The Shepherding/Discipleship/Covenant Movement

You may have heard about this movement. It grew out of the Charismatic Renewal in the 70s and caused quite a bit of controversy with its focus on spiritual authority, same-gender meetings, and home groups. Well, I grew up right in the middle of it. And until I moved to LA in 2000, I attended churches that were affiliated with one of the principles of the Shepherding Movement, Charles Simpson. In fact, I'm one of the few "Charismatic" members of the Cadre. (They keep telling me, "Not that there's anything wrong with that").

Now there is a very informative book that recounts the history of the movement and its influence on the church-at-large: The Shepherding Movement by S. David Moore. You can read my amazon review here.

In a nutshell, Professor Moore has access to an incredible amount of information and writes a very even-handed account of the origins, development, and controversies surrounding the Shepherding Movement. He also notes perhaps the greatest irony of all regarding it. The things that the Shepherding Movement did that were most controversial have been imitated by the broader church. Discipling? Now referred to as "mentoring" or "spiritual fathers." Mens meetings? Ever hear of Promise Keepers or "accountability groups"? Home churches or flocks? Now referred to as "cell groups" or "home groups." Charismatic worship? Ever hear of Hosanna or Integrity Music? How about the songs, "I Exalt Thee" or "The Lord Reigns" or "Celebrate Jesus"? These things grew from the Shepherding Movement.

Even if the movement per se does not interest you, Moore effecitvely frames the discussion in the broader topic of ecclesiology--the study of church government and authority.

The book is actually quite a quick read. I highly recommend it.


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