The Mandate of Shepherding: A Socio-Rhetorical Analysis of Shepherding Metaphor Scriptures and Phenomenological Study of a New Shepherding Pastoral Leadership Model
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Dr. Joshua Henson
Dr. Bethany Peters
Dr. Charles E. Cole
Pastors are increasingly taking on a CEO style of leadership to lead their churches (Goodmanson, 2005; Maddox, 2012; Whitaker, 2013). Pastors have made this shift at the expense of a shepherd mindset, seemingly creating a dichotomy between styles (Tara, 2020; Whitaker, 2013). Consequently, scholars have identified an increasing trend in pastoral burnout (Fee, 2018; Hessel, 2015; Samushonga, 2021). The current study evaluated the pastoral role and its responsibility from a place of Scripture, while also considering popular current leadership trends. The findings revealed a clear shepherd metaphor arc throughout Scripture, beginning in Psalm 23 and ending in 1 Peter 5. The pinnacle of these passages is the Good Shepherd passage of John 10, where Jesus provided a contrast in leadership styles (Carson, 2015; Keener, 1993; Laniak, 2006; Whitacre, 1999). By using John 10 as a focus of the socio-rhetorical method made popular by Robbins (1996a, 1996b) and Henson et al. (2020), 10 critical characteristics of shepherding useful to the church today were identified: spiritual feeding, protection, care, inspection, familiarity, selflessness, willingness, modeling, stewardship, and leadership. Moreover, nine senior pastors were interviewed as part of a phenomenological study to compare their experiences with these 10 themes. The findings of this study provided a clear shepherding model, its foundation within Scripture, its ramifications and implementation within real-world experiences, and provided a firm argument that leadership should be secondary to the role of shepherding for the pastor. A thorough discussion of this new shepherd construct is provided as well as practical implications.
Pickwell, J. L. (2022). The Mandate of Shepherding: A Socio-Rhetorical Analysis of Shepherding Metaphor Scriptures and Phenomenological Study of a New Shepherding Pastoral Leadership Model. [Doctoral dissertation, Southeastern University]. FireScholars. https://firescholars.seu.edu/org-lead/10