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The Role of an Elder

Text: 1 Peter 5:1-4

The Elder - Shepherd – Pastor

The Exhortation to Elders

The Elders:

Overseers / pastors / shepherds

The Expectation:

Present suffering (and future glory)


Exhort: To come alongside to encourage

Acts 20:28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock,

among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to

shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His

own blood.”

The Elder Role

Shepherd the flock:

Protect – Feed - Rule - Care

Exercise oversight:

Administrate – Watch over

The Elder’s Service

See 1 Timothy 3:2-7, Titus 1:6-9

Elders are to observe and look into what the flock is doing

and encountering, and then to do what is essential to

their spiritual welfare…(Hamilton) At times people are

very quick to say, ‘This isn’t any of the elder’s business.’

God commanded them to ‘oversee’. And if something is

adversely affecting your relationship with God, the

spiritual welfare of other members, or the reputation of

the congregation, then they must get involved.

See Hebrews 13:17. (Mark Dunagan)

Voluntary (not under compulsion): Not because they feel

Forced to, but because they believe that God wants them to,

and they want to obey God. God wants the motivation to

serve God to come from within the man who follows God.

Called of God: Elders are chosen by God through the revelation

of His will for that individual. Gods speaks to the heart of a

man showing him what God desires of him in his service to

his God. God reveals to the elder what is on the heart of God

for His Flock and leads the man to fulfill his service to God as

a shepherd to His flock.

Not for worldly gain: The motivation for service is not for

money, prestige, position, or power. In these days far too

many seemingly spiritual people are starting ministries and

seeking church positions for the sake of accolades,

affirmation, and status. They seek the benefits of the

position for their own sake. God called elders are motivated

by a love for God, and faithful obedience to the task that

He places before them.

Eagerly: There needs be a zeal and enthusiasm for the task

set before the elder. It’s not a job or a vocation. The work

is an outward expression of the inner working of the Holy

Spirit in the life of a person charged by God to watch over

His flock. To be engaged in a position of responsibility to

care and nurture God’s children is a high calling to be

embraced fully.

Not lording it over others: The elder must not love being

in charge or desire to be the one that makes the important

decisions. The call of the elder is to serve God and serve His

people. If the thought is to “be in charge,” or “call the shots,”

then they have a warped and unbiblical understanding of the

role and are unfit for the position!

By example: The primary means of leading and feeding the

flock must be through the example set by the shepherd in

his personal conduct and his public behavior. If what is

taught is not backed up by the life of the shepherd, his

teaching will have little impact, and his ministry will have

little fruit. If on the other hand his personal character and

conduct demonstrates a humble spirit, a genuine faith,

and a loving heart, he will find that the flock will hunger

for what is both taught and caught.

The Elder’s Reward

The unfading crown of glory!

(when Christ returns!)


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