Summary: A sermon about the role of the elders.
Who is the “Church Boss”?
Have you seen the new TV show called Undercover boss? It’s about good bosses. The contrast to that is the Annual "Worst boss" contest. One of the best-selling business books in 1996 was called "Best Boss, Worst Boss" by management techniques expert Jim Miller. The book grew out of a contest he began in 1992 to find the worst boss in America. The 1996 winner is from the East coast.
He is an office manager who schedules fake business trips so he can spend time with another woman.
He forcibly kisses secretaries on the lips.
He wears the same clothes all week, coughs in employees' faces, and acts as though this is normal.
AND, he rigs company raffles and keeps the merchandise for himself.
To determine which sandwich is his in the fast food order, he takes a bite out of each one.
Having a rotten boss did pay off for the anonymous employee who submitted his name for the contest.
He won a one-week trip for two to Hawaii.
What does it take to be a boss?
Adolf Hitler in the fall of 1942 was on a train going to his new headquarters. His army was in trouble at Stalingrad—the Russian Front. On Nov. 7, 1942, as he was sitting down to supper in the rosewood paneled diner of his special train, a freight car happened to stop on an adjacent track. The car contained a company of starving and wounded soldiers returning from the eastern front, who naturally stared in
astonishment at the Fuhrer in his diner just a few yards away. Without as much as a gesture of greeting in their direction, Hitler "ordered the servant to close the shades."
God's view of leadership is different. Peter is going to describe for us the people who we hopefully have leading our church.
First of all…notice the THEREFORE in vs. 1. What does this issue of elders in the church have to do with the troubles and tribulations that Peter writes about in the previous verses? Well, realizing the trouble that life brings, you need a strong church that is looking out for your spiritual and emotional health. You need church leaders who care about you. Just like in our country, we find out who the real leaders are in times of war…you will find out the true spiritual leaders of the church in times of trouble.
I like to think of what Churchill said when he crossed the Atlantic after Pearl Harbor and gave a magnificent speech. He said we haven’t journeyed this far because we’re made of sugar candy.
It’s as true today as it ever was. We haven’t journeyed this far because we’re made of sugar candy. Hard times demand strong leaders who will rise to the challenge. That was true in the first century and it is still true today. This is where our text comes into sharp focus because it deals with leaders who respond with cool, calm, confident courage when the going gets tough. This is a word from the Lord we all need to hear.
I have discovered that there is a whole lot of confusion when it comes to the names that are used for leadership in the local church. There are bishops and elders, deacons, presbyters, session members, trustees, sextons, priests, pastors, and the list goes on. Part of the confusion lies in the way a church is organized and what boards they have. Part of it comes from the fact that states require someone to be called a trustee in order for that church to incorporate as a non-profit. Sometimes a church wants to use only Bible names and transliterate presbyter or deacon.
Here in I Peter 5:1-5, there are three words used:
PRESBUTEROS = Elder (plural in vs. 1 & 5) = refers to maturity, spiritual and physical.
(Actually, the word “PRIEST” is a shortened version of this word Presbyter!)
EPISKOPOS = the verb in vs. 2 for oversight = overseer
POIMENOS = shepherd. It is translated in Ephesians 4:11 as pastor—possibly the only place in
the New Testament where it refers to an office, not a function. By the turn of the first century, church writings frequently refer to the office of pastor in local churches.
We don’t know much about shepherding in our present day culture. Back when Peter wrote, everybody knew what shepherding involved. The patriarchs were primarily shepherds. Until Christ called himself the Good Shepherd, the job was one of the lowest socially. But the New testament is filled with the idea of shepherding the church == feeding, caring, watching, guiding…
These three words appear to be interchangeable in the New Testament. For example…in I Peter 5:2, the elders are told to oversee and pastor the flock.