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Feed My Sheep, Feed My Sheep, Feed My Sheep: A Pastor's Priorities | from James MacDonald


You may be familiar with James MacDonald as friend of Acts 29 Co-Founder, Mark Driscoll, from when they went to see the devastation left by the Haiti earthquake last year, and formed Churches Helping ChurchesJames is senior pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel and has overseen the planting of 69 churches through Harvest. He also established Walk in the Word, a Bible-teaching broadcast. James is a great Bible preacher and has been a friend and teacher to many in the Acts 29 Network - and will be speaking May 26 at our Nashville Boot Camp.

Excerpted from his blog:

A pastor I have known for 20 years was fired recently. I wish I could tell a tale of harsh Elders, or demanding congregants, but based upon first-hand accounts, he hung himself. Not literally, but literally figuratively. As I often say, the crises of life are a way of revealing something that has been happening for a long time. The details are not important and I don’t want to betray his identity to him or those in the pulpit/church he has now left without a Senior Pastor. Let’s focus on the principles. In my experience, if a pastor does these three things faithfully  he will have the support of the vast majority of his people in almost any church anywhere.

1) Feed the People.

Jesus was fairly explicit about this in the closing sentences of John’s gospel. Feed my sheep, feed my sheep, feed my sheep. If he only said it twice, we might have wiggle room, but the three-peat kind of negates any plans to say “we didn’t know it mattered.” What are you feeding the sheep? Of course the entire circus of felt need, therapeutic preaching is like pita bread at a Super Bowl party, but beyond the obvious, what really does feed sheep? Scripture, and only Scripture, feeds the sheep, but even among those who claim biblical fidelity and ‘preach the Word’ as appropriate descriptors of their pulpit ministry, are your sheep really fed? Reading a text and then waxing eloquent about it’s theme does not feed sheep. Raising a contemporary subject of interest to the masses and unfolding it with biblical ‘post it notes’ at every turn does not feed sheep. Simply explaining the meaning of a text in a formulaic, classroom kind of ‘what it says, what it means’ detachment, definitely does not feed sheep. In my experience, the best feeding which produces the most satisfied sheep comes from a message formed in, saturated with, and continually connected to an extended portion of a single passage of God’s Word. Where the main point comes from a paragraph and the supporting points come from it’s verses, and the content of those points is the content of the individual verses. Like this: Audio / Video

2) Love the People.

The guy who got canned was actually pretty strong in this category. The Bible says that love covers and that certainly applies to the way a congregation views the faults of their pastor... (read more)

3) Admit When You are Wrong.

This is where most pastors go down and this was the demise of the man whose firing prompted this blog. Pastors can believe grace, exegete grace, and preach grace with little sense of their own need for it... (read more)

Just those three things, do them consistently and you will do better as a pastor and last longer in any church for the glory of God’s great Son.

  • Read more from James MacDonald's blog
  • James will be speaking on The Church Planter's Message at the Nashville Boot Camp on May 26. You can come hear him, Scott Thomas, Tyler Jones, Ray Ortlund, and Bryan Loritts for just $25 - register here.
  • James also recently spoke at the Acts 29 Midwest Region's Quarterly training. Listen here.