Read a quote by C. S. Lewis today that I thought was pretty good.
“The proper study of shepherds is sheep, not other shepherds.”
The context of the quote was in an article telling theologians his viewpoints of higher theological criticism and opinion. He said he thought the church leaders (his primary audience was Church of England leaders) spent too much time with each other rather than their people.
If you surround yourself with people who think as you do in terms like you do you lose touch with the “outsiders.”
Most pastoral advice is written by and for pastors and it all has to do with running your church as other successful pastors (shepherds) did. Other shepherds read it, take it home and force it upon their sheep.
Do all sheep have the same needs and are they all met the same way? Lewis’ opinion is that shepherds should study sheep, since they are caring for them not other shepherds, rather than spending all their time studying other shepherds. Makes sense to me.