The role of a shepherd is to lead beside quiet waters, to lead into green pastures, and to care for the sheep. Sheep are interesting animals. Let’s imagine that a herd of sheep is grazing quietly, the sun is out, not a cloud in the sky, and one sheep bends down to eat a tuft of grass and a blade of grass goes up its nose. It tickles its nose and it quickly rears its head back. Now that action should not cause anyone alarm. However, sheep are scared beings. So, the heard freaks out and thinks that there must be danger nearby. The entire herd makes a run for it. Even the sheep that had a blade of grass go up its nose follows and scurries off with the rest. There is a thing called the herd mentality. Sheep are scared and the whole herd will follow each other, even to their very own death.
Now, what does this mean for us as leaders. Well, you don’t want to scare the sheep. Let’s imagine that you are going to bring forth some change in your ministry. There is a way to bring about change that is going to comfort the flock and there is a way to bring about change that is going to scare the living daylights out of the flock and cause them to quite possibly run off a cliff.
Acclimate to Change
There are things that you can do, phrases that you can use, and there is even a rhythm and a pace at which you bring about change. Human beings have a threshold for change. They can only take so much. If you constantly change and change and change everything in your ministry, you might want to think about pushing pause on that and giving your sheep a little bit of rest and opportunity to acclimate to the changes you have made thus far.
Sheep scare easily. Not only do sheep scare easily, moms and dads with small children scare easily as well. Moms and dads are hardwired by God to think about and protect their children at all cost. Moms and dads desire the best for their children and when they think their children are either in danger or are being somehow short changed or slighted, they get scared. Their reaction can come across as anger, hostility, or rage.
When one parent has a negative and adverse reaction to an input from your ministry area, possibly akin to a blade of grass going up their nose, that parent can rear their head and cause so many other parents to lose confidence and think that there is danger where there really is no danger at all.
Peace and Reconciliation
Don’t scare the sheep. Be a minister of peace and reconciliation. Understand that your role as a shepherd is to protect the sheep, sometimes even from themselves.
Be a good shepherd. Don’t scare the sheep.