You know them—they slap your back and say an encouraging word…without really pausing to hear how you’re doing or if you actually need encouragement or maybe a listening ear.

That’s annoying, but the worst problem with a professional backslapper is not what they do, but what they miss—especially when they are a spiritual leader.

Almost any Christian with a heart for the Lord can lead in the sense of administrating or teaching; but it takes a shepherd to lead people at the personal level—to sense needs and care to direct hearts to the Lord.

The pastor who shepherds hearts is the one who prays, studies, preaches…and invites members to his home for Christian fellowship and growth.

The Sunday school teacher who makes the greatest impact is the one who thoroughly studies and prepares a substantial lesson…and asks class members to go soulwinning with him.

The Christian school teacher who changes lives is the one who plans class…and makes home visits and individually challenges her students.

The youth worker who facilitates growth in young hearts is the one who prepares an age-appropriate Bible study…and involves teens in ministry and mentors them in personal spiritual growth.

The parent, the friend, the discipler, the care group leader, the deacon, the usher—the Christian in any place of spiritual leadership—who is a spiritual leader will seek to involve people at a personal level—to shepherd hearts.

Are you a professional backslapper? Or are you a discipler?

Are you only a greeter? Or are you a growth facilitator?

Anyone can slap backs. It takes someone with a heart for people to get involved in lives and to shepherd hearts for God.

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