We are in the semifinal of our Exiles series. For this thirteenth week of exploring God’s plan for Christians exiles in 1st Peter, Brandon Clements talked us through what the Bible says about those called and equipped to be elders in our church family. The fundamental question that we explored this week was this: according to the Bible, what makes a pastor? We use this passage and others at Midtown to discern what the job of being a pastor/elder looks like for our church family, and we came to a few distinct conclusions:
1.) There should be multiple elders
The consistent biblical model for church leadership is a team of elders where each elder
contributes their unique giftedness and strength in a way that covers the weaknesses of
the others. This ensures that even at the micro-level, our church family is operating and
function as a family; multiple believers working together for the glory of God.
2.) Elders are to be charged with shepherding the flock and exercising oversight
Just like family is the primary picture in the New Testament for the church, shepherding
is the primary picture for pastoring. Elders/pastors shepherd through the teaching of
God’s Word, by guiding or steering church family, by protecting the family against false
teachings or selfish division, and by being an active part of family life.
3.) Elders should lead willingly, and not under compulsion
Elders are not forced to “eld,” but do so voluntarily and according to their calling and
equipping that comes from God. For Midtown, this means that elders and pastors are
leading and pastoring our church family long before they come on staff. Coming on staff
as an elder or pastor is only a response of affirmation that a pastor or elder had already
been voluntarily leading our church family in sacrificial ways before they are being paid
4.) Elders should lead eagerly, and not for shameful gain
Elders are called to lead eagerly, or with a “cheerful readiness.” You have to want to
pastor people for the right reasons. Elders and pastors don’t do so to exercise a
celebrity status, or to make a hefty salary, but because they have a cheerful readiness to
shepherd their church family in sacrificial ways.
5.) Elders should lead as examples to the flock
Elders and pastors shall not stand above their flock with prideful superiority. There is nothing that an elder or pastor asks of you that they are not already doing themselves. All of our pastors at Midtown are actively in or leading a Lifegroup, giving of their finances to the church, and serving our family sacrificially outside the bounds of their job titles. And above all of this, Jesus is our chief shepherd; our head pastor. He never lacks in leadership and will never lead us astray. His guidance is perfect and His example to the flock is totally sufficient. The elders and pastors do their best, but when they fail, we have assurance in the gospel that Jesus is doing a good work among our elders and church family regardless.
Songs from this week:
Jesus! –Citizens and Saints
What a Beautiful Name- Hillsong Worship
Saviour King- Hillsong Chapel
Jesus Thank You- Sovereign Grace Music