This lesson considers what an elder's work really is in the church by examining the three Greek words used to describe this "office."
Servant Leaders: The Role, Function, or Work of Elders
Three Words Emphasizing Roles (See Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-5)
- PRESBUTEROS: Presbyter or Elder
- Proverbs 31:23; Ruth 4:1-12
- EPISKOPOS: Bishop or Overseer
- POIMEN: Pastor or Shepherd
- Peacemakers and Decision-makers—They use sound judgment to make decisions and settle conflict according to the Word of God and experience.
- Stewards or Superintendents—They are entrusted by God with this work, and given the authority from Him to carry it out.
- Hebrews 13:7—Does not “Lord it over” the flock as a “master” or “dictator.”
- 3 John 9-11
- Servants and Teachers–They care for, lead, and instruct the flock.
- 1 Peter 5:1-5; John 10:1-14; John 13:12-17
- 1 Thessalonians 5:12-14; Ephesians 4:11
- Acts 20:29-30; Titus 1:10-11
- Should we call them “Elders” or “Shepherds?”
IV. The Roles in Action and Practicality
- Elders are not perfect.
- The role of the elder focuses on the SPIRITUAL, but they are accountable for the physical, too.
- Activities associated with “the elders?”
- Other activities less commonly considered…
- Elders, Overseers, Shepherds should…
- –Take Heed to themselves (Acts 20:28)
- –Take Heed to/Shepherd the Flock (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2)
- –Teach (Eph. 4:12)
- –Admonish (1 Thess. 5:12)
- –Labor among the brethren (1 Thess. 5:12-13)
- –Convict those who contradict (Titus 1:9)
- –Pray for the sick (James 5:14)
- –Be examples (1 Peter 5:3)
- –Send forth (1 Tim. 4:14)
- –Oversee physical gifts or finances (Acts 11:27-30)
- –Watch for wolves (Acts 20:29)
- –Support the weak (Acts 20:35)
- –Stop mouths of idle talkers/deceivers (Titus 1:10-11)
- –Watch for souls (Heb. 13:17)
- –Give an account to God for their oversight (Heb. 13:17)
- –Rule (1 Timothy 5:17), but not as Lords (1 Peter 5:3)