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?
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?