Discipleship Notes: Shepherding

As you lead victory groups, keep these in mind:

1. Learn to see things through the lens of eternity. Life is too short to be spent on trivial matters. Prioritize things that have eternal implications. Find the place where you could make the most impact and aim for it. Spend your life doing the things that could bring God the highest honor. Or put another way, spend your life in a way that could do the most damage to the kingdom of darkness.

Acts 20.24: I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.

2. Never mind who gets the credit. As you do discipleship, you might come across people who would only be there for a season. Some of them move to other places or transfer to other Christian churches. It would be a lie if you tell me it’s not frustrating. Of course it’s frustrating, but only if you are more interested in building your “own” group than the Body of Christ.

In God’s Kingdom, you just need to be faithful with what is given to you. If you have one person to disciple, be faithful with that one. Pour out your life to helping that one person grow. In the end, it’s not the parade of numbers that matter to God but the faithfulness of your heart in embracing what has been entrusted to your care. And if that one person moves out, rejoice at the role you played in his Christian walk.

In the book of Acts, Paul was faithful in preaching the Word to the Ephesians even if he knew he will never see them again. He played his role and moved on gracefully. “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.” (Acts 20.25)

3. Keep watch over yourselves. When you do discipleship, do not forget to take care of your own spiritual life. Don’t you ever buy into the delusion that just because you are fruitful, you are automatically holy. Successful ministry is not measured by numeric indicators. When Christ addressed the seven churches in Revelation, he did not commend the larger churches and rebuked the smaller ones. Instead, he hit at the heart of character, faith, endurance, compromise, idolatry, and immorality.

Acts 20.28: Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers…

4. Be shepherds. Don’t treat your victory group members as statistics to feel good about. They’re humans. They’re flesh and blood who need encouragement, prayers, friendships and a tangible expression of the love of Christ. Shepherd them. Know their names and their stories. Bind their wounds and mend their brokenness. Go to lunch with them and listen to their corny jokes. And while you do this, don’t forget that they’ll know when you’re faking it.

Acts 20.28: …be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

5. Raise true disciples. In the book of Acts, Paul warned about people rising up from within the church who will want to distort the truth and lead others astray. Be on guard against this men. But more importantly, before that could even happen, make sure you are raising up true disciples who will take leadership roles in the church. Create a culture of discipleship and honoring God. It may be tedious and would take a lot of time and hardwork but it will save you from a lot of trouble in the future.

I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Acts 20.29-31)