Chapter 4: Make Your Pasture a Safe Place & Chapter 5: The Staff of Direction
Your Presence Presents Equality
Nothing reassures the sheep more than the presence of the shepherd. - Page 64
The presence of a shepherd establishes the purpose of the shepherd. This may sound simple and possibly even redundant, but it draws me to the first two verses of Psalm 23:
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me besides still waters.
The purpose of a shepherd is to protect the sheep from danger, to lead the sheep to places of rest and provision, and to be a refuge in times of trials and tribulations. Yet, none of this can take place if the shepherd is absent. Imagine if a flock was alone in the field when a wolf arrived. There would be no where for them to run for protection. The fear and danger would cause the sheep to separate in chaos. The same is true for us as leaders. We can only protect and guide our sheep if we are present with them; more importantly, if our desire is for our sheep to come to us in their time of need, hurt, discomfort, and even pleasure, we must physically show them we will be there when they call our name. Regardless of how well a shepherd may know his/her sheep, if they are never present the sheep will find somewhere else to go in times of need, ultimately diminishing the strength of the flock.
Trust in Opportunities
Point is: rotate opportunities among the different members of your flock… - Page 61
Rotating opportunities not only increases the potential within the members of a shepherd’s flock, but also establishes a level of trust between a shepherd and his/her sheep. A leader’s main focus outside knowing and keeping his/her flock safe is to stretch them. Yet, this can only be done when trust is established between a shepherd and his/her sheep.
The act of rotating opportunities between a flock bridges the gap between trust and potential. Leaders who give new opportunities to their employees, team members, and/or sons/daughters, give way for the growth of one’s gifts, and silently approve their successes or failures for the sake of transformation. They allow his/her sheep to take on new challenges, shifting the focus from production to purpose. This reinforces a trust which echoes a shepherd’s loyalty to his/her flock.
Allow Your Sheep To Discover
In other words…make sure my people know where the fence line is but give them freedom of movement within it. - Page 74
Nothing we are meant to do was meant to be done alone. There will always be skills, talents and gifts in our sheep which we do not contain. It is in the roaming which we give room for our team members, employees, and partners the opportunity to creatively express themselves within their gifts, for the purpose of reaching a goal, vision, and/or result. It is important to establish boundaries. Boundaries keep the heart and vision of a flock in unity. But confining your flock within the boundaries is suffocating. Our sheep must be given the chance to discover the greener grasses within the fences of safety and unity - grasses we may have never noticed.
Find Yourself Outside the Norm of Your Position
That staff is not long because it’s a walking stick; it’s long to extend the reach of the shepherd. - Page 74
I’ve had leaders in my life who have only operated within the specific confines of their role. For instance, one of my previous bosses was nothing more and nothing less than what the company expected from a boss. He made my schedule, processed payroll and told me what to do when we found ourselves on the work floor at the same time. He was a great boss, but his reach as a shepherd was only as long as the back room of our store.
A shepherd’s influence should never be limited to the four walls of a business office, restaurant or home; a shepherd’s influence should transcend itself into the daily lives of his/her sheep. It’s the shepherd’s reach which draws back his/her sheep from going astray. It’s the shepherd’s reach which keeps his/her sheep within the flock. A great leader is one whose reach is felt even when his/her sheep have made their way home, one who has made an impression on his/her sheep to where they cling to the heart of their shepherd regardless of their current situations. A good shepherd builds a character within his/her sheep which continues to lead them in the right direction for the rest of their lives, as their heart is to see his/her sheep be successful in all areas of their lives - even the ones they will never be a part of.