The Church - Leadership for the Church

© 2006 Steve Lewis -



The orderly operation of the Church

General Ministries

Specific Local Church Offices

Terms for the Office

Gift vs. Office

Qualifications for the Office

The Number of Elders

The Authority of the Office

A Detailed Study of 1 Peter 5:1-4

Exhorting the leadership of the church

The authority for this message

  1. "As your fellow-elder" = As a fellow-elder Peter was identifying closely with them and speaking from personal experience in that office. Notice that he did not say, "You must listen to me because I am the supreme pontiff!" Peter nowhere calls himself the first pope -- he begins by describing himself as a fellow-elder just like them.
  2. "As a witness of the sufferings of Christ" = Here Peter referred to his role as an apostle who was an eyewitness of Christ's suffering on the cross. Peter was gently invoking his apostolic authority in his exhortation to the elders.
  3. "As a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed" = The elders should keep in mind that their time is short in this world, and soon they will be entering into a glorious future that God has prepared for us (see 1 Pet 5:4). So the present work of the elders should be motivated by the expectation of that glorious future, including the evaluation of their ministry at the "Reward Seat" of Christ (1 Cor 3:12-15; 2 Cor 5:10).

The Command

Essential attitudes for these actions

NOT (negatively)BUT (positively)
The Motive of External Pressure
"Not under compulsion" = Not as if you have been forced to carry a heavy burden that you would rather not carry. This phrase might be understood in an active sense of pastors compelling or forcing their flock, driving them, or ruling them with force and cruelty -- but it is usually understood in a passive sense of pastors being pressured by outside forces to feed and tend the flock.
The Motive of Willing Submission to God
"But voluntarily, according to the will of God" = The contrast to serving under compulsion is serving of one's own choice, as he is led by God. The Holy Spirit will provide the burden or call to service, as well as the ability, and the elder is to willingly respond to God's call (see 1 Tim 3:1)
The Motive of Greed
"Not for sordid gain" = Elders were often paid for their services, just as Jesus commanded (Matt 10:10) and as the New Testament instructed (1 Cor 9:3-14; 1 Tim 5:17-18). In addition to these instructions to support elders, however, there are also warnings that some elders may try to turn their office into a business (1 Tim 6:3-5; Titus 1:10-11). This was a common practice among the traveling Greek philosophers of that day, and Peter instructs the elders of the local church to avoid this kind of attitude.
The Motive of Eagerness
"But with eagerness" = The contrast to a mercenary spirit or the attitude of a hireling is that the elder should be eager to serve without thought of financial gain (2 Cor 11:7-21). Such enthusiasm is the opposite of the calculating spirit that is concerned mainly with how to make money.
The Motive of Power
"Not as lording it over" = the term for "lording it over" means to bring under one's power, to subdue, to hold in subjection, to be the master as a strong person would over one viewed as being weaker. We might call this being a dictator, or acting in an authoritarian way. The New Testament describes such church leaders (for example, 3 John 1:9-10), but this type of autocratic leadership is condemned in the Scriptures.
The Motive of Modeling
"But proving to be examples to the flock" = the contrast to lording it over the flock is to become an example of how a good member of the flock should behave. Leadership by example is the universal teaching of the entire New Testament (Mark 10:42-45; Phil 3:17; 1 Thess 1:6-7; 2 Thess 3:9; 1 Tim 4:12; Titus 2:7).

The Reward