1 Peter 5:1-7 details the heart, character and roles of elders in the church, who are called to lead and guide the church; this is often referred to as “shepherding” in the bible. Shepherds have the responsibility of spiritually caring for the people of God in the local church through prayer, gospel teaching and care. Passages like this one are helpful for us in this day and age because it is easy to look for skills and attributes that fit our culture’s definition of leadership rather than the picture painted in scripture for elders. As you work through this study think through what Peter is focusing on as the essentials of Christian leadership.
- Read the passage a few times and list out 5-10 observations that you see.
- According to the passage what are some things we should look for as qualities and characteristics in our church leaders?
- What are some things you think our culture in American highlight as “necessary leadership” qualifications? Do any of them fit with this passage? Are any of them directly contradictory to what we read here?
- Peter gives us 3 sets of contrasts: “not ________ but _________” What are those? Is there a general theme to the three?
- We’re warned against 3 heart attitudes — apathy, greed and power. Why would these be temptations for people aspiring to church leadership? How do they harm the life of the body of Christ?
- One of the temptations of Christianity in America is to gravitate to well known/celebrity pastors, or to view church from more of a consumer mindset thinking: “what do I get out of this?” Peter offers a different vision for the church. He tells us that the shepherds are among the flock of God (v.1) not just on a podcast that we listen to now and then. We also see that Peter calls us to be subject to our leaders who serve with humility (v. 5). This passage assumes you’re known, loved and cared for in the church. Some questions to think through would be: What has been your experience with the elders of West Hills Community Church? Are there steps you can take to be more enfolded into the community of the church? What are some things the elders can do to better shepherd you?
- In verse 5 Peter shifts to speaking to everyone in the body of Christ. Why is humility the number one character trait that should mark our relationships? Based on the passage, what are a couple of things that flow from humility?