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Feed My Sheep

My call to action for 2023

Feed my sheep…

The simple phrase has stuck with me since September. It was said by Grace Fox, the keynote speaker at a writer’s conference I attended. Since it was a Christian writer’s conference, the context was, rather than trying to ‘build a platform’, we should be trying to ‘feed His sheep’.

Near the end of each calendar year, I like to take time to reflect and think about what I want to focus on in the coming year. I set goals, make plans, and usually choose one word or phrase that resonates with me for the next year.

This year the phrase “Feed My Sheep” kept coming back to me. 

It’s a bit of a shift in thinking, but I feel led to embrace this phrase for 2023 in every area of my life, not just writing. In John 21: 17, “Jesus said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.'”

Jesus asked Peter this same question three times, presumably to reinforce the importance of the message. Likewise, I’m listening, Lord!

What “Feed My Sheep” means to me…

“Feed My Sheep” encompasses so much. It is a “shift” in thinking and purpose, especially when it comes to motivation. It speaks to me about my gifting when it comes to the five-fold ministry and the revelation that I am a pastor, not a teacher as I previously assumed. (For more on this ‘revelation’, read a previous post HERE.)

A pastor’s heart is for ministry, even when telling stories. In fact, “story” is a big part of being a pastor as one listens to what others have to say. It is about affecting someone’s life; meeting them where they are at; coming alongside without necessarily having all the answers.

As a writer, I am most concerned about this. I want my writing – both fiction and non-fiction – to affect people emotionally. To connect on some deeper level. To let them know it’s okay to be imperfect because God can and will meet you where you’re at. I guess it’s why my fiction is very grace-oriented, focusing on redemption, forgiveness, and second chances. I didn’t realize it, but my fiction uses ‘story’ to minister to people.

In marketing, “feed my sheep” represents a shift from “Build My Platform” to ministering to my readers and meeting their needs. Even as a teacher, which is my profession, I realize I am more concerned about meeting my students’ emotional needs than making sure they meet all curricular competencies. In an even broader sense, the phrase is about making more time for people; lending a listening ear; being available; showing hospitality.

Practically speaking, feed my sheep means…
  • Leaning into this shift in purpose and motivation.
  • Rethinking my communication with readers to be more ministry focused.
  • More intentionality in reaching out to others in my church, community, and those in my sphere of influence.
  • Being a better and more engaged friend.
  • Showing hospitality.
  • Listening and praying more with those God puts in my path.
I am excited about what this coming year brings. God is good!

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