Origin and Purpose
Jesus called himself the “good shepherd” (John 10:11, 14); after his resurrection, three times he charged Peter to feed his sheep (John 21:15-17). The charge Paul gives to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:28 is the passionate plea of a pastor to pastors: Shepherd the sheep. If nothing else is clear, the Lord’s passion for us, his sheep, is that we be shepherded!
To that end, the Mission of our Shepherding Ministry Team is to “proclaim Christ by being instruments of God’s grace and mercy to his flock at McIlwain Presbyterian Church.” Following the call of Christ, we will shepherd His people by guiding, caring for, and protecting them spiritually and physically (Psalm 23; John 10:11-16).
The Shepherding Ministry Team encompasses the work of the Pastoral Staff, the Fold Ministry of our elders and deacons, the LIFE Group Ministry, Men of the Covenant and McIlwain’s Women’s Ministries (MWM).
The pastoral ministry of faithful expository preaching and solid biblical teaching is the hub of our shepherding “wheel”; our shepherding efforts extend from this solid center. In addition, our Pastoral Staff (internal link) is engaged in shepherding men to be leaders in the home, in the church and in the world.
McIlwain’s Session (internal link, to Elders) has organized the member households of the congregation into smaller groups called Folds. The pastoral oversight of these Folds is by Elder Teams and is assisted by the Deacons (internal link) and a Women’s Ministry representative, all of whom work with the Elder Team to make sure the various needs within the fold are not just communicated but addressed, whether it be yard work at the one of our shut-ins or helping to organize meals during hospital stays, births or in a family death.
Each Elder Team organizes a regular visitation of their Fold in order to see to the spiritual nurture each member of every household under their care. This, by honest admission, is the most challenging aspect of faithful shepherding; not only does it take time and effort beyond the regular “stuff” of life to schedule and carry out such visitation, it also challenges both Elders and members to realize that Jesus has called us to love one another as he has loved us (John 15:12).