How leaders can grow in the skill to care for the weak

Leader would do well to remember that wise shepherds patiently lead the flock at the pace of the youngest lamb, or the frail and old. 

Look at this insightful and practical video by Danelle Esterhuizen on how to lead by caring for the weak.

Scripture

Luke 4:16

And [Jesus] came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17  And he was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” 20  And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21  And he said to them, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”

Observation and reflection questions

Context: This text records the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, straight after John Baptised him and witnessed how the Holy Spirit descended on him, and Jesus went into the wilderness for forty days to be tempted by Satan.

  1. Why was Jesus anointed with the Holy Spirit, according to this text?  What does this suggest about the motive for God’s empowerment of the leader today?
  2. In your own words describe the ministry of Jesus phrase by phrase (verses 18-19a)

Personal reflections and applications

Our God is the God of “the orphan, the widow, and the foreigner” – he identifies with and is drawn to the vulnerable.  He sets laws to protect them and sends leaders to take care of them, and sent leaders and ultimately his Son Jesus to care for those who are frail, oppressed and marginalized. 

  1. The Holy Spirit empowered Jesus to care for the frail and marginalized.
    1. Do you feel empowered to do that?
    2. In which way do you do that in your fellowship group?
    3. Do you have patience and compassion for the frail and marginalized?

Pray about your attitude and confidence in the care for the frail and marginalized you associate with by name.

  1. Consider people whom you fellowship with or lead.
    1. List two potential leaders in your group; what do they need to grow in next? How can you help with that?
    2. List the two less likely candidates for leadership in your group. Why would you think that? How can you help them?
    3. Who in your group would most benefit from “heling the broken-hearted”? What can you do to help with that?
    4. Who in your group would most benefit most from “setting the captives free”? What can you do to help with that?

Reflect and pray about the care for the care for the frail and marginalized you associate with by name.

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Leaders must grow in the skill to care for the weak

Leaders lead people, and people go through tough times at some point or another.  During those times the task of the leader is to “strengthen the weak hands, make firm the feeble knees [and] encourage those who are fearful-hearted” (Isaiah 35:3-4)

In this short video Danelle Esterhuizen shares why and how leaders can care for the weak.

Scripture

Galatians 6:1-3, 10

1  Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3  For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself… 10  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Observation questions

  1. Let’s ask some interrogative questions to understand these instructions well:
  2. What does he mean with the phrase “overtaken in any trespass”?
  3. Who does he mean to identify with the phrase “you who are spiritual”?
  4. What should be the attitude of one’s disposition (or attitude) in assisting those who fell into temptation? (consider verses 1, 2, and 3)
  5. What does he mean with the phrase “bear one another’s burdens” in this context?
  6. What is “the law of Christ” Paul refers to?
  7. Considering the context, rephrase verse 10 in your own words.

Personal reflection

Personal reflections and applications

  1. Consider the following scenario: a friend of yours is a young pastor on a medical campus. He tells you that one of the young doctors has had some marital problems for some months, partially because of the long hours during his community service. This young doctor confesses to your pastor-friend that because of the trouble at home and the long hours of work at night he has built up an emotional relationship with one of his female co-workers, and over the weekend it escalated into a sexual affair. Your pastor friend is shocked and angry, because this young doctor is one of his worship leaders – he just wants to chase this doctor out of his church.  The next morning your read Galatians 6:1-10; how will you advise your young pastor-friend to handle this situation?

Prayer

Pray that God will give you compassion, gentleness, patience and wisdom to lead people in the grace which he shows you.

Leaders need to grow in the pastoral grace

True leaders must lead in loving care, with selflessness nurturing and protecting the people whom God loves – even when it hurts. Leaders need the grace of a shepherd.

In this short inspirational session André Kruger shows why leaders must grow in the pastoral anointing. For more on his teachings on flowing in the grace of God go to www.heavensflow.org

Scripture

1 Timothy 3:1-7

1  The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2  Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3  not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

4  He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5  for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?

6  He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7  Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

Observations and personal reflections

  1. What is the first requirement of an overseer (or elder) according to Paul? (verse 1) And what does that imply of Biblical leadership in general?
  2. Reflect on the phrase “a noble task”. (verse 1) What do you learn from the role of an elder?
  3. In your own words describe the (a) character, (b) competencies and (c) additional requirements of an elder. (verses 2-7)
  4. Reflect on verse 4 and 5: what do you learn from the nature of pastoral care in this comparison?

Personal reflection and application

An elder is one who cares for God’s people in the local church, ruling with dignity by example in godly character and mature ministry skills.  But an elder is one who leads and cares for his own household well, thereby showing that he can rule the house of God in a like manner.

