a primer on pastors (1)


NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow (Sun., Mar. 4) as well as in the gathering in our auditorium at 6:00 p.m. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning from 1 Timothy 3.1-7 and Titus 1.5-9. This is the first sermon in a five part series on elders/shepherds entitled a A Primer on Pastors. You’ll find these LIFE group discussion guides categorized each week here on my site under the category title LIFE group guides.


To lay down a basic understanding of the work of a church elder/overseer/shepherd/supervisor.


This saying is reliable: if anyone has a goal to be a supervisor in the church, they want a good thing. So the church’s supervisor must be without fault. They should be faithful to their spouse, sober, modest, and honest. They should show hospitality and be skilled at teaching. They shouldn’t be addicted to alcohol or a bully. Instead they should be gentle, peaceable, and not greedy. They should manage their own household well—they should see that their children are obedient with complete respect, because if they don’t know how to manage their own household, how can they take care of God’s church? They shouldn’t be new believers so that they won’t become proud and fall under the devil’s spell. They should also have a good reputation with those outside the church so that they won’t be embarrassed and fall into the devil’s trap. (1 Timothy 3.1-7 CEB)

The reason I left you behind in Crete was to organize whatever needs to be done and to appoint elders in each city, as I told you. Elders should be without fault. They should be faithful to their spouse, and have faithful children who can’t be accused of self-indulgence or rebelliousness. This is because supervisors should be without fault as God’s managers: they shouldn’t be stubborn, irritable, addicted to alcohol, a bully, or greedy. Instead, they should show hospitality, love what is good, and be reasonable, ethical, godly, and self-controlled. They must pay attention to the reliable message as it has been taught to them so that they can encourage people with healthy instruction and refute those who speak against it. (Titus 1.5-9 CEB)


Icebreaker questions are meant to help us all start talking. Choose one of the following to discuss as a group.

1. Tell us of an important life lesson that someone older than you taught you.

2. Tell us about someone you are very thankful for having known that has led you in some fashion.


These questions are intended to help us grapple with Scripture related to this morning’s sermon. Choose some.

1. Timothy was in Ephesus; Titus was on Crete. How were their contexts or needs similar/different?

2. Why did the churches to whom Timothy and Titus ministered need elders?

3. The lists in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 are similar, but differ. How do they differ? Why?

4. Contrast the traits of elders in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 with the traits of Timothy and Titus’ opponents as described throughout the course of the letters of 1 Timothy and Titus.

5. What others passages aside from 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 do you recall that speak directly to the work of elders?


These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us through his word. Choose some.

1. Recall something positive you’ve personally experienced thru the work of elders. Share it with us.

2. The following are NT terms used of elders: elder, overseer, pastor, shepherd, steward, and supervisor. Why do you suppose we almost always use the word “elder” instead of other terms?

3. The 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 lists stress character qualities. Which traits stand out to you? Why?

4. The vast majority of these traits are qualities expected of all Christians. What does that say to you?

5. No one can ace a single character quality listed. How does this affect your perception of elders?

6. The lists in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 emphasize what an elder should be. What’s an elder to do?

7. What might you surmise are the biggest challenges and points of greatest satisfaction for elders?

8. How does the church most often pray for its elders? How could/ought a church pray for them?

9. What can you do to help develop/nurture godly individuals who may someday serve as elders?

praying for a change (16)


This is why I speak to the crowds in parables: although they see, they don’t really see; and although they hear, they don’t really hear or understand. What Isaiah prophesied has become completely true for them:

“You will hear, to be sure, but never understand; and you will certainly see but never recognize what you are seeing. For this people’s senses have become calloused, and they’ve become hard of hearing, and they’ve shut their eyes so that they won’t see with their eyes or hear with their ears or understand with their minds, and change their hearts and lives that I may heal them.”

Happy are your eyes because they see. Happy are your ears because they hear. I assure you that many prophets and righteous people wanted to see what you see and hear what you hear, but they didn’t.” (Matthew 13.13-17 CEB)

Lord Jesus,

You have given me eyes to see and ears to hear.



You have blessed me so!

May I never forget why you have given me this joy.

Because I have shown some semblance of being receptive to your working change in my heart and healing in my life.

May I never grow numb or past feeling to you or your will for me.

Increase my sensitivity, Lord!

I want to understand you better than I have before.

