Advice from a Preacher, Elder, and an Apostle to Elders

“I don’t want to hear another preacher telling elders what to do.  He hasn’t been an elder.  He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”  I understand someone tiring of being instructed by a person who seems to have no reason to understand.  However, most male doctors have never had a baby and yet they help women deliver some very good ones.


Surely the writer of 1 Peter is qualified to talk about elders.  He has been, and is at the time of this writing, an elder, an apostle, a preacher, and an inspired writer of the Bible

In 1 Peter 5:1-4, he outlines leadership opportunity in the local church.  The apostle Peter, who was an elder, appealed to fellow elders.  He says the person who performs this service must:

1. Be old (the meaning of elder).   Facts can be retained easily by younger people.  Some wisdom comes only with age and seeing the results in ourselves and others of not being wise.
2. Be a shepherd.  This concept may be difficult to understand if we have not observed sheep.  An interesting blog post written by a shepherd provided me with some insight on sheep and shepherds:  “Stupid Sheep”
3. Be an overseer.  Shepherd has been the description of choice for some instead of elder or overseer.  However, all these are used by the Holy Spirit, Who makes shepherds, and all designations are important.  A good shepherd oversees the sheep, green pastures — or lack thereof — and sources of still water.
4. Be an example.  Perhaps the most powerful leadership trait a person has is what he is.

The shepherd and overseer of shepherds and overseers is Jesus, the Chief Shepherd.

1. Jesus is old enough. He was alive before Abraham. John 8:58
2. Jesus was and is the Good Shepherd. John 10:14
3. Jesus is an excellent overseer since He promised to be with us until the end of the age. Matthew 28:20
4. Jesus is the perfect example.  He experienced every type of temptation, won every war, conquered every enemy. Hebrew 4:15

Before someone takes a job, position, or opportunity,  it is good to understand the job description.  If there are parts of the responsibility that you don’t like, can’t stand, and will not tolerate, don’t take the job.  Find something else to do.

Elders, shepherds, overseers will be working with sheep.  It’s good to understand the nature of sheep.  Do you like to work with sheep?  If not, don’t take the job.

Sheep are:

1. Dependent.

O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps (Jeremiah 10:23, NKJV).

2. Dirty.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8).

3. Disoriented.

There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. (Proverbs 16:25).

All sheep are this way.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).

How will God’s shepherds ever work with sheep like that?

In the next post, I plan to tell of a man who did it with excellence!!!

What comments do you have?
What is a topic you would like to see discussed soon?

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Welcome and What Can I Do to Encourage Spiritual Leadership?

Welcome to New Shepherds Orientation, a blog and website dedicated to providing information, inspiration, and appreciation for those men and their families who serve as shepherds (elders, bishops, overseers) of the Lord’s church.


I have served with 64 shepherds in full-time and interim ministry in addition to scores of others in workshops, consultations, and gospel meetings.  These men have taught me, encouraged me, corrected me, and supported me since I started preaching in 1961.

My full-time ministry has taken me to five congregations as the local preacher 1967–2007 and five congregations for interim ministry 2007–2015.

I was blessed with a variety of experiences in transition in ministry.  The first place out of school was my first full-time work and their first full-time preacher.  I didn’t know what I was doing when I went and didn’t know what I was doing when I left.  In the second congregation, I was fired.  The third, I resigned without having any idea of where I was going.  Between the fourth and last church, I spent seven months discussing, planning, and thinking. It was a slow, smooth transition.

In all of these I learned about leadership, myself, and how to serve and many ways not to serve.  I want to share some of those learning experiences with you and others.

I plan to post twice a month and add multiple resources that will help elders be more effective in their great work.

Some of the topics to be discussed:

  • Majority or minority rule?  How many votes do you give to each elder?
  • Setting goals
  • Head elder:  toxic, benevolent, none?
  • No-suicide contract for leadership
  • Elders appreciation parties
  • Shepherds who leave when the wolf comes don’t care — Jesus
  • How to hear criticism
  • For pain to be most productive: anticipated, chosen, managed
  • When most people hurt me, I gave them permission
  • Contracts – why, written, items, reviewed
  • Elder rules
  • Elder operating procedures:  non-negotiable, negotiable.
  • Counseling for me
  • Are death wishes the best way to solve leadership problems?
  • How to get rid of a bad elder
  • Questions to learn more about your family
  • How do you want the church to be? — Be that!
  • How to keep things from falling through the cracks
  • Elders’ meetings
  • Discussion before decisions
  • Elder-preacher relationships.
  • Family meetings
  • A leader is a non-anxious presence
  • Funerals and parties
  • Processing anger
  • Who selects leaders?
  • How to select leaders
  • What kind and how many leadership seeds are you sowing?
  • Planning a preacher’s (elder’s) departure
  • Eldership agreement
  • 48-hour rule
  • Anonymous letters
  • Counseling, referral, followup
  • Suicide, 3 questions, contract
  • Elders I have known
  • Why do other people keep me so busy?
  • Delegation steps
  • Criticism
  • Listening until the other person gets through talking
  • Sabbath — day a week
  • Isolation
  • Sabbatical
  • Good leaders may not be the first to speak
  • Learning to Love my Friend(s)
  • God’s Great Servants
  • Are you allowing your last preacher to control your present preacher?
  • How to deliver bad news — death
  • How to deliver bad news — termination, reduction in pay
  • Should we let our preacher preach after he resigns, is released?
  • “They say we are not open”

What would you like to see discussed first?
What other topics would be helpful?

Please leave a comment by ...... clicking here.