The Shepherd Leader at Home: Knowing, Leading, Protecting, and Providing for Your Family
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Number of Pages: 176
Publication Date: 2012
|Dimensions: 7.75 X 5.25 (inches)|
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Introducing four categories of shepherding (knowing, feeding, leading, and protecting), Witmer offers biblical counsel and practical direction to help men lead their families well.
Timothy Z. Witmer (DMin, Reformed Theological Seminary) is professor of practical theology and coordinator of the practical theology department at Westminster Theological Seminary. He has served as senior minister of Crossroads Community Church since 1986 and is the author of The Shepherd Leader: Achieving Effective Shepherding in Your Church.
Bentley CrawfordAge: 25-34Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5A Call for Men to Shepherd-LeadershipApril 26, 2013Bentley CrawfordAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4In his recent book "The Shepherd Leader at Home: Knowing, Leading, Protecting, and Providing for Your Family" Timothy Witmer gives us a practical vision for what it looks like for a man to care for his family under God through the lens of the shepherd-leader.
An examination of an actual shepherd shows that they know their sheep, they lead them, they protect them and they provide for them. Witmer divides his book into those very sections: Knowing, Leading, Protecting and Providing for our families. Under each of those sections he first walks through it's principle and practice in marriage and then moves to parenting.
As a young man, husband and father of two I found this book incredibly helpful. Over time I've picked up things here and there from different friends, pastors, and teachers on how to be a husband and father, but there have inevitably been certain practices and principles I've missed. Maybe I knew the principle, but hadn't thought through it's practical outworking, or conversely maybe I been taught a practice but not connected it to it's principle. This book helped me here even though I'm surrounded by what I consider to be some of the best guides to godly parenting. It was helpful, because all in one place, it laid out a vision for shepherd-leadership, gave me practical instructions on how to implement it, and showed numerous examples of those practices played out. It's always good to read multiple books on parenting, some that are heavy on theology and principle others that lean towards particular practices so each person will need to consider this in light of his own family and situation. I found this one to lean more towards the practical side of the spectrum and it was one that I needed.
It's time that we men learned what it means to be true men in relation to our wives and children. That we grow in our ability to identify our own sin, selfishness and laziness and lay our lives down for our wives and children. So often we men think we are "leading" but it's a leadership not characterized by service. Really we are just doing whatever we want and leaving it up to our wives to handle the rest. Or, we "lead" by driving our families like a dog-sled. Bearing down on them, pointing out their problems, and enforcing strict codes of conduct all the while never getting at the heart, never truly knowing, and never affectionately communication our desire to provide and protect.
The call to servant-leadership is a tall one. And the author sounds it for us and seeks to guide us in it. This call may cost us our hobbies, our free time, our self-indulgences, nights of sleep or moments of relaxation. But it is worth it.
When we stand on the brink of eternity, looking back over our lives, what will matter most? Those "things" we spent all our time and money on? The job we were consumed with? The moments of pleasure we risked it all for? Or, a family that has flourished because of our leadership? A family that still loves us during our dying moments and gathers to see us off? A wife who was tenderly loved and lovingly led? Grown children who knew their father loved them and set an example for them in word and deed that will impact generations to come? Children who heard the gospel preached and saw it lived out towards them?
I'll take the latter.
In Christ, God has made us for this. He has given us fresh hope and new life in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. He is gradually conforming us into the image of His Son who is the Shepherd-Leader. The One who perfectly knows, leads, protects and provides for His sheep. And God graciously has given us the power by His Holy Spirit to walk in that same way.
May God freshly work in us to make us men who are willing to lay down our lives for our wives and children. To serve in the big things... and in the small things. Men who realize what matters most in life. Men who take the time to know our families, men who take care to nourishingly lead our families. Men who fiercely (and warmly) protect our families. And men who gladly provide for our families.
And may God be pleased to use this little book to help some of us to do just that.
I commend it to you.
Grace for SinnersSimpsonville, SCAge: 25-34Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5Men...check it outOctober 13, 2012Grace for SinnersSimpsonville, SCAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4Witmer admonishes men to shepherd their families. We need more of this. We need encouragement to faithfully serve our families in a way that honors God and properly portrays the truths Paul teaches in Ephesians 6.
The organization is straightforward and the content is approachable. The book includes a study guide with questions at the end of each chapter. These questions are meant to skilfully penetrate our own family leadership and make application of the truths exposed in each chapter. The four sections focus on knowing, leading, providing, & protecting our families. Witmer sets the stage by saying,
After all, marriage and the family were God's idea. Marriage did not originate in the primal horde or primitive society dominated by the violent primal father, as Freud suggested. Neither was it, as some anthropologists assert, a desperate human invention by "noble savages" designed to bring some order to an otherwise chaotic loose association of males and females. No, marriage was designed by God to bring blessing and order to his creation. Together with the creation ordinances of work and Sabbath rest, marriage would provide rhythm to life. Therefore, we must affirm that he ordained foundational principles not only for the natural order but also for the moral order of his creation (p. 19)
He strongly encourages men to know their family in and out by spending quality and quantity time. You can't shepherd and lead without a deep knowledge that comes from life experience. This may be one the greatest failures of the men in our generation and it's not just business men or dead beat dads; it's also men who are in ministry and men in our churches. We must prioritize our families so we can serve them like Christ served his Church. Also, one thing I constantly harp on is establishing a relationship with our kids that allows you to lovingly discipline them and speak the gospel into their lives. Witmer echos this sentiment, "Discipline at every level is more effective when it is built on the foundation of a personal, loving relationship" (p. 143).
The Shepherd Leader at Home would be a great book for a men's study. He's pinpointed the main problem
Leadership is a responsibility, and sinful selfishness resists responsibility and accountability. . . . Ã¢â¬Ëthe pathetic abdication of sinful males who will not take upon ourselves our God-given responsibility to exercise headship in our marriages and in our our home'" (p. 85).
If you are unsure of how to shepherd your family like I often am Witmer's sage advice will serve you well. He will come alongside of you and encourage you to fulfill your role as the shepherd leader. He will apply the "foundational principles" from God.