Category Archives: Shepherd

The Peacemaker’s Pledge

To be human is to have conflict. To shepherd a church is to have conflict among them and with others. How we handle conflict is important! Our church needs to be trained in handling conflict. Our church members are watching us and learning to obey the Lord even as they watch us.

The definitive book is The Peacemaker by Ken Sande. The following is a helpful summary from this book. I believe I saw this summary with a speech organization I am affiliated with.


A Commitment to Biblical Conflict Resolution

As people reconciled to God by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are called to respond to conflict in a way that is remarkably different from the way the world deals with conflict (Luke 6:27-36; Gal 5:19-26; Matt 5:9).

We also believe that conflict provides opportunities to glorify God, serve other people, and grow to be like Christ (1Cor 10:31-11:1; Rom 8:28-29; James 1:2-4).  Therefore, in response to God’s love and in reliance on His grace, we commit ourselves to   respond to conflict according to the following principles:


a. Instead of focusing on our own desires or dwelling on what others may do, we will seek to please and honor God-
b. by depending on His wisdom, power, and love;
c. by faithfully obeying His commands;
d. and by seeking to maintain a loving, merciful and forgiving attitude
(1Cor 10:31; James 4:1-3; Psa 37:1-6i; Phil 4:2-9; Col 3:1-4; 1Pet 2:12; Jn 14:15; James 3:17-18; Rom 12:17-21; Mk 11:25).


a. Instead of attacking others or dwelling on their wrongs,
b. we will take responsibility for our own contribution to conflicts-confessing our sins, asking God to help us change any attitudes and habits that lead to conflict,
c. and seeking to repair any harm we have caused
(Mt 7:3-5; 1Jn 1:8-9; Prov 28:13; Col 3:5-14; Lk19:8).


a. Instead of pretending that conflict doesn’t exist or talking about others behind their backs,
b. we will choose to overlook minor offenses, Proverbs 19:11
c. or we will talk directly and graciously with those whose offenses seem too serious to overlook.
d. When a conflict with another Christian cannot be resolved in private, we will ask others in the body of Christ to help us settle the matter in a biblical manner
(Mt 18:15-20; James 5:9; Gal 6:1-2; Eph 4:29; 2Tim 2:24-26; 1 Cor 6:1-8).


a. Instead of accepting premature compromise or allowing relationships to wither,
b.  we will actively pursue genuine peace and reconciliation-forgiving others as God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven us, and seeking just and mutually beneficial solutions to our differences
(Mt 5:23-24; Mt 6:12; Eph 4:1-3, 32; Mt 7:12; Phil 2:3-4).

By God’s grace, we will apply these principles as a matter of stewardship, realizing that conflict is an opportunity, not an accident.

We will remember that success, in God’s eyes, is not a matter of specific results but of faithful, dependent obedience.

And we will pray that our service as peacemakers bring praise to our Lord and leads others to know His infinite love (Mt 25:14-21; 1Pet 2:19, 4:19; Rom 12:18; Jn 13:34-35).

The Sin of Meddling

1 Peter 4:15 – Meddling – allotriepiskopos, lit. “overseer of the affairs of another,” In a sinlist with murder, thief, criminal.

Other English definitions – to interest oneself in what is not one’s concern : interfere without right or propriety

The actual act of meddling also means that the meddler is not a neutral party. Typically the meddler gets involved without understanding the whole picture. The meddler tries to portray themselves as a nice person who is “just trying to help” while they, in fact, make things much worse.

Mediation is different than meddling.

Websters 18:28 – 1. To have to do; to take part; to interpose and act in the concerns of others, or in affairs in which one’s interposition is not necessary; often with the sense of intrusion or officiousness.

Killing Church Gossip


He does not differentiate between the mature person who falls into this sin in your presence. And the person who is characterized by this sin. This list seems abrupt and more for the latter.

I especially like #4 and 5 and have used them.

Tom Aschol on Pastoral Confidentiality


Summary, I am free but not obligated to share anything with wife, elders, authorities.

Good and Bad Gossip

Quick Post on “Good” and Bad Gossip

Bad gossip –  talking to someone who is not part of the problem or solution about an issue or a person. Not even to “pray” about it. Gossip is saying things in private you would not say in public. Flattery is saying things in public you would not say in private. – (Not original with me, can’t remember where I saw it.)

“Good” gossip – I am using the term loosely to describe the Biblical command to talk to spiritual authorities about issues in the body. In 1 Corinthians 1:11 Paul says that some from Chloe’s household have, in addition to delivering a letter asking questions, have also reported problems in the church. They reported real spiritual problems to real spiritual authorities.

Church members need to be encouraged to talk with those in authority when they have a concern. We cannot operate on a Dont Ask Dont Tell policy.

Biblical Confidentiality – In addition, the church needs to be instructed about biblical confidentiality. Some have sought to manipulate others by saying, “I am going to tell you something but you have to promise not to tell.”

The biblical response is “I cannot make that promise. I can promise you biblical confidentiality. I am not going to run out and tell others. But I cannot not nor should not promise absolute confidentiality.” (Seem Matthew 18:15ff, 1 Corinthians 5:1ff). If this is a manipulative situation, you might even need to add, “And you should not ever ask this of anyone. It is wrong.”

