Posts Tagged ‘Elders


The Chief Shepherd

Peter encourages elders to be shepherds over God’s flock who lead well. They are to lead like Jesus, whom Peter describes as the Chief Shepherd. This is what Peter wrote:

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. – 1 Peter 5:4 (NIV)

There is a reward for elders who lead well. Being an elder for a congregation is a tough job. The New Testament says that elders who teach will be judged more strictly. This is why the Scriptures say that an elder is worthy of double honor. Elders are to reflect the leadership of Jesus. He was humble. He had the heart of a servant, even though He was Lord of all. If anyone could have lorded His leadership over everyone, it was Jesus. Yet He didn’t. He served people instead of subjugating them. He sacrificed for people instead of demanding that they serve Him. The elders of a congregation need to look like the Chief Shepherd so that when He returns they will receive the reward that is due them.

The Shepherds Of God’s Flock

In 1 Peter 5, Peter turns his attention to church leadership. He writes:

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. – 1 Peter 5:1-3 (NIV)

God is looking for elders who will watch over His flock with willing, servant hearts. He wants the elders of His church to serve as examples of what it means to lead like, love like and look like Christ. If elders aren’t following Christ, then how can people follow them? If elders won’t shepherd the flock, then the flock will be in danger. If the elders only desire exalted power, God will bring them down. Being an elder is a tough job and we need elders who will do it well.

The Role Of Elders

James says that if we are in trouble, we should pray. He also said that if we are happy, we should praise the Lord. Then, he says that if we are sick, we should reach out to the elders of the church for prayer.

Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. – James 5:14 (NIV)

This is a practice that has fallen by the wayside. It raises several questions in my mind. Are the elders in our churches too busy? Do they feel inadequate? Do we just forget to call them? When should we call them? For a common cold or for something like cancer? I think that the principle in mind here is that the elders in our churches should be available and aware. They need to care for the sheep in their flocks and be involved in their lives. It’s a very tough job and people need to be understanding when it comes to the elders in their church. Elders also need to be ready and willing to pray for their flock when called upon to do so.

Leaders Are To Love

Micah 3:1-4 (NIV)

Then I said,

“Listen, you leaders of Jacob,
    you rulers of Israel.
Should you not embrace justice,
    you who hate good and love evil;
who tear the skin from my people
    and the flesh from their bones;
who eat my people’s flesh,
    strip off their skin
    and break their bones in pieces;
who chop them up like meat for the pan,
    like flesh for the pot?”

Then they will cry out to the Lord,
    but he will not answer them.
At that time he will hide his face from them
    because of the evil they have done.

The leaders of Israel and Judah weren’t doing their job.  Micah was charged with prophesying against them.  These leaders were supposed to be the shepherds of God’s people, yet they did not care about the people.  Later in chapter 3, the Lord brings a list of accusations against the leaders of Israel and Judah.  They weren’t taking care of the people and that was one of their primary responsibilities.

People are always at the heart of God’s mission in His world and in His Kingdom.  Church leaders who don’t care about people shouldn’t be leading.  One can be a great speaker, but if there is no love for people, what good are their words?  One can be a great leader, but if they don’t care about the sheep under their care, they haven’t used their gifts of leadership properly.

God’s indictment against the leaders of His people carried a dire warning.  There was coming a time when the leaders would cry out to Him, but He would not answer them.  They had neglected justice for God’s people and God could not abide with those who didn’t love and care for His flock.  When they would be carried off into exile, they would then turn to God but it would be too late.  They should have been seeking the Lord the whole time.  Instead, they used their positions to exploit the poor for their own gain.

May our leaders in our churches, whether ministers, elders, deacons or ministry leaders, seek to do what is right for the people whom they serve.  God’s heart beats for people and so should our hearts.


PRAYER: God, I pray today for the leaders of the churches in our world.  May they have hearts that beat for You first and people second.  Help them to serve You well that our churches may be strengthened to make a difference and to impact our world for Jesus Christ.  In His name, amen.


