Knowing the Sheep at Harvest
In the Good Shepherd discourse in John 10, Jesus teaches that shepherds must know their sheep, and the sheep must know the voice of their shepherds (John 10:4, 5, 14, 27). This does not only mean that the Good Shepherd knows his sheep (although that is true), but also that the undershepherds whom Jesus appoints in the church must seek to know their sheep as well. Pastors and elders need to know the lives, families, vocations, gifts, doubts, sorrows, and temptations of their sheep, and sheep need to know their pastors and elders well enough to trust that their shepherds are leading them to Jesus.
Knowing the Sheep as Harvest Grows
Even under fairly the stable circumstances, it’s hard to get to know other people in a church. It takes a lot of time and a lot of interactions to get to know other people deeply. What makes this project of building mutual knowledge between the undershepherds and the sheep at Harvest more difficult, though, is that Harvest is growing! By God’s grace, Harvest has received 32 new members, baptized 7 people, and admitted 2 covenant children into communing membership in the last year (since June 2016). Praise the Lord—that’s a lot of new sheep to get to know!
As we seek to shepherd every person at Harvest, the session (board of elders) is working toward hiring a new assistant pastor and toward training new undershepherds at various levels of leadership. Please pray that God will raise up and prepare new leaders to help shepherd the sheep that our Good Shepherd has entrusted to Harvest.
Small Groups and Shepherding at Harvest
Additionally, please pray about your involvement in a small group for this coming Fall. Our hope is that small groups will be a key place for shepherding to happen at Harvest. Now, our corporate worship each week on the Lord’s Day must always remain the center of shepherding at Harvest, since that is where our Good Shepherd leads us into the green pastures of his word and sacraments. But, not all shepherding can happen during corporate worship.
Outside of corporate worship, we want small groups to be a place where you can know others and be known, sharing your burdens, and helping to carry the burdens of others through studying God’s word, spending time together in prayer, and offering encouragement in the gospel. As we prepare for small group leader training this summer, we will be emphasizing the need for small group leaders to triage the sheep in their small groups, bringing any acute spiritual needs to the attention of the elders, and any acute material needs to the deacons.
Therefore, our small groups are a key component of our strategy to shepherd you well!
Whether you have been involved in a small group in the past or not, please pray and plan now about being a part of small groups this Fall. We’ll give you more details about signing up for small groups later this summer, Lord willing.