Just last year, God blessed my brother and sister-n-law with a new addition to their family. Taylor came into the world weighing in at 7.1 lbs. This new addition to their family of three has been a joyous time, yet it comes with great responsibility. Not only are they to care for their children’s physical needs, but they are also to attend to their families spiritual development.
Specifically, the husband is to shepherd his family. Whether the family consists of the husband and wife, or a family of four, men are called to be the pastor’s of their household. Our local pastor is not the only one called to shepherd the flock. We are called to this task as well.
Jesus is our example and as Christians we are to walk as He walked (1 John 2:6), imitating Him (Eph. 5:1, 1 Cor. 11:1) in all things. Since He is our example, it is only right that we should look to Him for the “how to” of shepherding.
Here are a few guiding principles to get you started:
(1) We must know those we shepherd.
John 10:14 tells us Jesus is the Good Shepherd and He knows His own and His own know Him. In order to shepherd our families well, we must spend time getting to know them. This means turning off the t.v. during dinner and engaging your family in conversation.
(2) We must lead by example.
Jesus taught His disciples to pray by example (Matt 6:5-15). He showed them how to serve one another by example (John 13:3-5), and He also taught His disciples how to minister to others by example (Luke 8:1-9:6). As leaders of our household, we must do the same, which necessitates that we know how to pray, how to serve others, and how to minister to friends and family.
(3) We must protect our families from both physical and spiritual danger.
Jesus tells us that the Good Shepherd is willing to lay down His life for His sheep (John 10:11-13). He lays down His life because He cares for them. And in caring for them, He protects them from both physical and spiritual harm. In order to protect our families from spiritual danger, we must know what they are watching, reading, and who they are friends with. We must understand the culture in which we live, knowing how to combat cultural teachings with Scripture. This means we must not only have a deep understanding of our culture, but also of the Word of God.
(4) We must instruct our families.
Jesus intimately instructed His disciples during His earthly ministry, teaching them how to both read and understand the Word of God (Acts 1:3). We also must instruct our family in God’s Word, teaching them how to read it and understand it. This can be accomplished through a nightly family devotion, a weekly Bible study, or by talking about the sermon over lunch.
These four suggestions for better shepherding are not all that a shepherd does, but it is a good start. If we are committed to knowing our families better, leading by example, protecting them from both physical and spiritual danger, and instructing our families in the Word of God, we are on the right path to shepherding our families well.