Shepherd's Tools

Tool #5 - The Word of God

How to Share the Word With People
Let your conversation be always seasoned with salt. That doesn't mean you need to be quoting Scripture, teaching or preaching to people at every opportunity. Yet we need to be alert to opportunities to share our experience and faith in Jesus Christ. It needs to be every-day and natural. Talk with people about prayer and how God has answered your prayers. In a conversation be alert to opportunities to pray together with that person about issues you have discussed.

How to Start a Home Fellowship
Hospitality is the starting point of most relationships. When you have an open home, you also have an open heart. People respond to genuine friendliness and interest. Inviting someone into your home is a great tool for a Shepherd. It sets the tone of a new friendship. People tend to relax around food and good conversation. Proverbs exhorts us, "He that has friends must show himself friendly. You must make the first move. But don't settle with only one try. It takes time for people to warm up to you, and begin to trust the relationship. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Try at least three invitations before judging that someone is unresponsive or uninterested in building a relationship. Involving other people sometimes helps to spread the conversation around between people. Team up with another Shepherd or Shepherding Couple to do hospitality together. Shedule your hospitality. Make it a habit. Perhaps once a month on communion Sunday you can make it a point to have simple dinner and invite two other couples to dinner. Set the time to start and time to depart so they know in advance how long the afternoon will be.

How To Lead a Small Group
Small groups develop over time. After you have been involved with people in hospitality and friend-making then it may be time to suggest a small group gathering. This could be scheduled on a Sunday night, or a weeknight if that is more convenient to you and others. Make it a comfortable setting. Have an agenda you follow so others will get comfortable with the routine.

One of the qualifications of an shepherd is that he be "apt, or able to teach." Teaching is not lecturing or preaching but explaining and leading people to understand the scriptures. Every shepherd should himself be a student of the Word. Paul exhorts Timothy to "Study (be diligent) to show yourself approved unto God a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth." (2 Tim. 2:15)

That is why we encourage every shepherd to be personally dedicated to the reading and study of Godís word. In Deuteronomy God gave His command to spiritual leaders the Levites: "And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:" Don't Be Afraid
You do not need to have the gift of teacher to guide a home study or small group fellowship. Again, team up with another Shepherding couple if your are new at this. Take the training for small groups offered by your church so you know what you are doing.

You should be willing and able to lead your small flock (sometimes called a cell group) in an inductive Bible study. There are lots of helps available for learning to study and teach in small groups. The pastor from time to time will offer a course during the Sunday School hour on "Word Studies in the New Testament." The principles and tools you will learn there will help you become a better Bible student.

Here is a simple guide to leading an inductive study. Take any passage and read it out loud together. Use several translations if you wish. Look at only a paragraph at a time. Use the 1,2,3 formula for examining the Bible passage.

I. Observation - Who? When? Where? What?
        Use the powers of observation. Catch the bird's eye view.

        What is happening?
        Where is it?
        Who is doing it to whom?
        When did it happen?

II. Investigation - How and Why?
        What words are interesting or need definition?
        What statements are paradoxical, confusing, or profound?
        What things are unfamiliar, customs, places, names?
        What cultural expressions, actions need explanation?
        What questions does this passage raise for you?
        What other Scriptures speak to this same issue?

III. Application - So what?
        What new thing do I learn from this?
        What old truth is reinforced here?

                Is there a  promise?
                Is there a  command to obey?
                Is there an example to follow?
                Is there a  sin to avoid?
                Is there a  truth to explore further?

        An Acronym: 

		Ask yourself...

                P = Is there a Promise
                E = Is there a Example
                P = Is there a Point to pray about
                S = Is there a Sin to avoid
                I =  Is there a Instruction to follow