“You need to go out and sniff the sheep“! This was a phrase I’ve seen in a job advert for a vicar, it made me snigger as I don’t consider myself a sheep sniffer!
But did think about the image…
Where do we define what God is doing in his world, not from a safe distance in our comfortable churches, but in the midst of the vcommunity and listening to see where God is at work.
It reminded me too thst mission us actually about people more than strategy, and often the key component (which is so often missing) is relationships, we are in danger of knowing about our communities rather than knowing the people within the communities.
Smelling the sheep is a smelly and unpleasent job, something we’d rather not do, but when we do mission we encounter the poo and messy of broken and hurting lives.
Too often we try and only reach out to nice people without lots of smelly brokenness, not realising that everyone is probably more smelly and more broken than we realise, in fact we might pong a bit ourselves too!
When we do Street Pastors I often talk about double listening, listening to the voice of Gods spirit and the voice of the culture around us…
I heard a tragic story of JJohns evangelistic event in a Cathedral, it was packed, and he asked who here attends Church regularly and almost every hand went up. We often do missional events to Christians to make us all feel better about ourselves, rather than trying to be Missional in amongst the stench of the farmyard, surrounded by the sheep.
I was thinking about being a Vicar as a shepherd (after all Bishops have crooks the imagery is there in scripture) and Jesus talks about a hood shepherd laying down their life for the sheep…
-Sometimes we are scared of the ‘sheep bite’ from within the sheepfold, that keep us from fulfilling our calling to help in the rescue mission we are called too undertake.
Let us learn as Christians, to follow the footsteps and be like our Good Shepherd.