- Resources focused on Shepherd’s Identification With Followers
- Resources focused on Shepherd’s Organizational Leadership
- Related Ministry Resources
One of the most important biblical metaphors of spiritual leadership is “shepherd.” It is used repeatedly in the Old Testament (cf. Ezekiel 34) and is one of three terms used frequently in the New Testament to describe elders or pastors. It translates the Greek term, poimen (shepherd/pastor), which is used alongside presbuteros (elder), and episkopos (overseer/bishop). One passage, 1 Peter 5:1-4, uses all three terms to describe the same role.
When using the shepherd metaphor for leadership, authors usually follow one of two emphases, each respectful of the other. The first focuses on a leader’s pastoral identification with followers, even to the extent that the leader “smells like sheep” (Lynn Anderson). The second focuses on strong organizational leadership through a shephering posture, such as the volume by McCormick/Davenport. The first emphasize the shepherd’s gentleness, the second emphasize the shepherd’s strength and wisdom. The key words here are focus and emphasis, as the authors affirm the importance of the other dimensions, but develop one or the other more fully. Each, however, uses the biblical image as the foundation.
Resources Focused on Shepherd’s Identification With Followers
- Lynn Anderson, They Smell Like Sheep: Spiritual Leadership for the 21st Century — By far the most compelling, practical, and biblically rich description of the caring shepherd role.
- Lynn Anderson, They Smell Like Sheep, Part 2: Leading with the Heart of a Shepherd — The sequel to his first volume. In the first volume, Lynn describes spiritual leadership through the biblical metaphors of shepherding, mentoring, and equipping. In the second volume, he describes the kind of person who can do this work, but more importantly who they are from deep within, from the heart.
- Timothy Laniak, Shepherds After My Own Heart: Pastoral Tradition and Leadership in the Bible, New Studies in Biblical Theology, and While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks: Rediscovering Biblical Leadership – These are two separate texts, one that is highly academic and the other that is more practical and devotional. Shepherds After My Own Heart is perhaps the most extensive scholarly treatment available of the biblical metaphor of the shepherd-leader. While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks is a collection of forty daily reflections on biblical leadership according to the shepherd metaphor.
Resources Focused on Shepherd’s Organizational Leadership
- Blaine McCormick and David Davenport, Shepherd Leadership: Wisdom for Leaders from Psalm 23 – Not written with church leaders in mind, but presents an interesing perspective on the signficance of shepherd imagery of Psalm 23. Integrates well with a variety of leadership studies.
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