The Greek word "poimen" means pastor. In Paul's spiritual gifts listing in Ephesians 4:11, this term is translated "pastor." Although the word "poimen" is translated pastor only one time in Scripture it is used sixteen additional times. The remaining sixteen are all translated "shepherd." Therefore, we are actually discussing the GIFT of shepherding, not the POSITION of pastor. Though a good pastor must have the gift of shepherding, everyone who has the gift of shepherding is not called to be pastor. The gift can be used in many positions in a church.
As a gifted shepherd, you have the Spirit-given capacity and desire to serve God by overseeing, training, and caring for the needs of a group of Christians. You are usually very patient, people-centered, and willing to spend time in prayer for others. You tend to be a "Jack of All and Master of ONE," meaning you are usually dominant in one of the speaking gifts (evangelist, prophet, teacher, exhorter) as well. You are often authoritative, more a leader than a follower, and expressive, composed, and sensitive. Your pleasing personality draws people to you.
You have a burden to see others learn and grow and are protective of those under your care. You want to present the whole Word of God and do not like to present the same materials more than once. You are willing to study what is necessary to feed your group and are more relationship oriented than task oriented. You are a peace-maker and diplomat - very tolerant of people\'s weaknesses. You tend to remember people\'s names and faces. You are more concerned with doing for others than others doing for you. You are faithful and devoted and may become a workaholic. You can become an all-purpose person in order to meet needs.
People with the gift of shepherding make the best Sunday school teachers and group leaders because their desire is to go beyond just teaching or leading, to shepherd and minister to the daily needs of their students. The position of Sunday school teacher or group leader is an extension of the pastoral ministry in the church. These groups should be shepherded on a small scale the same as the pastor shepherds the whole congregation on a large scale.
Be careful to involve other people; don't try to do it all yourself. Work on making people accountable. Do not be overly protective of your "flock." Because of these potentially weak areas, other people may think it is your job to do all the work; they rely too heavily on you. You may be expected to be available at all times, know all the answers, and be at every function. Learn when to say no.
Beware of Satan's attack on your gift. He will cause discouragement when the load gets heavy, and pride because your "sheep" look up to you. You may develop family problems because of too little time and attention. You may become selfish when "sheep" feed in other pastures.
How can you use this gift?
This gift is a great help in many areas. You may serve as a Sunday school teacher, small group leader, pastor or assistant pastor, bus captain, special ministry leader (such as youth, children, men, etc.), nursery worker or as a half-way house or other type shelter volunteer. You may consider serving as a dormitory leader in a college, orphanage, children's home, etc. Scout troops would appreciate your assistance as a den leader.