Learn to Shepherd Your Small Group

Move from being a small-group leader to truly caring for your people.

God's Word is rich in its discussion about shepherding. Moses, David, and Amos served as shepherds, and all were influenced by that role in their leadership. The title of shepherd is applied to God, Jesus, kings and other leaders, local church leaders, and ministers (not necessarily paid staff members).

What is a small group shepherd?

For you to fully understand your calling as your group's shepherd, I need to distinguish between your role as a shepherd of the flock under your care and Jesus' role as the Chief Shepherd. It's essential for you to understand that you are not the real shepherd, the Chief Shepherd, of your group. That role belongs exclusively to Jesus.

Your responsibility as a small group leader is primarily to shepherd the sheep that God puts into your care and to go out and bring more sheep into the fold. Therefore:

Do not view yourself merely as a Bible study teacher or the equivalent of a Sunday school teacher who presents lessons to the group.

Do not limit your role to that of a meeting facilitator who plans and conducts discussions.

Do not think of yourself as only a disc-jockey whose job is to put the DVD into the player and press play.

Small group pioneer Randall Neighbor put it this way: "The shepherd never says, 'I will tend the flock on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.' No! The shepherd lives with the flock, sleeps in the fields with the flock, goes into treacherous situations to find a lost sheep, and carries the lambs in his arms. The shepherd is the first one to go into the 'valley of the shadow of death' in order to lead sheep to 'green pastures.'"

As a small group leader, you can divide your shepherding ...

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