This is one of a series of articles regarding the UBF chapter, Shepherd’s Church in Gardena, California.
Once you have completed Genesis Intensive and have made the decision to become a Shepherd “by faith”, then you will be given approval to start fishing (recruiting) for Sheep on your college campus. When you get to this point where you are about to start fishing, you will be very excited after having reached this milestone, and moving up in rank to join the other Shepherds at your church. The first goal that you will need to accomplish after officially becoming a Shepherd is to find Sheep. The next goal is to keep finding more Sheep.
At Shepherd’s Church, the number of Sheep that Shepherds teach every week will vary. Some teach as many as 15-20 Bible studies a week, while some teach as little as one or two Bible studies per week. Your success on finding new students to teach will depend primarily on two factors.
The first factor is which type of college that you go to. Generally, it is much easier to find students at community colleges than at four year universities. The main reasoning behind this is that students at four year universities want to focus more of their time on school and career matters and do not want to be bothered with studying the Bible. Contrasting to this, students at community college tend to come from the general population and may have more time on their hands, be less focused on their future goals, or may be more religiously inclined.
The second factor that will determine your success in finding new students is the amount of time you put into this effort. A general rule is that the more time you spend fishing, the more opportunities you will have to “catch” Sheep. Also, the more people you talk to when fishing will also increase the number of students who will be interested in studying with you. The Shepherds who have the most Sheep under their belt generally ask everyone that they come into contact with if they are interested in studying the Bible. These Shepherds will literally jump from person to person on campus asking them. As soon as they receive a rejection, they will immediately move onto the next person, oftentimes before the person has finished saying the word, “No”. Since these Shepherds spend so much time asking students if they are interested in studying the Bible, and are not deterred by rejection, they will naturally have many Sheep to teach. One successful Shepherd who regularly taught 15 Bible studies a week at his local community college gave this advice, “Always be in fishing mode, everywhere you go. In the hallways before class, or even in the bathrooms, always ask if someone is interested in studying the Bible…” As you can see, the Shepherds of Shepherd’s Church take their roles seriously, and will often go to great lengths to find new Sheep to teach [including harassment and stalking].
Many of them believe that they are seeking to spread the Gospel and to bring lost students to salvation. However, Shepherds are also very motivated by numbers. In simple terms, the more people they teach, then the more that they are favored and blessed by God. After every Sunday worship service, the names of all the Sheep that are taught are recorded in a “special” book. In this way, the church can keep track of how many Bible studies each Shepherd teaches during the week. Once you find your first Sheep, you will be greatly honored by the ministry and encouraged to keep finding more Sheep to teach. Once you start finding Sheep, you will now be faced with a new dilemma: balancing your current obligations with the need to consistently teach your Sheep.
The general rule at Shepherd’s Church is that if something conflicts with the ministry, then it must be cut off. Therefore, you will be told to arrange your schedule around meeting the needs of your Sheep, along with having to attend regular church activities. For many Shepherds, this causes problems for them in their jobs, schoolwork, and family life. After a time, you may find that you have little spare time for anything else. You will find this continually balancing act very difficult to maintain.
As you progress through the UBF discipling process at Shepherd’s Church, you will be expected to participate in several different events. The specifics of these events will be discussed in future articles, and some of these topics are already extensively documented online. Your continued involvement in UBF and Shepherd’s Church will include:
- becoming a messenger at a UBF conference
- discipling new Sheep (‘recruits’) through the UBF system
- going through the arranged ‘marriage by faith’ process
- becoming a Fellowship Leader, if chosen by the Chapter Director [Only those who were married in UBF become fellowship lead.
- pioneering a new ‘house church’ (NOTE: this is actually a very rare for any native, non-Korean UBF member to experience)