Shepherding Pt. 3 – Those We Shepherd

Last year, a single father named Gene was homeless and attending AA meetings with his two daughters by his side.

Through a cool series of events, Gene came into Midtown Commons for our Thursday breakfast and sat down with Dave and Jeff, a couple of our volunteers. Gene had a bunch of questions about Jesus and the bible and Dave and Jeff sat with him and discussed salvation. Gene listened and went on his way.

A couple of weeks later, Gene came back to the Commons to let us all know he had been born again. The life change was obvious. He thanked Jeff and Dave for planting the gospel seed.

As time went on, Gene was baptized and started to put the pieces of his life together.

In December, our local newspaper featured an article about Gene and his changed life. The paper mentioned how Gene was a “recently reborn Christian” and Gene thanked the Church and other ministries for not judging him.

One time Dave and Gene were running an errand together and Gene kept repeating, “I just can’t believe you guys would be my friend.”

This is what shepherding looks like.

Sara, a 12 year-old in our Kidtown ministry, has a father who is constantly in and out of the hospital. His chronic illness is mostly due to his alcoholism — when he binge drinks, he ends up in the hospital.

When these hospitalizations happen, a husband and wife whose kids are grown and out of the house instantly open up a spare room to Sara. They get her to school on time, make sure she has dinner, and help her with her homework.

This is what shepherding looks like.

When Maddie, another 12-year-old girl in our program, has questions about whether or not it’s okay for her Dad to have a live-in girlfriend and occasionally smoke pot, my wife is there to gently point her in the direction of truth, helping her see that our choices have consequences. And Maddie listens. Because Rachel has proven herself to be a trustworthy ally who has Maddie’s best interest in mind.

This is what shepherding looks like.

All of these stories have the same underlying value:

Presence.

Gene knows and trusts Dave’s and Jeff’s voices.

Sarah trusts the voice of her emergency care-takers.

Maddie knows she can believe what Rachel is saying.

And all of these shepherds are working toward helping Gene, Sara, and Maddie know the voice of their true shepherd, Jesus.

If after reading last week’s post you are wondering how to begin shepherding people, the first step is being there.

Go where people are. Get to know them. Build a friendship. Be there when they need you.

Show them how you are following the voice of Jesus.

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