Passion Driven Shepherdology: A Biblical And Practical Reconciliation Of Pastoral Preaching And Church Growth -- By: James L. Shaddix

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 01:2 (Fall 2003)
Article: Passion Driven Shepherdology: A Biblical And Practical Reconciliation Of Pastoral Preaching And Church Growth
Author: James L. Shaddix


Passion Driven Shepherdology:
A Biblical And Practical Reconciliation Of
Pastoral Preaching And Church Growth1

James L. Shaddix

Associate Professor of Preaching
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
3939 Gentilly Blvd.
New Orleans, LA 70126

Many conservative pastors in our day have championed the cause of biblical inerrancy. However, many of those same well-meaning men of God actually are functional errantist! They give the impression that they believe the Scriptures contain error, not by what they profess in their theology, but by the way they handle the Bible in their preaching. Just because the Bible has God as its author, just because it carries His authority, and just because it wields His power to change lives, does not mean that He entrusted it to us for any and every use under the sun. If the pastor overlooks this reality, his theology may be right while his preaching makes God say things He never said. And in the end, his church will never be able to grow in such a way that honors God.

If church growth is to be authentic and biblical, it has to be driven by a passion for God’s glory and nothing else. The awesomeness of this task demands that we give serious attention to the task of pastoral preaching in church growth. Like Paul, contemporary shepherds are bound to speak the testimony of God, not merely the testimony about God (1 Cor. 2:1-2). Consequently, a right understanding of the testimony of God as well as the role of the pastor become all important for growing healthy churches. So we need to explore the philosophy of pastoral

preaching—or shepherdology—in an effort to redeem the ministry from some unhealthy ideologies. Consider the following charges given to the shepherd of the local congregation who would venture to preach for God’s glory and see God grow His church.

Feed The Flock, Don’t Just Pet The Sheep

I planted a church during my masters work and ended up pastoring it for almost nine years. With all of their unique challenges, church starts usually afford some privileges and blessings that do not necessarily come with established congregations. Nobody ever said to me, “Well, sonny, we were here before you got here and we’ll be here when you leave.” Nobody was there before me—my wife and I had started the work with just one other couple! We never heard anyone say, “we’ve never done it that way before.” We had never done it any way before!

To be sure, I made a plethora of mistakes in pastoring tha...

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