Timothy Witmer sets high standards for biblical leaders in his book, The Shepherd Leader. Witmer’s work is a clarion call to all elders who strive to shepherd to flock of God to the glory of God. Indeed, it is a breath of fresh air in culture that tends to ignore biblical qualifications for elders, not to mention biblical responsibilities for elders.
Alexander Strauch laid the theological framework in his excellent book, Biblical Eldership. Witmer enhances that framework and provides a wide array of practical suggestions for elders who seek to shepherd the people of God.
Part one begins by setting up the biblical and historical foundations. Witmer walks the reader through the Old Testament and builds a strong case for biblical leadership. He argues with Ezekiel that some shepherds are not doing their job. He stresses the plurality and parity of church leadership.
Part two provides a very helpful look at the job description of a biblical shepherd leader. Shepherds know the sheep, feed the sheep, lead the sheep, and protect the sheep. This comprehensive framework is the most helpful section in the book. It will certainly encourages elders who have chosen to adhere to the Scriptural mandate. And it serves as a “spur” for those who have grown complacent in their responsibility to shepherd the flock.
Part three offers practical suggestions for putting the proposed principles to work. The author makes several shepherding tools available at http://www.theshepherdleader.com which include help with delegation, overview sheets, and a monthly shepherding team report.
The Shepherd Leader is bound to become the new gold standard in the field. It should not be seen as a replacement of Strauch’s Biblical Eldership. Rather it is a valuable companion that will serve and strengthen the church for years to come.