1. In these four verses, Peter gives some direct teaching toward “elders” in the church.  From your experience and what you have read in other places in the Scripture, what is an Elder?  (For help, you may want to read 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, Acts 20:13-38)
  2. According to 1 Peter 5:1-4, what are some of the characteristics of a good Elder?
  3. Peter begins in 5:1 by appealing to them as “one of them.”  This is an interesting thing for him to say because Peter was most likely the only one in these churches who had seen Christ face to face.  He certainly was the only one in these churches who carried the title of “Apostle.”  As Peter approaches them, however, he comes as a co-laborer, not as someone who was “higher and holier” than they were.  What does this tell you about the nature of Christian leadership in the church?
  4. 5:2 reminds the leaders in the churches that all the people (i.e. the flock) are God’s, not theirs.  This is an extremely important reminder.  What would be some of the implications if Christian leaders viewed their congregations as “theirs” not God’s?
  5. In 5:2b-3, Peter shares a series of contrasts that should mark the Christian leader in the church.  The leader is to serve willingly, not under compulsion.  Paul Cedar says of this statement, “I have counseled with many pastors who . . . feel that they are imprisoned by their calling to ministry.  They would prefer to be somewhere else, they are not enjoying their ministry, or they are in a difficult situation from which they would like to escape.  To them, ministry has become mere drudgery.  It need not be so!  Peter reminds us that we should serve the Lord and tend His flock willingly . . . The Lord does not force us or coerce us to be involved in ministry.  He calls us and invites us to ministry, but we have the freedom of saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’!”  Many of you reading these questions are not serving as Pastors or Elders of churches, but most of you reading this are SERVING in some capacity in the church.  If leaders are supposed to lead willingly, how much more should this principle apply to those who are serving in other ways (beside leadership)?  How does this truth impact you as it pertains to serving in the church?
  6. Another of the commands in 5:2 is that the Elder is to serve enthusiastically, not just for selfish gain (monetary gain).  While this certainly applies to church staff who serve as Pastors merely for the paycheck, it also could apply to anyone who serves just for their own selfish gain (i.e. so that people will applaud them or they would have a position of influence.)  As you serve or lead, are you serving enthusiastically the needs of others, or are you serving merely to receive the “paycheck” of affirmation or influence?
  7. A third command comes in 5:3 as Elders are instructed to be an example, not a domineering leader.  In what ways does the life of a leader (their example) back up and support their message?  In what ways is your “message” supported by your life?
  8. Finally, this passage concludes with a promise of a crown of glory when Jesus returns to those who serve faithfully in the church.  How does knowing that there is a future reward motivate you to serve in Christ’s Church today?

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