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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Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

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