We live in a consumer culture. We have been conditioned to think of the exchange of goods or services or ideas as transactions. We decide which transactions are worth engaging based on what we think we’ll get out of the deal. We don’t like trading at a loss – getting less than we give.

Shepherding is not meant to be a transactional activity, simply the dispensing of information. Yes, we will give and receive. We will exchange information and perspectives and experiences. Oftentimes, however, we will give much, much more than we receive.

Ultimately, the goal of biblical shepherding is transformational. We are co-laborers with the Great Shepherd who is at work conforming his flock to his image. We may or may not be privileged to see the evidence, but we dare not decide whether or not to continue offering input based on that. Our goal is not for them to be more productive, but more Christ-like.

Transformation may require transaction, but transaction alone will not guarantee transformation.