A blessed good morning to my audience, brothers and sisters in the Lord. Peace be unto you and prosperity within thy gated
Do you remember what it was like as a child picking teams on the playground? The tallest and biggest kids always went first, based on the assumption of physical prowess. But they weren’t always the best choice—sometimes the game required the speed, flexibility, and coordination the bigger kids lacked. And sometimes they simply weren’t athletic.
Humans are prone to over-value externals. We’re too easily fooled by façades (outward appearance), eager to appraise every book by its cover. Rather than waiting to see the quality of a person’s character and integrity bore out over time, we make snap decisions based on the physical qualities we see—or don’t see.
I made that same mistake and I was rebuked for it in many ways. I will not want to make those errors again. God rebuked Samuel for making that very mistake:
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Too many churches today put too much stock in externals when searching for a leader or shepherd. They give too much credibility to a man’s outward appearance, putting style far ahead of substance. They want someone young, attractive, polished, virile, exciting, funny, and cool. But those qualities have nothing to do with being a godly shepherd—in fact, some of them might inhibit His ability to faithfully care for the flock.
Instead, the church needs to evaluate potential shepherds biblically—we need to see them as God sees them. I recently consider what a church ought to look for in a shepherd. Here are my findings: God’s Word is clear about the biblical qualifications for a shepherd. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul lays out the precise measure of the man fit to care for God’s flock.
An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (1 Timothy 3:2-7)
A few years ago, I wrote a series of articles digging deep into each of those biblical qualifications for pastors and leaders/shepherds—suffice it to say, there’s more than I can cover in this email today.
But the point Paul makes to Timothy is the same one I made when I wrote the Rules and Bylaws of The Mystical Order—that the godly shepherd’s character is borne out through his faithfulness over time. A leader/shepherd is qualified, not by his impressive externals, but by established patterns of integrity, purity, and righteousness. Churches searching for a new shepherd need to be less loved by the charm and sophisticated speakers, and more interested in a man’s spiritual maturity.
In addition to the qualifications Paul spells out above, it’s helpful to consider the actual work a leader/shepherd is called to, and how prospective shepherds might fit that role. As we saw earlier in my emails, the shepherd’s primary role is to feed the sheep. In an article titled “Do not starve the sheep,” I explain what it looks like to faithfully feed God’s flock.
The leader’s/shepherd’s goal is not to please the sheep, but to feed them—not to tickle their ears, but to nourish their souls. He is not to offer merely light snacks of spiritual milk, but the substantial meat of biblical truth. Those who fail to feed the flock are unfit to be shepherds (Jeremiah 23:1-4; Ezekiel 34:2-10).
When looking for a new leader/shepherd, churches need to consider more than just a candidate’s preaching style—they need to evaluate the substance he delivers. You wouldn’t hire a chef who couldn’t cook or a pilot who couldn’t fly. If a man is unable or unwilling to feed his sheep the rich nourishment of God’s Word, he’s not fit to be their leader/shepherd.
Another vital element goes hand-in-hand with feeding—godly leaders/shepherds must also protect the sheep. Paul exhorted the leaders in the church at Ephesus to be on the alert and protect the church from spiritual threats. So many leaders/shepherds have wounded their sheep through sex, giving of gifts, bad public reputation under the disguise of serving God. They are brainwashed and they pry into their weakness. Such a shame to the eyes of the public.
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. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves, men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts 20:28-30)
I will continue this message tomorrow ………..
Your servant and brother,
+ Sir Godfrey Gregg
Archbishop and Presiding Prelate
Administrator and Apostolic Head
Follow me on Twitter @ArchbishopGregg
You can listen to audio recordings of some of our latest sermons at https://soundcloud.com/user116591010