Shepherding FAQ's

After our initial Shepherding training class we compiled a list of questions taken from the survey provided to the participants.  It is our desire to answer these questions and others as we go through this process to become shepherds and tend to the flock. If you have additional questions that are not answered below, please contact us. Thank you

What does shepherding look like?

Shepherding is the ministry of connecting and caring for the members of Grace through contact that is intentional, personal, regular and proactive for members.

Am I qualified to be a Shepherd, if not, how can I become qualified?

The qualifications to be a shepherd as determined by the elders is as follows

  • Active member in good standing of Grace Mills River
  • Has a heart for shepherding and the gospel and able to communicate it.
  • Has been recommended by someone and interviewed by an elder to be a shepherd.
  • Has attended initial Shepherding Training sessions.
  • Completed at least one of the following gospel centered discipleship classes (with a mentor).
    • A. Sonship            
    • B. Galatians
    • C. Gospel Centered Life
    • D. Gospel Transformation or Gospel Identity (parts 1,2 & 3)
  • Has taken Foundations for Servant Leadership

Membership opportunities as well as the various classes and training opportunities mentioned will be or are currently being offered. Please contact us if you have any questions.

What does the shepherding model look like?

The membership will be divided into parishes.  Each parish will have one or more elders assigned to it.  Each elder will have a team of one deacon and one women’s leadership member (undershepherds), so we can divide the parishes into manageable units. Until we have more elders we will have either an elder or an undershepherd calling on the members.  The undershepherds will report to the parish elder. 

What is the difference between a Shepherd and an Undershepherd?

Shepherds are elders. Undershepherds are those who meet stated qualifications but do not serve as elders.

Are there enough shepherds?

At present we are blessed to have enough qualified shepherds including elders, deacons and women’s leadership members to begin.  We anticipate a need for more shepherds in the future.

Who will shepherd the shepherds?

The Session will be responsible for shepherding the shepherds. Additionally, we will have ongoing shepherding training classes and meetings of shepherds to discuss our experiences.

What is the difference between shepherding, small groups, mentoring and discipleship?

Shepherds and undershepherds are committed to caring, connecting and praying for the members of the body.  A shepherd does not offer counseling, discipleship, mentoring, advising and/or community but instead is a means of connecting each member to those ministries, which are already available in our church. Shepherds will be helping each sheep to get the care of a mentor, small group or discipleship partner when needed.

How will information be communicated to the church?

Currently communication plans include announcements in the worship services,  mentioning when appropriate in sermons, regular bulletin updates and online.

Would shepherding work in a new church plant?

Absolutely!  It would be ideal for the new members, staff and leaders to start this process from the very beginning.  How great it would be to know, care for and pray for each other from the beginning!

How will confidentiality be maintained?

Great lengths will be taken to ensure all confidences are kept. Personal matters will only be disclosed with the permission of the member to the elder, unless legally required. The office of the elder and deacon requires discretion and confidentiality. Failure to do so is in violation of their oaths of office.