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001 Foundatonal

001 Foundatonal

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Published by Richard Widener
Discipleship at the Core
Discipleship at the Core

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Published by: Richard Widener on Feb 19, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE FOUNDATIONBefore we look at becoming leaders we ought to do some study on what a leader is anddoes. The world—business, political, church, and society—has many different types of leaders. Because we are focused on the Christian church we need to be looking at onlyone leader to find the foundation for what we are about. His name was Jesus. The Biblecontains many references to him and we want to look at these before we begin looking atourselves. As you work through this book some of these “pictures” will be repeated.In Psalm 23 we find a description of a shepherd from the Old Testament. As we look atthis Psalm we find that the Chief Shepherd has some responsibilities.
Psalms 23:1-6 ( NIV )
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,he leads me beside quiet waters, 
he restores my soul.He guides me in paths of righteousnessfor his name’s sake. 
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 mein the presence of my enemies.You anoint my head with oil;my cup overflows. 
Surely goodness and love will follow meall the days of my life,and I will dwell in the house of the LORDforever.The shepherd here gives the sheep security, provision, rest/restoration, leadership, and protection. The shepherd provides an environment that is safe but not challenging. In allof his care for the sheep, the sheep still go through the “valley of the shadow of death,”they still experience discipline (“your rod and your staff comfort me”). They are found“in the presence of their enemies.”The key for us is the love that the shepherd has for his sheep. Jesus is the Good Shepherdand we are his sheep. The pastoral scene of the shepherd and his sheep is reflected inmany places in the New Testament (Mt 25:32; Mk 14:27; Jn 10:11)
In Peter 5:1-5 the shepherd motif continues.
1 Peter 5:1-5 ( ESV )
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of thesufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:
shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight,
not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you;
not for shameful gain, buteagerly;
not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to theflock.
And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfadingcrown of glory.
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clotheyourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”Peter is addressing the “elders” in the church. These are the primary leaders of the localcongregation. (We will speak of them later.) Peter uses the image of the shepherd to passon instruction to the elders of the church. Function as a shepherd. Do this willingly andwatch out for them, which means not to focus on them but to keep your eyes movingaround them to protect them from the enemy. This is done by example and not forcefully. Now he gives instructions to younger “shepherds” and tells them to be humble towardone another. We, as youngers, are to submit to the shepherds over us. (not blindobedience as we will see later.) It is interesting here that we are both the sheep and theshepherd, depending on our relationship with another person.Again in John 10: 11-18 we find more information about what it means to be a shepherdin the church (a leader by any other name).
John 10:11-18 ( ESV )
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, seesthe wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them andscatters them.
He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for thesheep.
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,
 just asthe Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and theywill listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
For this reasonthe Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.
 Noone takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay itdown, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received frommy Father.”This passage of God’s Word starts out pretty extreme. Yes, it is referring to Jesus butthere is a model that is found here for leaders in general. The sheep are most important.He knows them by name and he cares for them. Leadership (shepherding) is notsomething that can be done from some ivory tower. We need to know our sheep—thosewe are responsible for and for whom we care.

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