Summary: 'How to Be a Good Shepherd' 1 Peter chapter 5 verses 1-4 - sermon by Gordon Curley (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


• The reason for having elders (vs 1)

• The responsibility of elders (vs 2-3)

• The reward of the elders (vs 4)



• I like the story of the shepherd woke up one afternoon having enjoyed a deep sleep,

• Realising the situation, he panicked in case somebody had stolen his sheep.

• So quickly he started to count them, “1, 2, 3, Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”

• TRANSITION: This little section of Peter’s letter is about Church leaders,

• But that does not mean the rest of you can fall asleep!

• Peter has something still to say to each one of us!

The New Testament uses five different Greek words to describe church leadership.

• Elder – 1 Peter chapter 5 verse 1.

• Deacon – Philippians chapter 1 verse 1.

• Overseer (the KJV uses the word bishop) – 1 Timothy chapter 3 verse 1.

• Pastor – Ephesians chapter 4 verse 11.

• Teacher – James chapter 3 verse 1.

In our Bible passage this morning we will be focussing on just one of them.

• In this chapter Peter uses the Greek word used is ‘presbuteros’

• Which is often translated as “Elder” or “Eldership”

• Both English words sound very outdated terms for our modern times.

• ill: I confess that when I describe how our Church operates to non-Christians,

• Or those with little Bible knowledge,

• I often say that we have a leadership team,

• Everyone seems to understand that description.


• Elders are simply leaders, chosen for their wisdom and spiritual maturity,

• Now I can see you lot looking at me and asking, “How did you get the gig!”

• In reply to that query, “I think I must have drawn the short straw!”


• The qualifications of elders are set out in 1 Timothy chapter 3 and Titus chapter 1,

• The qualifications stress the character of the elder.

• Not their education or business skills but their character.

• I have never met an elder yet who has all twenty-one of the characteristics mentioned,

• In those two lists, we all fall far short.

• But this is the ideal.

• e.g., Just like you will not find a woman who has all the characteristics of proverbs 31,

• It is the ideal to aim at,

• Many scholars believe this chapter speaks of a group of women not just one lady!

• Likewise, when it comes to elders in a Church,

• You will not find a man who has all twenty-one of the characteristics mentioned.

• But the plurality in leadership means that together,

• They should be able to work together to demonstrate all those qualities mentioned.

• So please don’t expect perfection in your leaders,

• None of us are perfect, that is not an excuse but a fact.

• You are not the perfect congregation, so why do you expect them to be perfect leaders?

• But as a rule of thumb, the leaders will have many of the qualifications listed,

• And as mentioned these qualifications have to do with their character,

• Above everything else.

This little section of Peter’s letter is about Church leaders,

• You might be thinking, what does this have to do with suffering?

• Which is what we looked at last week in chapter 4 (verses 12-19).

• Has Peter gone off on a theological tangent?

• Well, the answer is No,

• If you scan down to verse 9b you will see that Peter is still talking about suffering,

• As he concludes his letter.

“…you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

Notice the first word of verse 1, “so” or “therefore,”

• That word again shows to us that this section is not disconnected,

• To the theme of having hope during hard times.

• The context of these verses are Christians are facing Persecution,

• Which Peter described as, “a fiery ordeal” (chapter 4 verses 12).

• Life was hard and about to get a lot harder.

• These Christians were also told to get their act, their lives together (chapter 4 verses 17).

• “For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us.”

• So, Peter tells them to watch their lifestyles.

• And to help the Church survive persecution and remain holy,

• God has given the Church leaders who will guide, encourage and care for the flock.

• Quote: Henry Ford that great theologian, ok maker of cars.:

• “Coming together is a beginning; staying together is progress; working together is success.”

• Shepherds are needed all the more during hard times,

• The Shepherds would have a bullseye on their back for the persecutors to aim out,

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