Aiden, my middle son, is a runner. When he gets hurt he bolts and Aiden is fast. It is common to hear the front door slamming and see Aiden running down the sidewalk because one of his brothers hurt him. I put on my shoes and head off to find him. Why? He is my son, part of our family. I want him home; he needs to be home.
The members of your church will get hurt from time to time. Painful events can cause them to scatter. Part of your responsibility as a spiritual leader is to get your shoes on, find those wounded and hurt sheep, and draw them back to the safety of home. Wounded sheep are more susceptible to attack, further injury, and more quickly stolen.
Make review part of your ministry flow. Who haven’t you seen in a while? Who do you need to track down and call? Who is starting to pull back and needs your calm assurance? This is not about finding the lost- this is about gathering the scattered. And don’t take it so personally. Sheep scatter; that is what we do! If you have found your self personally away from the flock, then it is time to come home. You aren’t safe, come back.
“‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep.” (Ezekiel 34:11-12)