Our people need to be clear that we do not needlessly pass on information. BUT we do bring in spiritual authorities as warranted. Pastors are not just church event coordinators. They are real shepherds of God’s flock.

What Should Be Shared with Our Wives – Part 2

Another post on this subject here at the blog Sunday Women.

Megan’s observations:

NEVER share your negative speculations. There are people in ministry who are tough to love, but it’s destructive to share assumptions about their motives.

RARELY share information particularly disturbing to your spouse. Me? I can’t stomach details of substance abuse, so my husband loves me by keeping silent.

RARELY share hurtful information that has no solution. If it can’t be fixed, don’t bother sharing.

SOMETIMES share hurtful information that has a solution. These things can be fixed or, at least, helped.

SOMETIMES share hurtful information because its burden is too great. Some secrets need the additional comfort, wisdom, or prayer that only your spouse can give.

OFTEN share information that will soon be public knowledge. This gives your spouse a chance to mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepare.

ALWAYS share encouragement. Spiritual fruit, progress in holiness, and success in gospel labor are things every spouse needs to hear.

Good thoughts for us as elders/shepherds. Read the whole thing.

Don’t Neglect Your Gift

Devotional written ten years ago!
Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you. 1 Timothy 4:14

One of the temptations we as elders face is to neglect our own spiritual gifts. We have been placed in positions of authority because we are faithful and reliable. Because of that faithfulness we will ask, “What are the current needs of the church?” “What can I do to build up the church?” We should do this. We are looking after Jesus’ interests when it may seem as if no one else is. But in this process of worrying about the whole, we can neglect our own unique gifting.

It seems that Timothy faced this. Paul was giving him many instructions to carry out in Ephesus. These issues needed to be addressed to build up the church. Timothy was to deal with false teachers (Chapter 1), correct some problems in worship (Chapter 2), ensure that good men were being placed as officers (Chapter 3) and make sure widows were being taken care of (Chapter 5) just to name some of the major themes. As elders, we can certainly relate to similar to do lists for our church.

But often in this outward focus to build up the church we neglect the inward focus of using our specific giftedness. So in the latter part of Chapter 4 Paul gives Timothy specific instructions having to do with him personally. One of those instructions is not to neglect his gifting. In other words, in the midst of carrying out some duties he has as an apostolic representative, he is to continue to develop and use his own gift.

As elder It is difficult to keep this balance. We are in this position because we are wiling to care for the whole church. One of the best ways we can build up the church is to grow in our particular gifting. I remember the advise given to me when I was taking some time for evaluation. This man of God said to me, “Since your gift is teaching, you ought to love people by teaching them.” Really this is another way of saying, “Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you.”

A church is not a franchise, where each location looks the same. A church is a collection of uniquely gifted and burdened people. As a result, churches are as different as the people who make them up. Churches are strong in one area because they have people that are strong in that area.

One of the biggest causes of elder dropout is weariness and discouragement. One contributor to this weariness can be working on the tasks before us with no regard to our gifts. If we are going to be in this for the long haul, we will need to balance these “duties” with activities that are within our giftedness and passion. The more we passionately exercise our gift, the more the church will be built up.

What Should be Shared with Our Spouses

Good insight for elders and all shepherds both men and women.

His points are that

1. Remember wives are not co-elders.

2. Talk about individual issues and agree as elders.

Read the whole thing. Very short.

Good News in Writing; Bad News in Person

If your brother sins against you, go to him. Matthew 18:15

I mentioned a few Sundays ago the principle I have tried to follow throughout my ministering to other people. I would commend it to our church as a standard. It is captured in this phrase, Good news in writing; Bad news in person.

Following this axiom has more profound implications that we can know.

I know of one pastor who would regularly write 4 -7 page-long criticisms and corrections of others. Rather than speaking in person, he would pour out his corrective and critical thoughts on paper and then mail it away. Needless to say, he wounded many in his congregation by handling conflict this way.

Likewise, I also know many pastors who tell of the painful letters they receive and how those criticisms pierce them deeply. These letters, sometimes anonymous, go into detail about what is wrong in the church or with the leader’s ministry. Today’s email makes this form of criticism even more available. Anonymous letters are particularly painful. Charles Spurgeon had this to say, “An anonymous letter-writer is a sort of assassin, who wears a mask, and stabs in the dark. Such a man is a fiend with a pen. If discovered, the wretch will be steeped in the blackest infamy.”

The problem with handling conflict in writing is that it is not biblical. A writer specifically disobeys Matthew 18:15 which says if your brother sins against you, go to him. We are to go in person, not in writing. Going in person allows there to be give and take, the reading of facial expressions and clarifying questions. Face-to-face communication also tends to soften harsh words. The written letter brings its news and inflicts pain over and over and over again.

We cannot hide behind a keyboard, instead we are commanded to communicate face to face. Because of this principle. I have made it my rule not to read critical letters or emails. Instead, it prompts a phone call to talk about the issue. As a church we are not perfect. We will have our conflicts. But Jesus commands that those conflicts be talked about, not written about.

As you deal with disagreements in the workplace, in your family and in the church, I commend this biblical standard to you.

Just me and my Bible – How to Handle

Four great quotes from BTW on why, “Just me and my Bible” is foolish and not spiritual.

Here’s one:
“It seems odd, that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves, should think so little of what he has revealed to others.”

—Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Commenting and Commentaries (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1876), 1.