15 Guidelines for Novice Shepherds
How to Employ Paul-Timothy Studies
Meet regularly with a coach.
Meet regularly with other leaders also.
Coach other newer leaders.
Select study units and activities that fit
your congregation's needs.
Prepare well before teaching or leading
your flock in any activity.
Work together with others to lead the
Carry out the three actions of each New
Include the children in worship activities.
Form tiny groups to pray for and to advise
Teach God's Word and worship in a way
that fits small groups.
Celebrate the Lord's Supper regularly.
Let your flock members report what God is
doing, during worship.
Plan activities to do during the week,
Provide women and children opportunities
When you have finished the Shepherds'
studies, read the Supplementary studies.
“How shall I make use of these studies?”
Please, take a moment now to pray for the Holy Spirit to
Meet regularly with a coach, a leader who is more
experienced than you.
· A coach trains new leaders the same way Jesus and the
apostles did it, not in a classroom but while working and traveling.
· Watch what your coach does as he deals with people. He
watches what you do.
· Let your coach help you plan your next few weeks' work
and to select studies that fit the needs of the believers and that will
help you extend the Lord's work to new areas.
· Report to him what you and the people in your
congregation are doing. Report your failures and problems honestly. If
you are ashamed to tell your failures and hide the truth, he cannot
· Select studies that will help the believers to begin
practicing ministries that are still lacking in your congregation.
· At first, you might meet with your coach once or twice a
week. Later you would meet only once or twice a month. After that, you
would meet once every three or four months, as long as you need help.
· We must correct one another (Col. 3:16) and confess our
faults one to another (James 5:16). This means that we accept the
advice of other leaders and listen to their truthful criticisms. We all
need this kind of supervision, in which leaders make sure that each
other’s ministry is biblical. This supervision helps us to grow in our
leadership skills, and to avoid exercising selfish or painful control
over the people.
· A leader is dangerously foolish if he tries to do God's
work without anyone examining what he does and advising him. This
causes serious damage in many churches.
Meet regularly with other leaders also.
· Meet with other leaders in your area. All leaders should
report what their people have been doing. Let them examine your
ministry. You examine theirs.
· Leaders should evaluate each other's work and spiritual
growth. They help each other to improve. The New Testament commands us
to help one another this way—to correct one another, forgive one
another, confess our faults to one another, bear one another's burdens
and many more such “one another” commands.
· Be honest with each other. If someone has a fault,
correct him in love. Let others correct you. The Holy Spirit helps us
to grow this way.
Coach other newer leaders.
· As soon as possible you must begin coaching other newer
shepherds. Some of these workers will assist you in shepherding your
congregation, as fellow shepherds, worship leaders and deacons. Others
will start or serve with new congregations.
· Talk with them about what they have been doing, and their
· Help them select studies that meet their people's current
· Do this for as long as they need help. The New Testament
requires that you coach other shepherds, in 2 Timothy 2:2. You
might also need to name new shepherds, as Paul instructed Titus to do.
· New shepherds should have the type of character described
in Titus 1:5-9. They should be proven first. One way to prove them—to
make sure they can shepherd others—is to ask them to start shepherding
their own family. If they do so, they will probably serve well as
shepherds of a congregation.
· Name new shepherds and coach them, when you are sure they
can do the job. 1 Timothy 3:1-7 says not to name recent
converts as overseers. Paul does not give a definite time to wait. This
is because some believers are more mature in the faith in three weeks
than others are in thirty years. Paul himself named new leaders within
what appears to be only a few weeks in Galatia, for new churches (Acts
14). We wait longer in a mature church like in Antioch where they
waited a year to lay hands on Paul and Barnabas to commission them as
'sent ones' (Acts 11:25-26; 13:1-3).
Select study units and activities that fit your
congregation's current interests and needs.
Ask your trainer or coordinator for the Paul-Timothy
User’s Menu, or download it from www.Paul-Timothy.net.
Click ‘Download Menu’. Select the format of your choice beside ‘A
printable version of Users’ Menu’ (read the instructions at the
· Prayerfully select studies from the User’s Menu that meet
your people's current need and opportunity for serving others. Do not
simply start with the first study and go through the list in order.
