Several house churches have multiplied in the recent past. We praise God for this! As we faithfully do our part by serving and loving on our VIPs, we see God doing His part by opening their hearts and enabling them to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior. As a result, we get to witness and celebrate baptism every month.
In one person coming to know Christ and getting saved, there are many people who pour out their sweat and tears and sacrifice their time and resources. That’s why each baptism is very dear and precious. We must appreciate this because this unfortunately doesn’t happen regularly in other churches.
In the center of each house church, there is a shepherd. He is a servant-leader. He is a servant to God and servant to his house church members. As a servant of God, God’s needs come before his own needs. He lives his life to do God’s will and desire. As a servant to his house church members, his goal is to help them become successful in the eyes of God. So, he must pray, serve, listen, talk, empathize, weep and at times rebuke his own members to help them hear God saying to them, “Good and faithful servants!” on that final day. Shepherds are servant-leaders and they are very important.
We have two different types of shepherds. One is called full-fledged shepherds and the other deputy shepherds. Full-fledged shepherds are the ones who have finished all the required Bible Studies. The required Bible Studies are RJM, 101-401, Living Life, Transforming Life, Experiencing God, Perspectives, Beginning the Journey and The Arrival Kit. Deputy shepherds are the ones who have finished at least the following: RJM, 101, 201, Living Life, Beginning the Journey and The Arrival Kit.
We don’t set apart and appoint people to serve as deputy shepherds because they are experts in the Bible. I have seen way too many people who know a lot about the Bible but don’t have the servant’s heart which is the most important thing shepherds must possess because they are servant-leaders. No matter how much a person knows about the Bible, if he is not humble and doesn’t desire to serve, he is not fit to be a leader because the kind of leader that Jesus looks for in his church is a humble servant-leader.
Typical Christians in other churches have a hard time understanding this because they have been drilled by their pastors that spiritual maturity is equivalent to how much Bible they know. In fact, they think discipleship happens when they study the Bible. This is not true. When people study the Bible intently, they may become scholars. But Jesus didn’t command us to make scholars. He told us to make disciples. Disciples are made not in a classroom setting where the Bible is taught. They are made in the house church context where people must learn to relate to and live with one another, not just with those whom they like, but also with those whom they dislike and have a hard time getting along.
Therefore, when a house church is full and ready to be multiplied, we look for a person who is most humble and serving to appoint him as a deputy shepherd. If they don’t know the Bible well, they can be taught as they serve. But if they don’t have the humility and servant spirit, then can’t serve.
Nevertheless, it is important for deputy shepherds to know something about the Bible. That’s why we have the minimum requirements for them. Through Living Life, we learn about the foundational teachings of the Bible. Without this class, your understanding of Christianity will be confusing and unclear. Through 201, we learn about the four basic spiritual disciplines we must practice in our life if we want to grow as a Christ-follower. Through Beginning the Journey and The Arrival Kit, we learn about our life in God’s kingdom fleshed out in our house church. Without taking these classes, a person will be ill equipped to serve as a deputy shepherd.
If you will be here at New Life for some time, I would like for all of you to desire to serve as a shepherd. So, prepare yourselves by taking these classes as soon as you can. If you do and when your house church is ready to be multiplied, you will be ready to step up and serve as a deputy or full-fledged shepherd.
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