An Exhortation to Elders/Pastors

1 Peter 5:1–4

Consider these expressed desires from the biography of one prominent pastor to his fellow elders…

“I want to be a pastor who prays. 

I want to be a pastor who reads and studies. 

I want to be a pastor who has the time to be with you in leisurely, unhurried conversations. 

I want to be a pastor who leads you in worship. 

I want to be a pastor who preaches sermons that make scripture accessible and present and alive. 

I want to be a pastor who is able to give you a language and imagination that restores in you a sense of dignity as a Christian in your homes and workplaces.

I want to be an unbusy pastor.”

Of these expressed desires which one(s) resonate(s) most in your heart regarding your pastors/elders? Why? How would it benefit our congregation if your pastors were “unbusy”?

Christ-centered relational shepherding that mirrors the shepherding of Christ while anticipating the glory of Christ promotes a joyful healthy church life, even when under trial.

What kind of shepherding promotes a healthy church?

I. The kind of shepherding that happens in relationship with Christ promotes a healthy church (1).  

•     It’s significant to see how Peter and Paul use their apostolic authority. Consider 1 Peter 5:1 and the word ‘exhort’ along with Philemon 1:8-9, and 14. What can we learn from the apostles about how we use whatever spiritual authority we have in life? How might these lessons apply to you? 

•     Peter writes from a relational position. 

•     As a fellow elder

•     Review John 21:15-17. Consider Peter’s life and spiritual growth. What do you learn about his calling and growth that can be related to yours and your fellow believers and your elders/pastors? 

•     As a witness of the sufferings of Christ

•     Read 2 Corinthians 4:1-16. What are some of the pitfalls and challenges that pastors face in ministry? What are some of the blessings they experience? How does Paul help us find encouragement so that we do not faint or despair in our hearts? 

•     As a fellow partaker of the glory that is to be revealed   

•     How can you help your pastors maintain a healthy spiritual relationship with Christ? How can you do this for yourself and your family and other believers?  

II. The kind of shepherding that mirrors Christ’s shepherding promotes a healthy church (2-3). 

•     Shepherd the flock of God that is among you. 

•     Two implications for the words ‘among you’ in our text. The first implication is for the elders – shepherd the sheep that are among you, in your pasture, not the pasture of other shepherds. The second implication is for the sheep – God intends for every sheep of His to live in the flock of God under present shepherding. 

  • What’s the difference between listening to sermons of other pastors online versus living under the personal and present ministry of your own pastor? 
  • How are you living under the biblical expectation of submission to the shepherding of your local church? How might your commitment need to grow in this area? 

•     Shepherding is primarily feeding and caring for the spiritual needs of believers. 

  • What are the biblical expectations of shepherding brought out in the message? 
  • What expectation do you have of your elders/pastors and how do they align with scripture?

•     Peter gives 3 contrasting elements in the text that draw out the way elders are supposed to mirror the shepherding qualities of Jesus. 

•     Not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you. 

•     Not for shameful gain, but eagerly.

•     Not domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock.

•     Why are these elements important in the context of Church life? (Consider 1 Peter 1:14-15; 2:11-12; Hebrews 13:17).

III. The kind of shepherding that anticipates the glory of Christ promotes a healthy church (4). 

•     There are two reminders here for pastors specifically and all of us generally. 

•     First, every sheep and every under-shepherd needs the Chief Shepherd. 

•     Second, the Chief Shepherd is returning soon, so elders and sheep ought to look to the reward and be motivated by Christ’s beauty (glory), in which each of us share. 

Matthew 5:11-12 ““Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” 

  • Does the motivation to receive a reward ruin the motivation of love? Love should be the driving force of the shepherd’s heart. Does reward ruin that? Explain your answer.
  • In preparation for our final message in 1 Peter, read 1 Peter 5:5-14 this week. From the chapter, what do you perceive to be your spiritual responsibilities in the Church and to others in the Church?