Why “Good Shepherd?”
“Good Shepherd” embodies our calling as a young church in the Florence area, pointing to these three truths:
First, Christ is our Shepherd. Throughout the Bible, God states that his people are like sheep in need of a shepherd, and he is that shepherd. Psalm 23 states, “The LORD is my Shepherd.” In John 10, Jesus affirms that as the good shepherd, he would lay down his life for the sheep. And in Revelation 7, we see Jesus as our eternal shepherd, “For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Now and forever, we want to honor Christ as our Savior, our Lord, and our Shepherd.
Second, all people need the Good Shepherd. Psalm 23 states that as our shepherd, God leads us, cares for us, comforts us, and restores our souls. He draws near to us and remains ever-present with us. All people need God in this way. Matthew 9, describing the perspective of Jesus, states, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” “Good Shepherd” is not just a title that Jesus carries, but it is a role that only he can fulfill in the lives of people. We want to be a church that introduces people to the Good Shepherd who can restore their souls and care for them.
Finally, Christ calls leaders to shepherd his people on his behalf. This is a responsibility of church leaders that can often be overlooked. In 1 Peter, the apostle Peter writes, “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ,…shepherd the flock of God that is among you.” In Matthew 10, Jesus responds to the need for shepherds by calling the apostles. The apostles would later pass on to chosen elders the authority to lead in the church. To this day, Christ as the head of the church (Colossians 1) guides and cares for his church through his Word and Spirit by the ministry of the church. While all Christians are called to glorify God in the church and the world, Christ has commanded that qualified men (I Timothy 3; Titus 1) act in accordance with his Word and Spirit to lead his people. We want to be a church that honors the plan of Christ that elders care for and serve his people by shepherding them.