I want to recognize your will when I encounter it more today than yesterday.

I want to be filled with you.


this went thru my mind


Anger: 2 issues hiding behind your anger by Doug Fields

“The default question most people ask is ‘What?’ What triggered my anger? That’s not a good question. It’s too easy! It’s too general! It’s not that helpful. … The why question forces you to peel back a layer from the surface and look inside your heart. Instead of asking what triggered me [that’s too easy]… ask, ‘Why did that trigger me?’ When you ask what… you’ll continue to blame the triggers… and that won’t help you stop the pain.”

Anti-intellectualism: * The Bondage of Ignorance by Paul Smith * Colleges Viewed Positively, But Conservatives Express Doubts – Pew Research study

* “I point all of this out simply to illustrate the folly of a life that is content only with maintaining a level of knowledge that was obtained in the last century, the last decade, or last year, or last week.”

* “There were substantial differences among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in opinions about the effects of colleges and universities: Just 38% of those who agree with the Tea Party viewed their impact positively; that compared with 62% of Republicans and leaners who do not agree with the Tea Party.”

Availability: The Trap of Availability by Sam Rainer

“How do leaders—especially pastors—balance a desire to be there for people without falling into the trap of endless availability?”

Burnout: Turning Pickle Barrels into Wine Casks by Dan Rockwell

“Burnout is more about organizations than individuals.”

Change: Why Change is So Hard for God’s People by Joe McKeever

“It’s a common perception in our churches that the Lord’s people seem to be resistant to change. And there is certainly plenty of anecdotal evidence, as flockless shepherds step up to tell how they lost their pulpits when they tried to change a schedule or a program. But, look around at the people attending our churches. They seem to handle change fairly well in other areas of their lives.”

Communion: 3 Reasons I Don’t Discourage Non-Christians From Taking The Lord’s Supper by Brian Jones

“I’ll share three reasons why I don’t discourage non-Christians from taking the Lord’s Supper …”

Depression: What To Do About Your Depression by Joe McKeever

“The Bible has great powers, and Scripture can do many things. In some cases, no doubt, memorizing or quoting or meditating upon God’s Word does indeed banish the “blues.” But to make it a panacea, a cure-all, for all kinds of depressions is not wise.”

Forgiveness: Ohio School Shooting: Parents of Slain Student Forgive Suspected Shooter TJ Lane

“You have to accept things done and move on. … I would tell him I forgive him because, a lot of times, they don’t know what they’re doing. That’s all I’d say. I taught Demetrius not to live in the past, to live in today and forgiveness is divine. You have to forgive everything. God’s grace is new each and every day. … Until you’ve walked in another person’s shoes, you don’t know what made him come to this point.”

Gossip: GCB: Desperate Christian Housewives by Mark Moring

“If Sunday’s pilot episode of GCB is any indication, it not only highlights the problem of gossip in the church, but underscores it with audacity and an exclamation point.”

Just for fun: How Waiters Read Your Table

“If a waiter reads the needs of your table correctly, you’re likely to end up with a good experience. Inadvertently giving off the wrong signals can doom a table to service that’s too rushed, too slow or just off kilter. Here, how to work the system.”

Leadership: Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Leaders by Steven James

“Time-tested practices to ensure complete and utter failure.”

Millenials: Millennials Will Benefit And Suffer Due to Hyperconnected Lives

“Teens and young adults brought up from childhood with a continuous connection to each other and to information will be nimble, quick-acting multitaskers who count on the Internet as their external brain and who approach problems in a different way from their elders, according to a new survey of technology experts. … But the experts in this survey also predicted this generation will exhibit a thirst for instant gratification and quick fixes, a loss of patience, and a lack of deep-thinking ability due to what one referred to as ‘fast-twitch wiring.'”

Nationalism: No More Cheesy Fourth of July Church Services, Please by Brian Jones

“Don’t get me wrong. Fourth of July is a great holiday to celebrate, but never, under any circumstances, at any time, in any way, inside the confines of a church building and endorsed by a community of followers of Jesus Christ. Never. No way. Forever, and ever, amen. There are three reasons a Fourth of July service is just a really bad idea.”

Worship: * Is the Sunday assembly worship? by Timothy Archer * The difference between worship and Worship by Timothy Archer

* “Not argumentative. Information seeking.”

* “Can we make a biblical case for such a separation?”