Pastoral Shepherding

Biblical Shepherding

Ancient cultures understood shepherding. It was the shepherd’s job to feed the lambs and sheep, bring them to green pasture and water, groom and shear them and deliver new lambs. They led with their staff, teaching the sheep to stay together, chasing the strays, and protecting them in the field and in the fold. As followers of Christ, we are ‘under shepherds’ and Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

Take a few minutes to discuss these questions with your leaders. It’s vital that we understand our shepherding role in the context of our small group:

  1. As a leader, what does it look like to ‘feed’ and give ‘water’ in your small group? (John 21:15-17)

  2. What do you think grooming and shearing equate to? (Matthew 28:20)

  3. What does it look like to lead and teach? (Psalm 23, Matthew 5:1-10)

  4. How do you shepherd if people in your group don’t want to be led?

  5. What ideas do you have about going after missing people? (Luke 15:3-6) How far should

    you go?

  6. What are some predators that come to distract, harm and steal sheep today?

    (Colossians 2: 8; 1 Timothy 6:10, 20-21)

  7. What is your responsibility as a small group leader to shepherd? (Ezekiel 34:1-10, John


As small group leaders, we are not counselors and cannot possibly meet all the needs of every person in our group. We strive to be caregivers of God’s children with gentleness and respect. Our goal is to listen well and walk beside our people, offering help where we can and resourcing needs from appropriate sources. Below are some needs that you should not try to meet on your own - they require professional help. Please seek Venture Pastoral staff or a Stephen Minister for help.

  • Child abuse

  • Sexual abuse

  • Spousal abuse

  • Suicide

  • Heavy addiction

  • Volatile anger/threats

  • Custody battles

  • Long-term marriage counseling

  • Depression/mental health

Our heart is to keep 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 at our fore front as we deal with difficult circumstances.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

If a crisis occurs beyond your comfort or training, contact your coach and discuss a plan for help. If your plan requires pastoral help, please call the church office and speak to a pastor on staff. If this happens after hours, leave a message and an on call pastor will return your call.

As another resource, we have Stephen Ministers who are trained to help in certain situations. See below.

Stephen Ministry Small Group Leader Partnership

The purpose of Stephen Ministry is to equip lay people to provide one on one care to those within the body of Venture, addressing their spiritual and emotional needs. Stephen Ministry is not a counseling service but rather a caring relationships to help others navigate extended difficulties and crisis in life.

It is our desire as a Small Group Leadership Team to collaborate with Stephen Ministry help when appropriate. Stephen Ministers are not to be a dump off place for difficult people but rather support and encouragement for those going through an extended period of difficulty.

Small Group Leader shepherding responsibilities:

  • Regularly pray for small group members

  • Reach out and connect with small group members going through life challenges

  • Go after group members who stray or disappear

  • Be a good listener administering God’s grace

  • Facilitate and participate in providing meals to a small group member when appropriate

  • Make hospital visits when appropriate

  • Help develop a safe culture for transparency and vulnerability within your group

  • Be willing to ask for help in assessing a pastoral need

  • Be the liaison for needs greater than your understanding, training and small group maturity

If you think your circumstance calls for a Stephen Minister, please contact Beth Yamada at the Venture office.