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The Shepherd Leader: Achieving Effective Shepherding in Your Church Paperback – February 8, 2010
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"We plan to use The Shepherd Leader as a primary resource for all of our candidates, interns, elders, and pastors -- our shepherds and shepherds-in-training." --Philip Ryken, Senior Minister, Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, PA
"Tim Witmer's book could not have come at a better time. So many are 'slipping into the darkness' and most of us don't know what to do about it. Now we do! Churches all over America will 'rise up and call him blessed.' " --Steve Brown, Founder and Broadcaster, Key Life Ministries, Maitland, FL
"Examines issues the church desperately needs to consider. We so deeply desire to organize and lead our churches by biblical principles, but can be confused or distracted by secular work or educational ones instead." --Bryan Chapell, President, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO
About the Author
Tim Witmer is currently Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary where he is Coordinator of the Practical Theology Department, Director of Mentored Ministry and Master of Divinity Programs. He is also the Minister of Preaching at Crossroads Community Church (PCA) in Upper Darby, PA.
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In a conservative Christian culture whereby the focus is preaching, shepherding has been left on the side lines. For most pastors, the time and effort that visiting and looking after people take away from the `preaching' preparation means that shepherding is neglected.
Witmer challenges leaders to plan and implement a Shepherds ministry.
The pastors role is far more than just preaching and teaching. Alongside feeding the sheep a Shepherd also should know his sheep; lead his sheep and protects his sheep.
Witmer is also very practical. In chp 9 he gives 7 Essential Elements of an effective shepherding ministry (1. Must be biblical; 2. Must be systematic; 3. Comprehensive; 4. Relational; 5. Include the four shepherding functions of knowing, feeding, leading and protecting; 6. Accountability; 7. Prayer) as well as suggestions for beginning to implement one.
Witmer wisely forms his theology around the idea that the shepherd ministry is not just a pastor responsibility but a leadership responsibility. It should be flowing OUT from the eldership and elders must be involved with this process. Witmer's book definitely espouses team ministry - which is a great thing.
This is a very practical book and one which will be useful in forming your approaching to making sure that all people in your church are indeed shepherded.
The style in which this book is written is clear and to the point. That is, a seminarian can read and be fed, but also those who are lay leaders can read the book and not feel overwhelmed. The book is essentially laid out in three distinct parts. The first part is the Biblical foundation for shpeherding. The second part is the philosophy for shepherding. The third part is how to practice sound shepherding.
Whether this style of Biblical leadership is foreign or you have done it all your life, this book speaks in such a way that is convincing to those who have never tried this model and convicting for those who have assumed that they have always done it correctly. Dr. Witmer gives helpful insights on how to implement a good shepherding plan that is consistent with a 21st century lifestyle.
I think this book should be required reading for all elders and pastors. Even if you don't agree with some of its conculsions, there is enough in the book to make you rethink how you are leading your church. I loved this book and have asked my fellow elders to read it with me. I greatly encourage anyone who seeks to lead in their church or ministry to read it. If you are like me, you won't be able to put it down.