June 07, 2007

Shepherds--God's Gift to His Church

Acts 20:27-35

Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Acts 20:28


Many people have influenced my life. Some have been teachers, some employers, and some friends. Perhaps the two people who most influenced me were my parents. I praise God for the many people who shaped and molded me--to help make me who I am today.

Who influences the church? Who shapes and molds the body of Christ? Pastors are called by God to that role, to oversee the church. They are to teach, rebuke, comfort, and love the church. As Paul said farewell to the leaders of the church at Ephesus, he instructed them to keep watch over the flock. He called them to be shepherds.

Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd, and Paul calls church leaders to image their Lord as shepherds over his flock. Leading the church means more than providing good teaching and preaching, good congregational care, and good management. Leading the church means loving the flock, walking among the people, hearing their cries, binding their wounds, guiding them into green pastures and beside quiet waters. Even when the church walks through difficult and trying times--even times of death--the shepherd is there, bringing the grace and love of God. Being called to be a pastor can be challenging and difficult, but it can also be the most rewarding of all callings. Thank God for his gift of pastors.

Lord, we give you thanks for providing your church with pastors. Strengthen and encourage them in your work. In the name of our Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

About the author — Jerry Dykstra

Pastor Jerry Dykstra was recently appointed as the executive director of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. After a 15-year career in business, he trained for pastoral ministry and served as the pastor of Cascade Fellowship CRC, Cascade, Michigan, and Faith Christian Fellowship CRC, Walnut Creek, California. He and his wife, Linda, live in Byron Center, Michigan, and have three children and seven grandchildren.

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