Shepherding At The Grass Root Level
Shepherding is nurturing people in their day to day life so that they will reflect the image of Jesus to everyone to whom they interact. It can be done at a grass roots level. It need not be a program. I have learned that first hand.
Back in 1988 I had the privilege to write a book "I Was A Strange And..." about Morgan and Joyce Ilgenfritz of York, Pennsylvania. They have opened their home to whomever the lord has brought their way. There have been over 350 people from all over the world over the last 35 years who have lived with them for a month or more. I wrote about the first 100 of them during the first 10 years. My wife and I, with the birth of our son were three of them!
Joyce has ministered to pregnant women, oriental girls, single girls, etc. helping them learn the ins and outs of keeping their house. Morgan has taught young boys how to become men, change the oil in their cars, take on responsibilities rather than running from them, etc. People who have never heard of Jesus before coming to the Lighthouse, as the Ilgenfritz's call it, leave with an intimate relationship with Jesus by the time they leave. Joyce and Morgan teach those under their roof how to live out their faith in a day to day existence.
Although very evangelistic at heart, they have allowed the Lord to bring the mission field to their own very house. Now they are driven to nurture young people in trusting Jesus as they grow into adulthood. They don't control people who come to their home, they just love on them. Their rule is that you have to be part of the family to live with them, and they enforce that rule. Since many who have lived there really do not have godly family; it is a breath of fresh air to have someone accept them in the Grace and Mercy that Jesus gives.
When I think of "shepherding" or having a "pastoral gifting", I think of Joyce and Morgan because they serve: the homeless, those needing fed, those needing clothes, those needing baby supplies, visiting people who have been in jail, and those who just needed a family to accept them. There is always someone in their home. Nurturing over 350 people! What a gift.