“Shepherding”— by co-leaders, for DC’ers—is a vital part of DC (and a big chunk of the co-leader training).
On top of that, we recommend an outside Shepherd—for the co-leaders. Ideally, the Shepherd has previous experience as a DC co-leader. If not, someone with a good mix of experience, candor, godly counsel, and grace will be effective.
At minimum, the Shepherd should attend a number of DC meetings:
a.) the first week of DC101—to observe and briefly explain your role;
b.) the second and third weeks of DC101—as each co-leader is “in the saddle” for the first time;
c.) the last two weeks of DC101—as each co-leader is “in the saddle” for the last time in DC101 and has had some time to make adjustments;
d.) intermittently after DC101—as useful.
Beyond that, the Shepherd should be pouring into the lives of the co-leaders: meeting at other times to visit, counsel and pray with them—both in the context of their DC group and their broader life. In part, this is to support the co-leaders; in part, it is to model what they should be doing for their DC’ers.
As a Shepherd within DC meetings, you should be mostly a “fly on the wall”, observing and then providing input after each meeting. You should be prepared to handle the memory verse that week (to avoid an awkward moment). You should give lengthy, specific and candid feedback to co-leaders—and deliver it tactfully. Start by asking how they thought it went. Give them feedback quickly—immediately if you’re comfortable; soon afterwards if you need time to gather and organize your thoughts (or if time constraints do not permit immediate discussion). From there, follow-up as appropriate.
Feedback Examples [with a crazy level of detail– to give you an idea of what one might look for] (PDF opens in a new window)
Feedback Forms (PDF opens in a new window)