The Pilgrims’ Guidebook: Leadership

I Peter 5:1-4

If ordinary Christians are to stand firm during times of persecution, they must have good leadership. God has delegated the care of His people to church elders – and they are responsible for guarding them and feeding them. Sheep require a great deal of work and care, and shepherding is a demanding, full-time occupation. So we can see that being a Christian leader is hard, emotionally demanding work. It may also entail great personal risk, because during times of persecution leaders are the main targets! There can be only one good motive for taking on such a task: a great love for Christ (John 21:15-17).

An elder must accept his calling in the right spirit – not reluctantly, but willingly and cheerfully. He should undertake his ministry from the right motive: not out of an unscrupulous desire for money or power, but out of a desire to do God’s will. And he should exercise his authority in the right manner: not domineering, or creating a personality cult centred on himself. He is the servant of the congregation, not their master. Like any good eastern shepherd, (and unlike the scribes and Pharisees – Matthew 23:3,4!) he must lead from the front, by personal example (I Timothy 4:12). And he must always be aware of the One to whom he is accountable. Good and faithful shepherds will earn Jesus’ approval and will get an eternal reward for their service (Luke 12:42-44).

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