Bringing Back The Wanderers

James 5:19-20 (NIV)
 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
Christians need to look out for each other.  We need to be concerned for our brothers and sisters in Christ.  One human being cannot possibly keep tabs on hundreds of sheep all by themselves.  It takes an entire church to care for each other in order to keep people from wandering from the truth, as James says.
In the church, we tend to look to one person (the pastor) to lead the congregation.  This is not what the New Testament teaches.  In fact, the term “pastor” comes from a Greek word that is used of the elders of the church, not one person.  The elders of the church are to oversee the spiritual growth and provide pastoral care for the congregation.  The person who preaches the Word of God is more of a preaching elder than some kind of CEO of the congregation.  The preacher is part of the team of elders who are to be tending to the flock.  It is not the elders’ job alone, though.
In a church of hundreds of people, the elders need the help of the entire congregation in order to keep people from wandering from the truth.  People have different spheres of influence and deeper relationships with various people in the congregation.  The elders cannot possibly know everyone in a congregation.  The preacher cannot possibly know what is going on in everyone’s lives.  But people within the congregation, as they build relationships, can know each other on a deeper level.  They can look out for one another.  Brothers and sisters need to care for each other and their spiritual growth.  This means that we need to pray for each other.  We need to ask the deeper questions.  We need more than just a hug or a handshake and a “Hi!  How are you?  Fine?  GREAT!  Me too!”  We need to spend time with each other.  We’re not all going to be best friends, but we can go deeper than surface level with some and actually invest ourselves in their lives.  This way, when someone begins to wander from the truth, we can bring them back to this wonderful Savior who loves us so very much.
PRAYER:  Father in Heaven, I pray today for my relationships with my brothers and sisters.  Give me a heart the longs to see them make it home safe and sound to Your arms.  Help me to see the spiritual needs of my church family so that if there are those wandering away from the truth, You might use me to bring them back.  I pray for those I know who are wandering away and I ask that you would stir in their hearts to bring them back to You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Honor and Respect Your Church Leaders

Being a preacher or an elder is a tough job.  This is why Paul tells Timothy:

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. ​- 1 Timothy 5:17 (NIV)​

But what does that mean?  I think it means a couple of things.  First, it means that elders and preachers who do their job well deserve respect.  God has given them the authority to lead in His church.  God, who directs all things in the church, has given the authority for leadership in local congregations to the elders, including those who preach and teach.  When the elders do a good job of shepherding the flock and leading the church, they should have the respect and trust of the church family.  Second guessing the every decision those in leadership make leads to very long days and nights for church leaders.  Honor your elders and leaders by respecting them and trusting them.  They have invested themselves in God’s Kingdom through study and prayer and those who do their job well deserve to be honored.
Secondly, I think that those who have given themselves to serving the Lord by serving the church in full-time Christian service should be compensated well.  Granted, I could be accused of having a conflict of interest here, but I really do believe that this is what Paul is telling Timothy here toward the end of chapter 5.  I have always been taken care of by the churches I have served.  I will not complain about compensation because I know that God is the One who provides for my needs.  I have yet to miss a meal or not have clothing for my child because a church did not provide adequate compensation.  I thank God for the elders I have served with through the past nearly 18 years of ministry.  They have taken such good care of me and my family.  I believe that I have a responsibility to God and to His people to do my best and earn the compensation I receive rather than to expect or demand that I be paid well for laziness or half-hearted effort.
Take good care of your elders and your preachers.  It’s a tough job God has called us to, but it is also very rewarding.  May God bless the elders and preachers who serve and lead well in His church.
1 Timothy 5:17-21 (NIV)
17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” 19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. 21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.

We Need Strong Servant-Leaders

Leadership in the church is serious business.  Elders and deacons are servant leaders called to lead and serve in Christ’s church.  They are to be respected as leaders.  They are to work diligently for the Lord.  Their jobs are vital to the efficient and smooth operation of the church.  The purpose of Jesus’ church is the most important purpose on earth – to make disciples of all nations and to help them follow Jesus in fully-surrendered devotion (Matthew 28:18-20).  Without strong, Biblically-minded servant leaders, the church cannot effectively reach those  lost, wandering souls in need of the Savior.  Our servant leaders are to be held in high regard for their willingness to serve Jesus in the ways that they serve Him.  This is why Paul tells Timothy the following:

Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

​ – 1 Timothy 3:13 (NIV)​
We need strong leaders who will work hard to further the mission of Christ’s church so that the lost will find their way home.  We need servant leaders who understand that the church is not about them, but about helping people follow Jesus.  Thank God for the leaders in your church today and encourage them in their duties that they might not despise their office, but rather fulfill it with joy.
1 Timothy 3:8-13 (NIV)

In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

11 In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

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