“Shepherding helps you stay close to Jesus.” Seems like an obvious conclusion, but how often is it actually put into practice? How often does a shepherd of souls rely on their own wit, assumptions, history, and opinions rather than on the Savior of souls, the Chief Shepherd Himself? Given enough time and people, and even the most hard-headed and self-confident shepherd will realize that they need Jesus.
Darrin Patrick’s section entitled “Shepherding Helps You Stay Close to Jesus” in Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission succinctly lays out the logic behind relying on Jesus when shepherding people. He does an excellent job of contrasting the pastor who locks himself into the safety of the pulpit with the pastor who engages himself with the flock entrusted to his care by Christ.
There is something about dealing with the enormity of people’s sin that necessitates staying very, very close to God. In preaching it is easy to hide a lack of spiritual connection with God through good preparation and raw ability. But the unpredictability and sheer emotional content of pastoral work confronts you with your own necessity for a Savior. In preaching you can prepare what you will say ahead of time. But in pastoral work there is a lot of room for insecurity and anxiety as you wrestle with the questions, objections, and arguments of your people in real time. It is terrifying! It drives you to dependence on God (pp 83-84).