A healthy church has a pastoral heart that creates a shepherding culture. This leads to a mentality that seeks to care for the people of God.
This post is part of a series looking at the five essential components of spiritually healthy churches. The posts are:
What is a Shepherding Heart?
We can define it as ‘cultivating Kingdom character and community through coaching, counselling, and care’. ‘Pastor’ means ‘shepherd’ and like a shepherd to his sheep, this ministry loves people, lives with them, watches them, cares and tends them, trains and challenges them, and knows how to walk with them through different life seasons. The goal is to see increased Christlikeness and sanctification as a result of this pastoral heart.
Why is a Shepherding Heart important?
People mature spiritually, breaking off sin and strongholds, and are able to feed themselves and others.
What does a healthy Shepherding Heart bring to a church?
- A Shepherding Heart reminds the apostolic that there are people in the mission.
- It keeps the prophetic attuned to people’s sensitivities.
- A Shepherding Heart shows the evangelist that discipleship is the goal, not conversion.
- It connects the teachers to the needs of the people.
What happens if a Shepherding Heart is lacking?
Without a healthy pastoral heart that looks to move people forward in spiritual maturity, the church becomes inward-looking, needs-focused and takes its eyes off mission. People will not mature and grow the way they are intended to.
What helps develop a Shepherding Heart?
- A larger front door than a back door – more people join and stay than are leaving
- A pastoral council to share the pastoral caseload.
- Access to specialist/trained counsellors, whether internal or external.
- Inner healing and deliverance ministries.
- Robust, reliable small group network with some specifically pastorally focused.
- Groups/ministries for specific life seasons, such as children, youth, singles, parents groups etc.
- The influence of at least one fivefold pastor
How healthy is the Shepherding Heart of your church?
Is it shepherding, as in, helping people move onwards and upwards on a journey of spiritual growth and increasing Christlikeness?
Is it heartfelt, as in, a ministry served by leaders who genuinely love people, and not those who are reluctant to walk with people through tough times?
- Discover how the health of your current pastoral culture impacts other areas of your church in my FREE Fivefold Health Check.
- Learn how I help churches like yours define, grow and develop their pastoral ministry by going here.
- Download a FREE chapter of my book ‘Keys to Church Health’ by clicking here.
- Review the other Keys to Church Health by going here.