The Need for Elders – Oversight (Leading)

Posted: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 in Church, Pastoral, Sermons

“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight… (1 Peter 5:2a)

Leading is Peter’s primary idea in “exercising oversight.”  As chosen and called by God, “the elders” are to provide pastoral oversight to the local church in leading and managing the flock (Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24: hegeomai – lead, rule, govern).  I like what Alexander Strauch says concerning leading:

A healthy, growing flock of sheep doesn’t just appear; it is the result of the shepherd’s skillful management of sheep and resources. He knows sheep and is skillful in caring for them. A good shepherd elder knows people. He knows how sensitive they are. He knows their needs, troubles, weaknesses, and sins. He knows how they can hurt one another. He knows how stubborn they can be. He knows how to deal with people. He knows that they must be slowly and patiently led. He knows when to be tough and when to be gentle. He knows peoples’ needs and what must be done to meet those needs. He knows how to accurately assess the health and direction of the congregation. And when he doesn’t know these things, he is quick to find answers.[1]

That is why we see so many of the qualifications of elders directed towards leadership.  An elder must be able to manage his own household well in order to manage the flock of God (1 Timothy 3:4, 5).  He should “rule well” (1 Tim. 5:17) and will be above reproach as God’s steward or manager (Titus 1:7).  This leadership takes hard work.  Paul encouraged those at Thessalonica to  “respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).  Hard work was important to Paul.  As we will see later, there is no place for laziness in shepherding.  Paul wrote to Timothy, “The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).

So the elder is one who leads by example, who demonstrates diligence in studies and who invests time with each and every person in the flock in order to know them and for them to know him.  That is hard work – but work an elder joyfully seeks and endures for the glory of Christ and His church.


[1] Strauch, Biblical Eldership, 26.

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