I enjoy Mark Driscoll's teaching and appreciate his ministry at Mars Hill Church in Seattle and Acts 29 Network. Here's a part of a message he recently delivered at a Desiring God Conference in Minnesota.
Pray for the shepherds. Pray for them more than you criticize, e-mail, gossip, or blog about them. Pray that they would have a discerning mind to know who is a sheep.
Pray that they would have a thick skin. Pray that they would have a humorous outlook. That they would laugh at themselves, that they would have a tender heart toward Jesus and the sheep. That they wouldn’t be hammered, that they would keep a tender heart, that they would have a humble disposition, that when criticisms are true, they would repent. That they would look at a criticism for a kernel of truth to be sanctified by.
Pray that shepherds would have encouraging families, that their wife would endure all the criticism, backbiting, people who would use her to get influence, that she would remain close to Jesus and be a place of refreshment for her husband, that her job is to keep her husband from despair, by not always agreeing with him but agreeing that she will always be for him.
Pray for his children as people take shots at his family. That his children would not go astray because critics love that.
Pray that one of the elders in the church is a good sniper. That he could spot people who are trying to take down the pastor. If the pastor tries to do it, it’s a lose-lose situation. Some of you elders here need to get in the middle.
That the shepherds would have evangelistic devotion, that they would not just feed the sheep, but that they would love the lost. That they would not waste their time checking their ratings and overlook Paul’s admonition to do the work of an evangelist. That they wouldn’t be so buried in firefights that they can’t see more people become sheep.
Pray for the shepherds, that they would learn selective hearing, that they would listen to their elders, that they would invite into their lives good counsel. Not everything that is said is worth a hearing. Shepherds can become so hard-hearted that their ears are closed and they spend time justifying themselves when they shouldn’t. They need to know who to listen to, who to heed, and who to not to.
There is a short list of people that I will listen to: the elders, my wife, John Piper, C.J Mahaney, Gary Breshears. I’ll listen to them because they have love and hope for me. They will criticize me, but it’s so that I can be more like Jesus, and not so that they can glory in their victory.
Some of you who are critics and snipers will see someone who is not where they should be. A good shepherd comes to help them, and you shoot the shepherd who is trying to help them. Paul said there are not many people who are good shepherds like that.
Pray for the young shepherds, that older shepherds would not shoot them like wolves and wouldn’t criticize them like dogs, but would encourage them like dads.
You can find the entire message HERE