"Shepherds after My Own Heart" by Timothy S. Laniak. A Brief Review

Shepherds After My Own Heart: Pastoral Traditions and Leadership in the BibleShepherds After My Own Heart: Pastoral Traditions and Leadership in the Bible by Timothy S. Laniak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a focused look into the practice of "shepherding" drawn from ancient information and Scripture. Laniak spends most of his time interacting with Moses (the Pentateuch) and David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, the four Gospel accounts, 1 Peter and Revelation. The author's approach was helpful in gaining a healthy perspective on how YHWH shepherds his people (and what it means), how our Lord Jesus addressed it, and then it's applications to the ministerial shepherds of God's people today (in contrast with bad shepherds who fleece and fracture God's people).

This book is both a corrective and a directive. It's corrective nature is seen in how the author faces the misuse of ministerial-shepherds: "Abusing others was an expression of the arrogant assumption that power is primarily privilege rather than responsibility" (149). It is directive in reminding us that shepherding is derived from God's shepherding his people. This is not our role that we can do with as we like, but a contingent role in caring for God's flock, for "human leadership is derivative of divine leadership and dependent on God's own Spirit for its effectiveness...Biblically speaking, a human leader is none other than God leading his own people through an anointed servant" (92). This final statement may raise a few eyebrows because of how the concept gets mishandled and mangled. But in the context of the book, it has everything to do with becoming a shepherd after God's own heart who will care for God's sheep, feeding them with knowledge and understanding - not fleecing or fracturing them (Jeremiah 3:15).

"Shepherds After My Own Heart" is a good study of Scripture on a pinpointed subject. Fellow ministers, this is worth your money and time to delve into. But also, if you and your congregation are between pastors and searching, this would be a good resource to discuss as you look, pray and listen. And if you found yourself in a situation where the leadership was abusive, maybe even downright narcissistic, and you're hurting, I think you will be aided by this volume. That abuse was not a display of God's heart. There are others out there who will deeply care for you, and spending time in this book will give you a criteria for discerning who they are. I highly recommend the book.


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