quotes – they smell like sheep (v.2)

“This book is not just for ‘church leaders.’ Rather, it aims for the hearts of all Christians who aspire to build people … This book leans heavily on stories. I interviewed more than two hundred key church leaders from across the United States and Canada, listening to stories from the lives of effective contemporary shepherds. … I hope … this book will inspire rank and file Christ-followers to cultivate the heart of a shepherd. Welcome to the journey.” [pp.2-3]

“John Wesley used the following set of questions in peer accountability groups. … Prayerfully ask yourself each of these questions, and then write down your answers. Finally, pray over your answers. (1) Is the love of God shed abroad in my heart? (2) Does any sin, inward or outward, have dominion over me? (3) Do I really desire that others tell me what they think, fear, and hear concerning me? (4) Have I mentioned any failing or fault of any person when it was unnecessary to do so? (5) Have I unnecessarily grieved anyone by word or deed? (6) Have I desired the praise of men? (7) Have I resumed my claim to my body, soul, friends, fame, or fortune, which I gave over to God? (8) Have I said anything with a stern look, accent, or gesture, particularly regarding religion? … We shepherds have no glory of our own. We cannot add to God’s glory. But if we come regularly before him, our faces get ‘gloried up’ and we can reflect his glory into our world. We glorify God by finding a rhythm between seeking his face and reflecting his glory into the lives of people around us. … At the heart of a shepherd lies a hunger for God’s glory. … The compelling, undergirding, and long-lasting motive in the heart of an authentic shepherd is ‘to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ No other motive is enough!” [pp.23,28]

“Most shepherds of God’s flock will find dark valleys on their journey that sap their energy. Frequently you may feel so exhausted that with one more step your knees will buckle. … ‘The community of faith will always need more people who can pray, but can’t lead. But we really don’t need any more that lead but don’t pray. God moves mountains. Prayer moves God.'” [pp.38,40]

“For three thousand years virtually all the real giants of faith – including Jesus – have had one thing in common in their prayer habits: they all prayed and sang the psalms! … Praying the Psalms helps us speak the unspeakable … explore the uncomfortable … keep our prayer lists fresh … gives strength in weaknesses … takes prayer beyond mere begging … gets us out of ourselves … gives us a place to belong … helps us thoughtfully process our lives … gives us resources for ministry … frees us from the myth of certainty … becomes ‘leaven’ in the flock … [and] draws us into encounter with God. I challenge any shepherd to pray five psalms a day for one month. After you have prayed through the Psalter in one month, then, beginning in the second month, pray one psalm a day and continue that pace for the rest of the year. In addition, each month memorize a fresh, key section of one of your favorite psalms… read through your psalm reflectively, slowly, aloud at first. Then pray through it carefully – in the first person, making it your own. Then pray again, on behalf of others, in the second person. And finally, pray the psalm in sheer adoration of God and in surrender to his will. Journal your reflections. … Let the psalm serve as a springboard into the rest of that day’s prayers for current issues and persons that the psalm has brought to heart. Let the psalm shape the day’s prayer list.” [pp.45-46]

“‘The greatest treason is to do the right thing for the wrong reason.’ … If you aspire to be a spiritual leader, a shepherd of God’s people, then remember what matters most: your character. Ask yourself, ‘From the core of my heart, am I a person of integrity? Am I genuinely seeking to be ‘the kind of person that God-hungry people want to be like?'” [pp.53,64]

“… following the path of true character and integrity can mean painful choices for the spiritual leader. … nonetheless, real integrity is essential to authentic, spiritual shepherding, especially in our postmodern environment, where people value authenticity and experience far more than credentials and rational proof. If they get even a whiff of the notion that a leader is more concerned about his reputation than the truth of God, it is ‘game over.’ That would-be leader will have no credibility with those he seeks to lead. … ‘True leadership always exacts a heavy toll on the whole man, and the more effective the leadership is, the higher the price to be paid.’ … Most folks desperately need to know a few good people who are honest to the core. … the flock of God desperately needs shepherds who always shoot straight. At heart, a shepherd of God’s flock must – absolutely must – be a person of integrity.” [pp.70-71]

“An open, penitent, confessing, and obedient life is indispensable to the heart of a shepherd. Centuries ago Thomas a Kempis warned, ‘At the day of judgment we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done; not how eloquently we have spoken, but how holy we have lived.'” [p.81]

“Let us, fellow travelers, keep taking wise and decisive steps on the upward pathway: transparency, accountability, reflection and praise. These mold us toward holiness; they shape within us ‘the heart of a shepherd.'” [p.91]

“God’s number one priority is people. To do his main thing, God became ‘a people and moved to live among people.’ The Chief Shepherd ‘pitched his tent in our pasture.’ Jesus was ‘God in a body,’ out there on the people turf. For Jesus, people are ‘Job One.’ That means for all authentic followers of Jesus, especially the shepherds of God’s flock, people must become top priority as well.” [p.97]

“First, take a pad and pen in hand, then thoughtfully write out your responses to the following: (1) Who is my closest friend, from outside my church, who is lost and hurting?, (2) Who is the last hurting and ‘lost’ Christian that came to me as a confidant?, (3) When was the last time I approached a lost or hurting person to offer a listening ear and/or a helping hand?, (4) What is there about me that might cause a lost and hurting person to feel comfortable around me? What might make them uncomfortable?, (5) What next steps could I take toward building a trust relationship with a lost and hurting person?  Next. (1) Write down the names of three people you know who are lost and hurting, (2) Pray for each of them, (3) Write down a plan of action you might follow to shepherd each one. Make the plan specific (a separate plan for each person), (4) Write out the first step you could take, (5) Write down the date and time on which you will take that step.” [p.113]

