed “speak the truth in love and build up the body,” but people get “their feelings hurt” only when they have been intimidated.  Intimidating preaching, and preaching “that breaks up things,” does not finally build up the body of Christ in love, and the challenges and changes needed in the church to impact our witness will not be achieved in the long term by intimidation from the sacred desk.

My appeal to the pastor taking up ministry in a small, traditional, church is that he be ruled by two attitudes.  First, that he is above all else, a shepherd (that is what “pastors” means), and secondly, that he is a Servant Minister.  He cannot walk in step with Jesus unless he has a servant spirit.  He will not likely find his people fully equipped and spiritually motivated when he gets there.  That is his job.

God loves His churches great and small, traditional and non-traditional.  They are the bride He is gathering for His Son.  All Christ-centered churches are members of His body and therefore they are precious to Him, and they should also be precious to those who lead them.

Published in: on January 5, 2009 at 3:21 pm  Comments (4)  


  1. Mike,

    Excellent word. I would add that before the pastor can have any hope of actually ministering to God’s people, he has to spend time with them and grow to truly love them. This is not accomplished in one or two years.


    • There is no substitute for love and time. There are no shortcuts when it comes to earning people’s respect. Thanks Les.

  2. Great post. Thanks.

  3. I’ll echo what Les said. Time. Waiting patiently is NOT the easy way out. Recently I’ve been reminded that “growth” doesn’t always mean what my flesh wants it to. AND earning respect is also far more difficult than just ‘having” it. Another good reminder.

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