Ministry is impossible to do when you are running on empty. If your cup is empty, you are not of much use to anyone. Ministry happens when your cup is filled to overflowing. As you get filled up, you pour out and then go get filled up again.
A shepherd that is trying to watch over a flock on empty is an ineffective shepherd. Why? A shepherd that is running on empty, makes impulse decisions, gets angered easily, is over tired, and is likely to lose focus.
A shepherd must be filled up to be able to pour into the lives of his sheep.
I heard a fellow pastor say something at a conference once that has never left my mind, “A shepherd that does not smell like sheep is not a shepherd.”
Implication: It is all about relationships.
A shepherd must know his sheep.
God equips each generation to reach itself. The sheep just need a shepherd to guide them.
A shepherd (to a degree) needs to be involved in the lives of his sheep. A shepherd is no use to the sheep if he does not know who they are. A sheep is not likely to obey a shepherd if the sheep does not recognize the voice of the shepherd.
Shepherds need to learn from the Ultimate Shepherd…Jesus.
Jesus knows all of the sheep in his flock by name. He says that his sheep hear his voice and they follow him. Jesus welcomes relationship. He is not afraid of the sheep. He is not intimidated by the sheep. He does not mind smelling like the sheep.
Cultivate relationships with the sheep
Love the sheep in the same way that Christ loves you
Pray for your sheep
Work hard both for your family and for the sheep
Remember that it is not about you, it is all about Jesus
If the sheep do not trust you, they will not follow you.