Dateline: July 2005
“First one sheep jumped to its death. Then another and another, and then dozens more. Having left their herds to graze while they ate breakfast, stunned Turkish shepherds now watched as nearly 1,500 others leapt off the same cliff. The first 450 animals died under the billowy pile.”
. . . The tragedy happened plainly because the sheep were allowed to wander onto the wrong trail. Unaware of what lay ahead, each one simply followed the next only to perish in the valley below. It is a curious behavior of sheep that once one picks a trail, the rest simply follow the tail in front of them without regard for their destination.”
While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks
Dr. Timothy S. Laniak, 201.
Shepherds of churches, we call them elders and pastors, have one job as well — protect the sheep, protect the flock of God. There is nothing more important on their job description. Part of shepherding well is helping the flock to develop “righteous ruts”, paths that are safe and true and negotiate dangerous terrain. But it is also helping them when they stray from the path that leads to green pastures. And sometimes the sheep don’t want to listen, yet the job description doesn’t change.
Pray for them. Around the world, elders and pastors have different cultures in which they navigate their tasks, different challenges from violent persecution where leaders are targeted first to pastors in America who labor under expectations that are often unspoken, unbiblical and unhealthy.