· Ask the Lord to show you which studies your people need
from week to week. New congregations, like newborn babies, have urgent
needs that you must meet. No two congregations follow the same path to
“We trainers first listen carefully to those whom we
Wise shepherds listen carefully to the voice of the sheep
in their flock — with 'ears to hear'.
· To discern these needs and opportunities, listen
carefully to your people.
· Each Ministry area has several sets of studies. For
example, the ministry WORSHIP includes sets on Communion, on
celebrating Jesus’ resurrection, and on other aspects of worship.
· Each set has a study on the same topic for Shepherds
and another for Children. This enables children to prepare
ahead of time a Bible story related to the topic that the adults will
learn. The children can act out the Bible story for the adults during
· Shepherd’s studies have the word ‘Shepherd’ in their top
· Children’s studies have the word ‘Children’ in their top
· Some sets have supplemental studies with
additional information on the topic.
· Each New Shepherd’s study has several activities. You do
not need to do all of them
Prepare well before teaching or leading your flock in any
· Discipline yourself and your people to prepare well,
starting more than a week ahead of time.
· Ask the worship leader to arrange with the children's
teacher for the children to present what they prepare for the worship
time. Also, ask the worship leader to select songs and worship
activities that go together with the week's topic.
· Is your flock small? Satan tempts shepherds to neglect
preparation for worship, especially for small congregations. It is just
as important to prepare well ahead of time for small congregations than
for big ones, for four reasons:
The strength of small congregations is that everyone
participates in different ways during worship, as the New Testament
requires. More people come to Christ and serve Him in small
congregations around the world than in big ones. If we do not prepare helpers
ahead of time, we lose this participation. The leader will do all the
important things himself--a sin that grieves the Holy Spirit. This
cripples the flock that God has given us to shepherd.
People in small congregations have the same needs as
people in large ones, which require prayerful preparation.
Large congregations often have experienced, well educated
pastors who work full time. They have the ability and the time to make
many preparations the day before the worship time. However, small
congregations multiply much more rapidly and therefore often have
volunteer shepherds who are less experienced and less educated. If they
wait until the day before the worship time to prepare, their
preparations will be poor, robbing God's flock of His blessings.
The Holy Spirit works powerfully during the times of
prayerful planning and preparation with helpers—not just during the
worship time. God uses this preparation by several coworkers to prepare
new leaders the way Jesus and Paul did.
Work together with others to lead the flock.
· Wise leaders do not work alone. Jesus and the apostles
did not work alone. Prepare other workers to lead worship and help you
shepherd your flock. Some will be deacons who serve people with special
needs during the week.
· If you prepare someone to lead worship, let them read P-T
study number 8, Guidelines for Worship Leaders and their helpers.
· Provide a copy of the children’s study each weak, for
Carry out the three actions of each New Shepherd's study.
· The three actions are:
1. Prepare our heart and mind with god’s word
2. Plan with your coworkers what your people will do next
3. Plan with coworkers the upcoming worship time
· Part 1—Prepare your Heart and Mind with God’s Word.
Begin each P-T study a week or two before you share it in
a worship service. It takes time to digest its meaning, pray about it
and think how to help your people to apply it to their lives and do the
related activities during the week that follows.
· Part 2—Plan With Your Coworkers What Your People Will Do
Meet with your helpers several days before the worship
service, to plan what your people should do during the week that
follows the worship service. Each study has suggestions for things they
might do. If you have in mind what God wants your people to do, then it
is much easier to prepare meaningful worship and teaching.
· Part 3—Plan with Coworkers the Upcoming Worship Time.
Your coworkers should help you to plan worship and to
teach. Plan the worship several days ahead of time, so that each
participant can pray and prepare well. Allow time to rehearse with
those who are to say poems or do dramatic works. If that is not
possible, then those who help lead worship should meet at least an hour
before worship starts, to pray and plan. Plan to help all the believers
to participate freely, so that a few do not dominate the meeting.
Include the children in worship activities.
