Monday: The Elders

Read 1 Peter 5:1-4. What attitudes should leaders bring to their roles in the church? How can these principles apply to any of us, regardless of our role?

Peter begins his instructions to elders by observing that he himself is a fellow elder. He then notes two things about himself:

Leading with Christ's Help

Image © Jeff Preston

he is a witness of the suffering of Christ, and he is expecting to share in the glory to be revealed. In saying this, Peter highlights the first characteristic that should be found within an elder: an elder should understand the importance of what Christ has suffered in our behalf and what great hope He offers us.

Peter likens the role of an elder to a shepherd tending the flock of God. His comparing a church to sheep suggests that, like sheep, members can sometimes go off on their own. Thus, they need the shepherd to guide them back to the group and to help them work in harmony with it. The elder also should function as a humble example of how a Christian needs to act.

What warning do we find here for those who are shepherds? Jer. 10:21, Ezek. 34:8-10, Zech. 11:17.

An important role of Christian leadership is to work with the people in the church as patiently as shepherds must work with their sheep. Elders must gently bring them together for worship and for sharing the message of Jesus with those who need to know Him and the salvation found in Him.

Peter also observes that elders should exercise oversight willingly and not under compulsion. It is not always easy to find people willing to take on the challenges of leading out in the church. This is particularly evident around nominating committee time. For a church to function well, there are a number of distinct roles that need to be filled. There are reasons that many people are reluctant to take on leadership roles. Some of these roles require a considerable investment of time, and people suitable for such roles already might have many commitments. Others may feel that they are not prepared well enough to take on the role. But Peter’s word is that if asked, we should willingly take on leadership if it is at all possible.



Monday: The Elders — 18 Comments

  1. We are the Shepherd in the church. If we don't feed the flock, they will leave church,
    because we only feed ourselves.
    Jesus said since our hearts have hatred, we will not prosper, the flocks will scatter from the church.

    So we need to lead our church in God's eyes with our truthful hearts with good manners and practice good model for the flocks, in the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ.

      • Leaders should lead a committed and prayerful life. They should not only be an example in the church, but also at home and in the workplace. Lovers of the Word of God and faithful followers of Christ in words and deeds. Only then they can influence church members to do the same. Sometimes they want to be leaders without taking the responsibility that goes with it.

        • The term leaders in broadest sense should mean anyone who is elected for service in the church and not necessarily one who is an elder or head deacon et al.

      • I am not Nancy, but I think she should say; visiting, calling, and texting members, be available, find their needs physically and spiritually. Act upon those needs. Encourage, uplift, listen, with love and empathy. High skills are not necessarily necessary. People need people. If your an elder grab a deacon to go with you. A deacon can grab an elder to go with him. Don't go alone. You will see your church flourish. Ya, John but my church has no leadership to do something like this. Just go do it. Leadership will follow your lead.

  2. What come to mind is Matthew 25: 31-40. As well as the spiritual need, like Jesus we are to fulfil the physical need. Were Elders demonstarate the love of Jesus in a practical way, the members will do like wise to those who have yet to come in to the house hold of faith.

    • What physical needs need to be fulfilled? Can you give examples of a church situation where Elders or other leaders have demonstrated practical Christianity?

      • Maybe someone is struggling financially, can't afford a babysitter to watch their kids while they work a second job and is too proud to ask for help. One could offer to watch their kids or maybe set up a play date so it doesn't seem like you're trying to do them a favor. Just an example I can think of.

  3. I really wish more people felt the responsability to be a leader. Of any kind. Take responsability in the church, like the children's department, for example. I have an 8 year-old child and I am concerned about what she learns in her class! Thus, I am willing to help! But very few people seem to think like that! I may not be a pastor, but I am certain a role model, at least for my kid. Perhaps because of my parents example I feel the need to lead something. But I really feel said sometimes when most of the members go home right after the main service is over. Sabbath class is not being valued as it should.

    • Your point is well taken JC. Years ago when I was a parent I was sitting in Sabbath School lesson study time, thoroughly enjoying the discussion with my peers, when the thought crossed my mind that the situation was very self-centered and that I should be doing something more useful. The next week I sat in one of the children's Sabbath Schools and the week after I was doing something there as well I did that for 18 months and regard it as one of my most enjoyable Sabbath School experiences. Maybe it is time to rethink our Sabbath School arrangements to make it easier for adults to participate in children's Sabbath Schools. At the moment I find a lot of folk are scared spitless of young children, but it need not be with the right support for one another.

  4. It's interesting to not there is not a reference made to Titus 1:5-9. I think it's also important to notice the softening of the qualifications that are stated. The compromise of standards and admonitions to pacify certain constituents or members I think is just a impactful as a misunderstanding of other Biblical standards. We often advocate you have to follow all of the 10 commandments but conveniently focus on certain doctrinal proclamations in other areas. I'm not saying the qualifications of an elder are laws. I'm just saying let's follow all the precepts of the Bible; the whole Bible and not just what's fashionable or easy.

    • There are men in the church who exalt themselves over women and see nothing wrong with that despite the example Christ gives us regarding the role of a husband. The constant bickering about female elders have been given too much attention because of our own prejudices. Many are quick to quote "the HUSBAND of one WIFE" as an indication that an elder must be a man. The Bible also states "thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife." Does it mean we can covet our neighbors husband? Please look at the historical background of the women in Corinth when Paul was speaking. Should we all be wearing hats and have long hair? Let us allow the Holy Spirit to use and guide us and do not attempt to tell God who He can or cannot use.

    • Brother Renford, a good request regarding Zechariah 11:17. This is talking about the parable of the shepherd. Let us all Look at John 10:1-18. I would like to recommend for all of us to read "The Desire of Ages", chapter 52, "The Divine Shepherd", p.476-479. I hope this helps.

  5. Brother Elijah,
    Thanks very much for the references you have given.
    They have really helped me understand.
    God richly bless you.

  6. The sheep will stay where there is good pasture and water. Elders as sheperds must make sure that the needs of the church members are met.

  7. Christ came into this world as God’s servant (Isaiah 42:1, Isaiah 52:13) and He taught all His followers to be servants in every aspect of their lives. Our Lord called upon us to be servants of others. He gave a very practical example of what it means to serve others when He washed the feet of His followers (John 13: 1 - 17). Moreover, the Bible affirms servant leadership as the model for church administration. A Christ-centred leadership is one that's not based on either acquired or inherent authority. A servant leader follows Jesus rather than focus on exercising power. As a leader in the local church an elder is principally a spiritual person who provides spiritual leadership to the congregation. The elder gives of him or herself in selfless service in orde to better meet the needs of others as he/she serves as an under shepherd.

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