The Sheep Dog Perspective

April 3, 2009 at 5:34 am (Biblei-Octopi) (, , , , , , )

Our former pastor (Reverend Clifford F. Howery) had frequently referred to himself as a sheep dog stating that the church has but one shepherd, Christ, and as a pastor, his calling was to be as a sheep dog serving the sheep under the direction of the Shepherd.

I appreciate this attitude as it recognizes the True/Primary Shepherd (Christ) and places the role of the pastor (as well as leaders/overseers) in accountability to the role of Christ.

Sheep Dog At Work

Sheep Dog At Work

Christ clearly casts Himself as The Shepherd of His flock, the church, and nowhere is that more clearly expressed than in John 10. In John 21:16 Christ gives the command to Peter, “Shepherd My sheep,” which is further expounded in passages such as Acts 20:28 and 1 Peter 5:2-4.

The duties of the pastor do not derive their authority from the pastor himself but from Christ. Scripture is adamant that there are clear and certain character requirements that must be met to be even considered for leadership (note 1 Timothy 3), but the pastor’s role and authority is founded solely in Christ.

Pastors are therefore accountable to be diligent to look to The Shepherd for their instructions and in the integrity of that accountability to uphold the commands of Christ for the flock (church).

When the pastor conducts Himself in submission to Christ, His Word and Holy Spirit, then he does and must operate in authority to teach, encourage and reprove the flock.

As a sheep dog, the pastor should be tenacious in protecting the sheep: 1) To protect them from themselves, from wandering away from The Shepherd; 2) To echo The Shepherd and ensure that His commands are being obeyed; 3) To guard them from assailants, external as well as internal, that seek to lead them astray or devour them.

The New Testament is full of instructions and examples for ministers, pastors, leaders and the church as a whole. This discussion is in no way exhaustive on the topic of the pastor, but I believe that the humility and accountability of what we will call the sheep dog perspective serves as a valuable encouragement to pastors and the church.

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