Minister as Shepherd

by Frank Jones


There is no doubt that such a small book as "The Minister as Shepherd" should be an annual read by every minister. Such a small book of 164 pages would be a gentle prod to maintain focus in a New Testament church. A few quotations over the next several days to prod us.

“It is by no means easy for a young man to become a shepherd, and he ought not be discouraged if he cannot become one in a day, or a year. An orator he can be without difficulty. A reformer he can become at once. In criticism of politics and society he can do a flourishing business the first Sunday. But a shepherd he can become only slowly, and by patiently traveling the way of the cross.

The shepherd’s work is a humble work; such it has been from the beginning and such it must be to the end. A man must come down to do it. A shepherd cannot shine. He cannot cut a figure. His work must be done in obscurity. The things which he does do not make interesting copy. His work calls for continuous self-effacement. It is a form of service which eats up a man’s life. It makes a man old before his time. Every good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. If a man is dependent on the applause of the crowd, he ought never to enter the ministry. The finest things a minister does are done out of sight and never get reported. They are known to himself and one or two others, and to God. His joy is not that his success is being talked about on earth, but that his name is written in heaven.” (Jefferson, C. E. (1998). The Minister as Shepherd. Fort Washington, PA, Christian Literature Crusade. 32-33)