A healthy church has an pastoral culture that creates a shepherding heart. This leads to a mentality that seeks to care for the people of God.
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 culture.
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.
- A Shepherding Heart keeps the prophetic attuned to people’s sensitivities.
- A Shepherding Heart shows the evangelist that discipleship is the goal, not conversion.
- A Shepherding Heart connects the teachers to the needs of the people.
What happens if a Shepherding Heart is lacking?
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 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 youth, singles, parents groups etc.
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? To discover the health of your Shepherding Heart, as well as the other keys to church health, contact me today.
This post contains sample content from my book ‘Keys to Church Health’. You can download a FREE chapter by clicking here.