Tomorrow’s Shepherd

I recently finished up reading Timothy Laniak’s book, Shepherds after My own Heart, which does an amazingly thorough job of expositionally uncovering the rich meaning of the shepherd metaphor throughout all of Scripture. Starting with Genesis and ending with Revelation, Laniak gives a great reminder of how pastors will be held accountable for the lives and well-being of the sheep. He states, “Good shepherding is expressed by decisions and behaviours that benefit the ‘flock'” (247).

One interesting thought Laniak presents is toward the whole idea of this traditional metaphor, “shepherd.” He reminds us that this metaphor was obviously chosen in light of it being a common word-picture for its biblical audience. However, we now live in an era where the term “shepherd” has lost its rich meaning. Laniak says that the term “shepherd” is by no means sacred or profound and that “the serach for revelatory vehicles among the ‘associated commonplaces’ of modern life is the task now before us” (253).

So, back to our metaphor question again…but this time it is regarding the term, “shepherd(typically translated “pastor”).

If you were to create a new, meaningful metaphor for how pastors should lead within the church, what would it be? (Coach, CEO, Wrangler, Scientist, Mother, etc?)


~ by Dave Smith on September 2, 2008.

2 Responses to “Tomorrow’s Shepherd”

  1. David,

    Just catching up on your blog. Can’t believe no one has commented on this. Perhaps we are all so steeped in Christendom that we know too much about the ancient shepherd and have a hard time thinking of a modern counterpart.

    I do think something newer would be beneficial to those who are new to the faith. Part of the difficulty, I think, is that sheep were so central to their economy & livelihood back then… today it’s a knowledge & information economy. So perhaps saying leader/manager is a better parallel. But so much richness is lost if you don’t explore that 1st century understanding of a shepherd!

  2. Quit calling me “David” like KL! :>)

    Like the leader/manager picture for sure. I wonder if this would stir up emotions with those that feel church has become too “church inc?”

    Will be interested to see if your comments stir up and further comments.

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