Thursday, November 12, 2015

No Sheep Left Behind

In the US Marie Corps they have a motto.  No Man Left Behind. If a man is wounded in battle,  the other men in his platoon will make sure to get him out. Saving the life of another is honorable,  but for the Marines,  it’s part of their nature,  it’s who they are. It’s mine that maybe the church learn from this lesson.

As a leader,  my job is to lead others. Church leaders somehow have forgotten that,  we are made the goal to grow, to build and to progress. We have bigger stuff, better ministries and a longer reach. Those things are great,  but they are not the goal. The goal isn’t to have 50% or 75% of the sheep make it into the sheep fold.  The goal is to get all 100 sheep.

In Luke 15, Jesus tells the parable of the lost sheep.  A shepherd had 100 sheep,  and all but one made it to the pen. Instead of saying “I got 99% of the sheep”,  he goes out to find the one that is missing.  He searches all night to find the lost sheep,  and when he does,  he rejoices. He rejoices over the 1% who is problematic and wanders off. He rejoices over the 1% who didn’t listen,  was stubborn and didn’t stay with the rest of the flock. He rejoiced over the problem sheep.

Do we rejoice over the church member who complains and gripes?  Do we celebrate the youth who disrupts every activity and lesson? Do we go and search for the church member who never agreed with the direction and stops coming? It sure is a blessing that God doesn’t deal with us like we deal with people in our church. Imagine if God lost His patience with you when you argued,  fussed,  whined or complained.

Are we willing to slow down our plans and our vision to make sure everyone gets to come along? Are we going to slow down the time line, stop to go look for the one and go off to bring that one along? Will we refuse to leave no sheep behind?

May we all follow the example of the Good Shepherd and go after the lost sheep.


  1. Great points. I think we need to slow own and consider those who don't fit the mold or seem to be outsiders. Jesus reached out to the unpopular people and even included a reviled tax collector on his leadership team. Thanks for the great reminder of what church should be like.

  2. This is a deep and challenging word to me in youth ministry. I have some who attend regularly and many who come often, but have unchurched families, so they do what they can.

    There are the others who, for one reason or another, have stopped attending. I've texted or called or posted on FB to ask them back. Sometimes I get a reply, sometimes I get nothing.

    It is tempting, and I tell myself "with good reason," to leave them behind and focus on those present; after all, they know where we are and how to contact me. But, I can't abandon them if I am to truly be the Shepherd if this young flock.

    Thanks for the reminder :-)