by Dave Earley
Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11). If anyone can offer insight into that on which an effective spiritual shepherd should concentrate, it is Jesus. So what did Jesus focus on in His ministry? Did He attend board meetings, visit hospitals, or do counseling? So what did He do?
Pray, teach the Word, and lead leaders.
Yes, Jesus is God, but do not miss the fact that Jesus Christ was also an amazing man of prayer. Samuel Dickey Gordon summarizes the prayer life of the leader Jesus when he writes, “The man Christ Jesus prayed; prayed much; needed to pray; loved to pray.” He added, “Jesus prayed. He loved to pray. . . . He prayed so much and so often that it became a part of His life. It became to Him like breathing—involuntary.” Edward M. Bounds concurs, “Prayer filled the life of our Lord while on earth. . . . Nothing is more conspicuous in the life of our Lord than prayer.”
Yes, I have heard the argument that we cannot pray like He did because He was the Son of God. But, that is the point. If Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man, needed to pray, how much more do you and I?
In the Gospels there are fifteen accounts of Jesus praying. Eleven are found in Luke’s Gospel. Why? The answer is that of the four Gospel writers, Luke focused most on the human aspect of Jesus. Luke wanted us to see that, as a human leader, Jesus lived a life of prayer. Jesus was fully God and fully man. If Jesus, the human, made time to pray, how much more should you and I?
2. Teach the Word
Jesus was a powerful biblical preacher. Jesus’ first sermon was quoting the law to Satan (Deut 6:13,16; 8:3) and skillfully applying it to the situation (Matt 4:1–11).
His second sermon was a dramatic reading of Isa 61:1–2 and the proclamation that this Scripture was being fulfilled as He spoke. As a rabbi, He had to know the Word of God thoroughly and teach it.
3. Equip and Mentor Leaders
Jesus was the master disciple-maker. Being Jewish, Jesus followed a rabbinical model of disciple development. He selected and called twelve to be with Him for training in ministry (Mark 1:16–20; 3:12–19).
The climax of His ministry to them was His commissioning of them to be disciple-makers also (Matt 28:18–20). He developed His leaders, and they were able to carry on the ministry and take it to the world after He ascended into Heaven.
Editor’s note: This is excerpted from Pastoral Leadership Is: How to Shepherd God’s People with Passion and Confidence.
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