  1. Do you desire to serve as an elder in your local church? Why, or why not? If so, have you spoken to your local church leadership about this?
  2. Could you with confidence say as Paul did “follow me as I follow Christ?” (1 Corinthians 11:1) Why, or why not?
  3. (If you are married) Would you say that you “manage your household well, will all dignity keeping your children submissive?” (verse 4)
  4. If someone were to live with you and your family for a year and follow your example, would their (a) grow in relationship with Christ and (b) would they grow in respect of you or wane in respect of you?
  5. Consider the list below and indicate how the following attributes apply to you (ALWAYS TRUE | SOMETIMES TRUE | ALMOST NEVER TRUE)
  • honorable reputation
  • discerning
  • self-controlled
  • hospitable
  • able to teach
  • not given to over-indulgence
  • gentle
  • content
  • peaceful
  • family life in order
  1. In which of these attributes of an elder are you currently growing in? Discuss your list with a prayer friend or mature Christian and invite his or her input into your life.

Prayer

Thank God for how you have grown into maturity, and confess your need for his grace in further growth. Ask for help to make your leadership and example within your family a priority.

Leaders lead with care

True leaders lead people whom they are in touch with. The more you are in touch with the people you lead, the better you can care for them, the more effective you will be in realizing your objectives.

In this short video introduction De Waal Esterhuizen shares on how leaders should increasingly be aware of the needs of others as you work in a group.  This is part of the Leadership Growth Series of 2016 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bV7AYmR6aY)

Scripture

Psalms 23:1-6

1  The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  2  He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3  He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Observation and reflection questions

  1. David was a shepherd who beautifully expressed in his vocational language how he experienced the Lord’s care of the LORD. In the table below write in your own words what you understand David conveyed what the Lord’s model of leadership looks like, based on Psalm 23. [Hint: look at the verbs, and discern the shepherding-context]
David’s words conveying how he experienced the Lord’s leading and care How biblical leadership ought to lead and care as our Lord does (from Psalm 23)
The LORD is my shepherd
I shall not want
He makes me lie down in green pastures
He leads me beside still waters
He restores my soul
He leads me in paths of righteousness
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me
your rod and your staff, they comfort me
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies
you anoint my head with oil
my cup overflows
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever

 

Application questions and prayer

Throughout the Bible leaders are referred to as “shepherds” because of the patient, intimate care by which they lead the people of God.  But our Lord Himself is frequently referred to as the Good or Great Shepherd of his sheep – he is the ultimate model of leadership from whom we learn.

  1. Among other things Psalm 23 shows that leaders have the following obligations towards the needs of followers:

(i) Leading: a clear sense of direction.

(ii) Caring: provision, security/ protection, problem-solving, wellness/ healing

  1. How well do you think you fulfill the needs of the people you lead? Where have you grown well and where can you improve in each of these areas mentioned in Psalm 23?

(a) a clear sense of direction

(b) provision

(c) security and protection

(d) problem-solving

(e) wellness and healing

  1. You will do well to ask one or two honest people whom you lead for feedback on how they perceive your leading in terms of these aspects mentioned above.

Prayer

Thank God for entrusting people and vision to your leadership.  Pray the Lord’s prayer, asking the Lord to give you grace to love, lead and care as he does.

Leadership are considerate to the needs of those around them

True leaders care more about the people entrusted to them than the dream they aspire to realize.

In this short video introduction De Waal Esterhuizen shares on how leaders should increasingly be aware of the needs of others as you work in a group.  This is part of the Leadership Growth Series of 2016 (https://youtu.be/9bV7AYmR6aY)

Scripture

1 Peter 5:1-4

1  The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2  Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3  nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4  and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

Observation and reflection questions

  1. To whom was this exhortation addressed? (v1)
  2. List all the titles he gives to the church leaders in this portion of Scripture. (v1, 2, 3)
  3. What do we learn from the role of these leaders as revealed by these titles?
  4. What is the core command/ exhortation in this portion of Scripture? (v2)
  5. What (or Who) is the standard of “good shepherding” (v4)
  6. What is the promise of “good shepherding”? (v4)
  7. What does Peter say about how not to lead? (v2-3) Put this in your own words.
  8. What does this phrase “shepherd the flock” mean? Unpack this phrase.

Application questions and prayer

Throughout the Bible leaders are referred to as “shepherds” because of the patient, intimate care which God calls for. Moses, David and Amos were only allowed to lead God’s people after being shepherds for some time. Jesus bears the titles Good Shepherd and Great (Superior) Shepherd.  All these imply that godly leadership lead with patient, caring and loving concern of the abilities, limitations and needs of each individual person.

  1. Take three people you are responsible for in your responsibility as leader. Do the following for each of these three people today:
  2. Briefly list the dreams, hopes and aspirations he/she holds dear to their heart. Do you know of any promises from God?
  3. What are the fears he / she faces currently?
  4. What burden is heavy on his/her heart?
  5. What is his/her greatest obstacle now?
  6. What is his/her greatest joy at the moment?
  7. Pray to God for each of these three people according to your notes today from your heart.
  8. Look at your list. Send an encouraging voice note to each of these members today, telling them you prayed for them. Let them know you care and that God cares about them.

 

 

 

Five Fold Ministry 2

The aim of this devotional Bible Study is to grow in understanding the role of the pastor (“shepherd”).

Scripture

Ezekiel 34:1-16

1  The word of the LORD came to me: 2  “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3  You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. 4  The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5  So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. 6  My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.

