“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;” (1 Peter 5:1–2)
“It belongs to the office of elder, both severally and jointly, to watch diligently over the flock committed to their charge, that no corruption of doctrine or of morals enter therein. They must exercise government and discipline, and take oversight not only of the spiritual interests of the particular church, but also the Church generally when called thereunto... All those duties which private Christians are bound to discharge by the law of love are especially incumbent upon them by divine vocation, and are to be discharged as official duties. They should pray with and for the people, being careful and diligent in seeking the fruit of the preached Word among the flock.” (PCA Book of Church Order 8-3)
Scripture and the Book of Church Order charge the Elders of Missio Dei Church "to watch diligently over the flock." This is a daunting task, but it is for your good, the good of the whole church, and for God's glory.
Which sheep are we called to particularly shepherd? Those among us. Which sheep do we protect? Those among us. The words “among you” are there for a reason. The Bible shows shepherding with proximity and presence and commitment as absolutely necessary. A good shepherd can’t watch, protect, and speak to his sheep from some far-off field or those who are not committed to particular care.
Because of this we have created Shepherding Groups to seek to know and care for you and have you know us. Your elders want to know you better. We want to know your names, your challenges, and your hopes and we want you to know our voice because we are among you.
If you are a member of our church, you will find in the Realm our recently revised Shepherding Groups list. Each member of our church is assigned to the particular care of a particular elder (there is also a deacon in each group as well). If there are matters of personal, relational, marital, spiritual, financial care, we want to encourage you to speak to your elder who is assigned to you.
Here is a word of encouragement: Get to know your pastor and elders. Don’t wait for them to call on you or initiate a conversation. Hopefully, your elder will be reaching out to you soon, but that doesn’t always happen in the timeframe that you may need it. Don’t wait until tragedy strikes or for a feeling of isolation to set in to get to know your elders. Pursue fellowship with those who are charged to keep watch over your souls.
May God grant each of us that deep and hope-filled gospel community and care with our church family, for His glory and your perseverance to the end.
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