The ministry of being a shepherd is spoken of much in the Bible, mostly by means of images and metaphors. While shepherding is something a leader does, it is also a leadership quality because effective shepherding requires certain orientations within the leader that comes out of the right heart attitudes and motivations.  The Apostle Peter wrote to elders (presbyteros; those who preside over the church, i.e. church leaders):
“Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness, yet not as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.  And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” (1 Peter 5:2-4)

We want to extend thanks to the men who fill this role and “Shepherd the Flock” at Southside.  Thank you also goes to those who have filled this role in the past. Scripture likens believers to sheep and so the reference to “the flock among you” in Peters verse signifies the elders’ primary responsibility in tending the flock.

Notice the word “flock”- a group not a single sheep. With this, we know that you each are people-oriented as well as body oriented in taking care of the community and not one single sheep.  Though if needed you treat each sheep as though they are your main “project” when someone comes to you with a problem or to get a grasp of what is needed and where they need to go to get it.

The trust of the church (community) is yours, not given lightly but with love and trust. Your shepherding is given without compulsion, voluntarily, according to the will of God. You have answered God’s call upon your life with trust that it is what HE wants you to do. Elected by the congregation you accepted to serve with God oriented prayer and guidance. Leading by example as well as discerning God’s will and shepherding in the stewardship of your office. A process oriented/servant oriented road traveled.

To our Elders – We thank you for your service.

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:28) 

Submitted by Sandie Copass

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