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Feb 27, 2022

Shepherding: Giving Yourself for Others

Passage: 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12

Preacher: Andrew Repsold

Series: 1 Thessalonians

Keywords: church leadership, shepherding, spiritual parenting, spiritual family dynamics


What do you look for in a spiritual leader? What makes for a truly good church family leader? This message looks at what Paul modeled in spiritual parenting and what we should both avoid and embrace.


Shepherding:  Giving Yourself to Others


1 Thessalonians 2:7-12


Jump off of using Jesse’s final story of the two Indonesian pastors…

(one had good qualities and one had bad qualities)

Today’s text is a continuation of that content.

Today’s text and today’s sermon is a great one if we ever find ourselves in a situation where we are looking to hire a pastor. It identifies good and bad qualities of a spiritual shepherd.

So many people and church hiring committees look for the wrong things in a pastor.


-do they have a history of growing a church well?

-do they have a high energy personality?

-can they motivate people around them to get excited about their vision and build momentum in a direction?

-are they hip? (look at how tight his jeans are….how cool his shoes are etc.)

-How many books has he written

instead of things like….

-(if he is married) does his wife feel loved by him?

-Does he know how to study the Bible well and is he faithful to teach the word of God and the truths in it?

So today we are going to make a list of qualities of a good spiritual leader by reading through this text (v. 1-12)

For you yourselves know, brothers,[a] that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. 

  1. Good: Boldness to declare the gospel of God (amid conflict/persecution.) (2:2)

For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 

  1. 2. Bad: Incorrect/false teaching, being sexually motivated, trying to deceive. (2:3)

but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.

  1. Good: Seeking to please God, not men. (2:4)

 For we never came with words of flattery,[b] as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. 

  1. Bad: Using flattery and pursuing money. (2:5)

(ever felt guilted into participating in a group when you actually don’t want to be a part of it.)  Did someone use flattery to get you to be a part of it…”oh you are so gifted in this area…etc.)

-pursuing money: this paints a bad light for the health, wealth and prosperity gospel pastors.

Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.

  1. Bad: Relating through position/authority instead of tender relationship. (2:6)

-we have all experienced bosses and teachers and whoever else in some measure of authority who appeal to their authority to get us to do something instead of relationship. that kind of relating squishes real relationship…emotional connection.

one last observation: All of this is EMBODIED by Paul’s living. 6 times so far, he has said things like “you know” or “you remember” or “you are witness”.

He is not saying: remember how I told you about… how I taught you in a Sunday school class once about the concept of sacrificial leadership. No…you SAW this in us.

And we have the great benefit here at Mosaic of being able to have the same experience that the Thessalonians had with Paul, with Dad! We have seen him clean up human poop in front of Mosaic. I have seen him and mom walk by Faith (by God’s leading) into this ministry/church down here. I saw him as a kid leave many times to visit people in the hospital who were sick and dying. I have seen him plead with people to leave their sin. for 20 years, I have heard him beg God to revive the people of Spokane…to awaken their souls. I’ve seen him and mom give away tons of money and house missionaries and refugees. They spent 20 grand to adopt Mikias and Yohannes. etc.

now we get to my assigned text today

 But we were gentle[c] (child like) among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

-AFFECTIONATE SELF-SACRIFICE!!  Delightful outpouring of yourself. (is there a better example of this in the world than a mother of young children.

What is the best example Paul can give of self-sacrificial giving of one’s self that everyone on the planet will know about.

Answer: a mother. Specifically, a new mother or a mother of young children.

What are they giving…their very lives! Every hour of every day! There is not an hour that they are not thinking of or aware of their children. Their sleep is not their own…their bathroom time is not their own.

complementary text, Philippians 2:14-18

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

Household Follow-Up Questions for Devotional Discussions

  1. Good: Boldness to declare the gospel of God amid conflict/persecution. (2:2)
  2. Bad: Incorrect/false teaching, being sexually motivated, trying to deceive. (2:3)
  3. Good: Seeking to please God, not men. (2:4)
  4. Bad: Using flattery and pursuing money. (2:5)
  5. Bad: Relating through position/authority instead of tender relationship. (2:6)
  6. 6. Good: Delightfully pouring their life out for others. (2:7-8)
  7. Good: Encouraging and exhorting those around them to walk in a manner worthy of God. (2:12)

Application/Discussion Questions:

  • Which of the positive characteristics above are strong in your life and which of the negative ones do you most struggle with?
  • Do you feel a bonded affection with other people at Mosaic? Who? How did you get to a point of feeling that way towards them? How could you grow in relating with other people more deeply?
  • Did you experience affectionate love from your mother or encouraging exhortation from your father as you grew up? Do you long for one of those more than another because of your childhood and does either of them make you feel uncomfortable?
  • For children: What makes you feel most loved and cared for by us (your parents)…hugs, wrestling together, one-on-one time, hearing us say, “I love you.” Does it makes sense to you that correction and instruction from us is loving?

Paul, defending/explaining his motives and posture with the Thessalonians


We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. Instead, we were like young children[a] among you.

Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.


  • The posture of Biblical Leadership: serving…leading by lifting others up. Sharing your life with others.
  • Familial bonds among the people of God
  • Motherhood/Fatherhood

Obstacles to these things:

  • Bad examples/experiences of biological families…why desire familial bonds among the people of God if familial bonds are only bad. or, HOW does one experience healthy bonding if you have NEVER experienced healthy relationships?
  • Bad understanding of leadership and authority (not looking at Christ, but looking at CEO’s and executives of large businesses) …when looking for a church body to be a part of, you should ask this question from this passage: are the pastors giving their very lives to the betterment of the people of God…not “are they running this business effectively?”


  • Do I feel motherly, tender affection for any of you?? (a sign of this: do I feel sadness in my heart when I see someone walking in sin?)
  • Do I have a father-like desire to encourage you to live in such a way that you leave a glorious legacy? (a sign of this: do I encourage you to live better than you are?)

And one of the ways of God that leads deeper into this kind of joy is the pathway of self-giving. I’m not talking about giving your money, though the happiest and healthiest saints are always the most generous. I’m talking about giving your self, or giving your soul. That’s what this message is about. That’s what this text (1 Thessalonians 2:1–12) is about. And I hope that God will so work in you all that you will say, that’s what life is about.

Don’t you ever think, John Piper, that you can live a hidden, isolated, unaccountable, unknown life. That you can share your message and not yourself. Be authentic. Be real. Be what you are. Hide nothing. No posing. No posturing. No affectation or pretense.