I hope you enjoy this second installment from David Broodryk, who leads a CPM team in South Africa. David is breaking new ground with multi-cultural societies. We have a lot to learn from him.
Blessings!David Watson From Egypt
The Hunter and the Herder (PART 2)
Hunters were made to hunt. They love hunting. Herders were made to herd. They love herding. Simple? Not quite . . .
In reality the differences may not be as stark or clear as this.
We function best when we stay within our strengths. But many of us do not know what those strengths are. For various reasons, we struggle to discover who we are and what we were meant to do. Allow me to discuss some thoughts on why this is so.
1) The historical congregational church model has tended to focus exclusively on the herder pastor/teacher. When they began to recognize other giftings in the church, they molded them into variations of the pastoral role. The apostle, for example, is often seen as some kind of “super-pastor”. The evangelist was often made the “outreach pastor.” Otherwise he was rejected and had to form his own independent ministry to survive. The prophet sometimes became the “preaching pastor” or in some circles the one that gave “pastoral prophecies” that made people feel good but never really challenged them. Of course, throughout church history, the prophet has never really been too welcomed in the church.
So we see that every gift in the church was molded into the image of the pastor. This has created confusion. Many hunter personalities have been forced to develop herder instincts in order to survive in church leadership. They became “pastoral hunters.” These learned skills confuse hunter personalities because they now struggle to see themselves as focused hunters.
2) Not all personalities or spiritual gifts fit into either a hunter or herder role. Ephesians 4:11 mentions four or five different gifts given to the church. Other lists provide a much wider spectrum of giftings. For purposes of brevity, allow me to only comment on the Ephesians passage.
Herders easily function in the pastor/teacher role. Hunters tend to fit well into the role of the evangelistic, prophetic and the apostolic roles. This is not an absolute statement, simply an observation of where the most natural fit often seems to occur. The most obvious hunter role is that of the evangelist. When focused into appropriate evangelism, they make great church planters. Apostolic and prophetic giftings will often struggle to see themselves exclusively in either the hunter or herder role. Prophetic people are honed to hunt for problems. They are very discerning and when they see something wrong they cannot keep quiet. If their gifting is not mature, then they become problematic – hunting down and criticizing every sin and problem in the Body of Christ. Apostolic people often see themselves as both hunter and herder. Paul and Barnabus were sent out by the church in Antioch on a hunting (apostolic) trip. The work that God had called them to did not involve staying at home. I know some wonderful fatherly apostolic people, but the nature of their calling does not allow them to form too many attachments. They lean towards hunter personalities. But they also do some herding.
Our different spiritual gifts find their best release inside a balanced team. In CPM language, the strategy co-coordinator could be any gift-mix inside a healthy team. However, on his own he functions best as a hunter. The CPM catalyst will find it difficult to herd. His role is to start movements and move on. He is a hunter of note!
3) The hunter/herder distinction is made to help us clarify focus. It is seldom that a person is one type to the total exclusion of the other. Hunters also have families that they care for. They can be more or less pastoral depending on the person. And herders occasionally love the thrill of the hunt!
Again, all these gifts find their best expression inside a team. Healthy teams recognize the various strengths and will help people function inside their strengths, whilst covering their weaknesses.
So how does all this affect or help us? It is helpful for us to self-identify our primary passion and calling. In a church planting movement, hunters should be released from local responsibilities and maintenance burdens. When hunters are made to stay at home and keep existing things running, they burn out quickly. Rather, they should be placed with older and more experienced hunters. They should be paired inside hunting teams. We will see incredible CPM growth if we release hunters to be all that God made them to be.
Herders, on the other hand, should be encouraged to go on the occasional hunt. But herders must also be encouraged to use their herding instincts to the fullest potential. Herders can and should plant churches. But they are not focused church planters. Focused hunters do almost nothing else – they plant churches rapidly. They do one thing and they do it well. Herders are needed to bring stability, balance and health to the body. Without the herder, every church plant would blow up instead of growing up! Both the hunter and the herder can pioneer a new church plant. If they work together in team to start the new church, they will be most successful. The hunter will be able to establish the DNA, hand over leadership to the insider (often a herder) and move on to the next church plant. The herder (as an outside leader) will be good at bringing stability to the church, helping it to mature and networking the church with others in the region.
In all this, we should take care to make sure hunters and herders work together. In our movement, we are beginning to place them together in teams. We do not label people or box them into a specific role. We simply help them to find their primary gifting and passion. If they do not understand their different giftings, then placing them in the same team could cause them to neutralize one another. We all have a tendency to try make people into our own image. Lack of understanding will cause us to become critical of one another. But when a team understands their different strengths, they become a powerful synergistic church planting team.
By understanding and teaming hunters and herders, we build sustainable Church Planting Movements.