“There is a way of reading Scripture … that actually keeps us from approaching God or acknowledging our own perversities – and possibilities.” [p.119]

“If a Christian leader is not equipping someone to live the Christ-life through works of service, then to that degree that Christian leader is not living up to his or her calling … the shepherd with a heart for spiritual formation among the people of God will be intentional, continually expanding the circle of mentors and equippers by equipping others to mentor and equip. Such shepherds will always be scouting for faithful people into whom they can invest their lives, with a view to these people becoming under-shepherds …” [pp.134-135]

“Bottom line: our mission is to make disciples who will make still more disciples who make still more.” [p.141]

“Do-gooders gravitate toward big things – because they make the do-gooder appear big. Servants, however, do what needs to be done – no matter how menial the task. Do-gooders always have one eye on reward. If the affirmation and applause is not forthcoming, enthusiasm declines. Servants delight in hiddenness and in anonymity. They serve for the love of serving. Do-gooders are preoccupied with results. They study statistics, make comparisons. Servants just serve. They do not serve so that their peers call them successful, but so God should count them faithful. Do-gooders pick and choose whom they will serve. They serve folks they enjoy being around, folks who will be ‘real trophies.’ They pick those who can reciprocate. The ‘Jesus style’ servant, however, is servant of all. You observe this by the ones he or she spends time with: the lonely, the rejected, the disabled, the helpless, and the disenfranchised – not just ‘beautiful people.'” [pp.154-155]

“Getting hurt by those we attempt to shepherd is not merely one of the hazards of the trade; it is inevitable. In fact, getting hurt is the central means by which the best ministry gets done. If you don’t love someone deeply enough that they can hurt you, you likely don’t love them enough to do them much good. …

“To grieve is to pour one’s energies for months and years into the struggles of a beleaguered minority group or a beleaguered marriage or a beleaguered teenager, only to have the group or couple or teenager, having found themselves, shun you as a threatening reminder. Or they don’t even remember. Most people experience this kind of grief two or three times in a lifetime: the grief of a promise broken by a trusted parent or teacher, or being jilted by a lover, divorced by a spouse, betrayed by a friend. But a brokenhearted shepherd may well ‘experience this kind of grief two or three times in a single week.’ When we walk beside broken people, our own souls can be broken.” [pp.162-163]

“Our adjectives betray us: Dynamic. Aggressive. Energetic. Active. Successful. These words often get used to describe contemporary Christian leaders and churches. Thus, too many would-be Christian leaders feel they must validate their usefulness by busyness. To stay overcommitted is to look young, energetic – and ‘useful.’ … My dear fellow shepherds, we must rediscover the difference between a lamp and a warrior. Real spiritual growth is not geared to productivity, creating careers, and consuming youthful energy. … It is not a corporation, but a body with eyes, heart, and soul.” [pp.179-180]

“… we Americans tend to secure our faith primarily with the one peg of logical thought. Faith that is only cerebral in content and only behavior-management oriented is one-dimensional. … many of us attempt to explain the inexplicable, define the indefinable, ponder the imponderable, and ‘unscrew’ the inscrutable. A life of real, meaningful faith can’t be treated that way. Trying to do so only leaves people with swollen heads and shrunken hearts. … Dear shepherds, let God reawaken the worlds of your being and ever so gently shape out a rich, full faith with plenty of room for uncertainty – and ambiguity. To do so, however, you may need to make some changes in the way you approach your life. First, you may need to slow your pace. … Second, you may need to still the noise and search for solitude. … Third, to awaken all your worlds, you may also need to simplify and prioritize the intake of your life. … Fourth … you may need to become more reflective.” [pp.188,194,195,196]

“At the end of the day, the best leadership emerges from hearts that do not wring their hands in human anxiety but remain firmly rooted in God’s presence and power.” [p.208]

“Barnabas, we need you now. Today’s Christ- followers still need wave after wave of authentic encouragement, especially from Christian leaders. … Never, ever, underestimate the influence of one totally authentic servant life. The world changes person by person. Block by block. Precinct by precinct. City by city. Nation by nation. Indeed, the whole world can be changed soul by soul, like a forest fire spreading from one flaming tree to the next – until mountains are set ablaze. And the most strategic people to kindle the fire are spiritual leaders with hearts to encourage the flock, one sheep at a time. Why not be one of them?” [pp.218,222]

“Jesus has changed the world before, and will again. But he will work through shepherds from all backgrounds and traditions who: (1) move away from micromanagement, permission withholding-granting, and status-quo maintaining, and move toward ‘spiritual formation; (2) acknowledge that ‘job one’ is building persons rather than running organizations; (3) use a leadership style moving toward shepherding, mentoring, and equipping; (4) see that every Christian is a minister; [and] (5) equip persons for ministry, so that ‘each part works properly’ and ‘the body builds itself up in love.'” [p.228]

They Smell Like Sheep: Leading With the Heart of a Shepherd (vol. 2) by Lynn Anderson (Howard Publishing, 2007)

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