7  “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 8  As I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, 9  therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:  10  Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.

11  “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12  As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13  And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14  I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. 15  I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. 16  I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.

Observations

This is one of the most powerful Old Testament Texts that describes the heart of God for His people, and also sets our God’s expectation for those who are in positions of leadership over His people.

  1. Carefully read the text and list the accusations the Lord makes against the shepherds of Israel in the days of Ezekiel.
  2. From reading this portion in Ezekiel, what understanding do you gain from the Lord about how he feels towards His people?

Reflections

  1. Ezekiel wrote this section about the task of leadership in the metaphor of a shepherd. So translate these tasks of the leader into contemporary language, with specific reference to the pastor(s) in a local congregation, explain what it refers to and how do you do it:
    1. “feed the sheep”
    2. “strengthen the weak”
    3. “heal this sick”
    4. “bind the injured”
    5. “find the lost and bring back the scattered”
  2. Likewise explain in contemporary language what the Lord condemns in the leaders of Ezekiel’s day:
    1. 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep.”
    2. “4 … with force and harshness you have ruled them.”  
    3. “6 My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.”

Prayer

Praise God for His tender and loving heart towards His people – AND YOU – displayed in this Text.  Then, in your own words explain to God what you long for in “pastoral care”, reminding the Him that He promised to shepherd His own people.  Then pray for your pastor, that God would stir him to pastor God’s people with patience, tenderness and diligence – as the Lord Himself demonstrated.

[Photo from Daily Telegraph]

Creation 5

The Aim of this devotional is to consider God’s relationship with his creation.

Scripture

Psalm 104:1-31

I praise you, Lord God,
with all my heart.
You are glorious and majestic,
dressed in royal robes
    and surrounded by light.
You spread out the sky
like a tent,
    and you built your home
over the mighty ocean.
The clouds are your chariot
with the wind as its wings.
The winds are your messengers,
and flames of fire
are your servants.

You built foundations
for the earth,
and it
will never be shaken.
You covered the earth
with the ocean
that rose
above the mountains.
Then your voice thundered!
And the water flowed
    down the mountains
and through the valleys
to the place you prepared.
Now you have set boundaries,
so that the water will never
flood the earth again.

10 You provide streams of water
in the hills and valleys,
11 so that the donkeys
and other wild animals
can satisfy their thirst.
12 Birds build their nests nearby
and sing in the trees.
13 From your home above
you send rain on the hills
and water the earth.
14 You let the earth produce
grass for cattle,
plants for our food,
15     wine to cheer us up,
olive oil for our skin,
and grain for our health.

16 Our Lord, your trees
always have water,
and so do the cedars
you planted in Lebanon.
17 Birds nest in those trees,
and storks make their home
in the fir trees.
18 Wild goats find a home
in the tall mountains,
and small animals can hide
between the rocks.

19 You created the moon
to tell us the seasons.
The sun knows when to set,
20     and you made the darkness,
so the animals in the forest
could come out at night.
21 Lions roar as they hunt
for the food you provide.
22 But when morning comes,
they return to their dens,
23     then we go out to work
until the end of day.

24 Our Lord, by your wisdom
you made so many things;
the whole earth is covered
with your living creatures.
25 But what about the ocean
so big and wide?
It is alive with creatures,
large and small.
26 And there are the ships,
as well as Leviathan,[a]
the monster you created
to splash in the sea.

27 All of these depend on you
to provide them with food,
28 and you feed each one
with your own hand,
until they are full.
29 But when you turn away,
they are terrified;
when you end their life,
they die and rot.
30 You created all of them
by your Spirit,
and you give new life
to the earth.

31 Our Lord, we pray
that your glory
will last forever
and that you will be pleased
with what you have done.
32 You look at the earth,
and it trembles.
You touch the mountains,
and smoke goes up.
33 As long as I live,
I will sing and praise you,
the Lord God.
34 I hope my thoughts
will please you,
because you are the one
who makes me glad.

35 Destroy all wicked sinners
from the earth
once and for all.
With all my heart
I praise you, Lord!
I praise you!

Observations

  1. If you were to select one verse from this Psalm that summarizes the core message of the Psalm, which one will it be? Why do you choose that one?
  2. Verses 6-9 refer to a specific historic event – what does it refer to? And what is the promise contained in verse 9? Expand a bit.
  3. From this Psalm, how does God care for his creation?

Application and Prayer

  1. The promise contained in the Psalm is that ‘God cares for his creation’. How do you feel when reading v27-28?
  2. This text agree strongly with Jesus the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:25-34 saying ‘do not worry about tomorrow – what you will eat or drink… for your heavenly Father knows…’  Write down all the things that you worry about.  Then ‘cast your cares upon the Lord for he cares for you.’ (1 Peter 5:7)
  3. Paul wrote ‘do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.’ Do this now – bring all your worries and desires to God in prayer, thanking him that he cares for you and asking him to take care of the things you worry about.
  4. Read through the Psalm again as praise to the Creator who cares for his wonderful creation.