Know The Condition of Your Flocks

February 10, 2016 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, (Proverbs 27:23)

The following quote is from John Gill’s Commentary of Proverbs 27:23:

In what condition they are; what health they enjoy; how fat and fruitful they be; what pasturage they have; and that they want nothing fitting for them that can be had and is necessary; and also the number of them. The calling of the shepherd is here particularly mentioned, because valiant, honourable, innocent, and useful; but the same diligence is to be used in all other callings and business men are employed in, that they may provide for themselves and their families. It is in the original text, “the face of thy flocks”; perhaps the allusion is to the exact and distinct knowledge some very diligent careful shepherds might have, so as to know each sheep in their flocks distinctly; see ( John 10:3 ) ; The Septuagint version renders it, the souls of thy flock, as if it was an instruction to spiritual pastors or shepherds, who have the care of the souls of men: and certain it is, that if it is the duty of shepherds in common to be diligent in looking after their sheep, and doing everything the duty of their office requires; then it must become the indispensable duty of pastors of churches to take heed to the flock of God committed to them, and to look into their state and condition, and provide for them, and feed them with knowledge and understanding, ( Acts 20:28 ) ; [and] look well to thy herds; or, “put thy heart” to them: show a cordial regard for them, and take a hearty care of them, that they have everything needful for them; and which is for the owner’s good as well as theirs.

Proverbs is classified as Wisdom Literature. Indeed! Every pastor-shepherd would do well to prayerfully ponder this passage and apply it in ministry. A reasonable application of the principle stated in this passage would include the benefits of an objective assessment that displays the true condition of the flock. It is not possible to provide optimal pastoral leadership apart from this knowledge.

So, why is it that nearly all pastors and church leaders absolutely refuse to submit to such an evaluation? This post will offer five possible reasons. Do you use these excuses to avoid submitting to a solid assessment?

#1 – Fear Pastor-shepherds with their eyes open know intuitively the condition of their flock. They are aware of broken relationships. They are aware of the failure of the church they serve to reach the community around them. They monitor the declining attendance and offering figures. But, they would rather witness the slow decline than risk the turmoil generated by strategic intentional change initiatives that they are responsible to lead.

#2Substitutes Activity, frenetic activity is a smoke screen used to hide reality. The idea is this. Since we are so busy, have so much activity we must be effective. Wrong. Activity alone does not produce transformation. That requires intentionality with purpose, persistence, and accountability.

#3 – Incompetence 75% of pastors who participated in a survey done by the Francis Schaeffer Leadership Institute indicated they had no training or equipping from their college or Seminary in leadership. They know deep down they are not equipped to tackle the rigors required in the transformation process. This is sad. Hiding from reality is not the solution. Be bold and courageous. Get some equipping and enlist an outside voice that will guide the process.

#4 – Cost The persistent decline in churches includes the decline in available funds. However, cost is not the real issue. There is a net net increase in the contributions to a local church when that church becomes healthy and effective. When a church is healthy they have new people that become members. Redeemed people live in obedience to the LORD and contribute financially. Refusing assessment that enables the church to become healthy and effective perpetuates the inadequate funding required for ministry.

#5 – Comfort This is not pretty but sadly true. I have been told that while things are not well, they will be OK until I am gone. What? That is the attitude of what Scripture calls a hireling not a faithful shepherd. Leading the change process of necessity includes tension and perhaps even outright conflict.

Be that as it may faithful shepherds that know the condition of their flocks lead on, embrace assessment, and respond appropriately to what the assessment tells them about the condition of their flock.

 

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