· Arrange with the Children’s teacher, for the children to
participate in the worship. The Children’s studies provide Bible
stories to dramatize and other things for the children to do during
worship. Let adults and children work together as much as possible.
· Ask neighbor children and their parents who are not yet
believers, or who do not attend worship, to help with the skits. Do not
give them an important part—they might not arrive. Such participants
often come to Christ.
Form tiny groups to pray for and to advise one
· Some of the things that God requires us to do when we
meet can be done only in groups small enough to listen to each person.
· God requires us to serve one another in several ways:
Instruct one another: Romans 5:14
Encourage one another: Colossians 3:16; Heb. 10:25
Exhort one another: Hebrews 3:13
Spur one another to love and good deeds: Hebrews 10:24
Edify (strengthen, build up) one another:
1 Thessalonians 4:18 & 5:1, 11
Confess our faults one to another: James 5:16
Pray for one another: James 5:16.
How powerfully God’s Holy Spirit works when we help
each other in tiny groups during worship!
10. Teach God's Word and worship in a way that fits small
· The apostle Paul urged all to take part during worship in
some way in 1 Corinthians 14:26, “When you come together,
everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue
or an interpretation.”
· Wise shepherds do not use traditional pulpit preaching
for small congregations. Rather, they teach in ways that allow the
people to ask and answer questions, and discuss how to apply the truths
from God's Word that they are learning.
· P-T studies offer discussion questions, poems, stories
and role-plays to make teaching more powerful. Stories are easy to
remember and enable your people to pass on God's Word to others.
· Place chairs for worship in a circle, so that people see
each other's faces, and can talk easily one with another.
· Do not try to use all the options that you find listed in
a P-T study. Select those that fit your people's interests and culture.
11. Celebrate the Lord's Supper regularly.
· Each New Shepherd’s study offers a different Bible
reading to introduce the Lord's Supper.
· Some churches use only the passage in 1 Corinthians
11 to introduce it. This passage should be used occasionally
because it has important guidelines for Communion. However, to use it
every time robs your people of valuable and inspiring instruction in
God's Word about Jesus' sacrifice.
12. Let your flock members report what God is doing, during
· Has God healed someone? Have believers gained victory
over bad habits? Have people come to Christ? Have new congregations
been started? Have new ministries begun? Let the people report what God
is doing, and praise him for it.
· To recognize what people are doing encourages them to
continue serving. It also encourages others to pray and to do more.
13. Plan activities to do during the week, during worship.
· Announce during the worship the plans that you have made
with your coworkers for activities that your people will do.
· Let the people give their ideas, about how to serve
Christ during the next week.
· Help those who want to serve, to do things for which God
has given them spiritual gifts, such things as:
- The gift of evangelism—tell others about Jesus,
- The gift of helps—serve others who need assistance,
- The pastoral gift—help your family to apply God's Word,
Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4,
- The gift of wisdom—bring God's influence into the
community, Matthew 5:13-14,
- The gift of compassion—serve the needy, Matthew 25:31-46,
- The gift of encouragement—assure and comfort others,
1 Thessalonians 5:11,
- The gift of healing—pray for the sick and demonized,
- The gift of leadership—cooperate with sister churches,
- The gift of giving—provide resources for needed projects,
1 Corinthians 8:1-4.
14. Provide women and children opportunities to serve.
Women should use the spiritual gifts that God has given
them. In some cultures, men will not allow women to teach or coach
them. Other cultures permit godly women to teach men, as Priscilla
taught Apollos (Acts 18:26). In all cultures, women should coach
younger women (Titus 2:3-5).
Encourage older children to disciple younger children.
This helps both to grow.
Women who meet to serve during the week, or deaconesses,
should read Paul-Timothy study 7, Helping a Congregation's Body
15. When you have finished the Shepherds' studies, read the
The New Shepherds studies are short and simple,
but they lay solid foundations for more advanced work. If you bypass
them, you may have blind spots later that seriously weaken your
If you want to study a topic in more detail than what the
New Shepherd's study offers, you may read the supplementary studies
that correspond to some topics.