a primer on pastors (5)


NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow (Sun., Apr. 1). This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. The primary texts for this sermon are Luke 10.25-37, Ephesians 4.11-13, and 1 Thessalonians 5.12-13. This is the final sermon in a five-part series on elders/shepherds (A Primer for Pastors) and is entitled “To Care For and to Equip God’s People.” 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 bishop/elder/overseer/shepherd/steward.


He sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be least of all and the servant of all.” Jesus reached for a little child, placed him among the Twelve, and embraced him. Then he said, “Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me isn’t actually welcoming me but rather the one who sent me.” (Mark 9.35-37 CEB)

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10.41-45 NIV)

The Samaritan went to him and bandaged his wounds … Then he placed the wounded man on his own donkey, took him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day, he took two full days’ worth of wages and gave them to the innkeeper. He said, “Take care of him, and when I return, I will pay you back for any additional costs.” (Luke 10.34-35 CEB)

… how can they take care of God’s church? (1 Timothy 3.5 CEB)

So these were the gifts that he gave. Some were to be apostles, others prophets, others evangelists, and others pastors and teachers. Their job is to give God’s people the equipment they need for their work of service, and so to build up the king’s body. The purpose of this is that we should all reach unity in our belief and loyalty, and in knowing God’s Son. Then we shall reach the stature of the mature Man measured by the standards of the king’s fullness. (Ephesians 4.11-13 KNT)

Brothers and sisters, we ask you to respect those who are working with you, leading you, and instructing you. Think of them highly with love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. (1 Thessalonians 5.12-13 CEB)


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

1. Complete this sentence: “I feel like I’m truly cared for when __________.”

2. Tell us about some tool you often make use of in life. How would your life be different without it?


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

1. What is Jesus saying when he says to be “the least of all and the servant of all?” (Mk. 9.33-37)

2. How does Christ’s view of leadership differ from that of the world? Answer from Mark 10.41-45.

3. With Luke 10.34-35 and 1 Tim. 3.5 in view, what does it mean to “take care of” Christ’s church?

4. According to Eph. 4.11-13, what is the purpose of the church being gifted with pastors/teachers?

5. Specifically, how does the last, brief sentence of 1 Thes. 5.12-13 relate to the preceding two?


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

1. What does the church become when it is led by world-like leadership? When led as Christ leads?

2. How important to your faith is the inspiration you draw in from seeing others live out the faith?

3. How is your view of God helped by believing he is gifting you with what/who you need to mature?

4. Name something new you’ve learned about shepherds because of this study of elders/shepherds.

5. Name something you already knew about elders/shepherds that was reinforced by this study.

6. Finish this sentence: “Because of the role & responsibility of elders/shepherds, I will seek to _____.”

praying for a change (44)


These are the words of the one who holds God’s seven spirits and the seven stars: I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, and you are in fact dead. Wake up and strengthen whatever you have left, teetering on the brink of death, for I’ve found that your works are far from complete in the eyes of my God. So remember what you received and heard. Hold on to it and change your hearts and lives. … If you can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. (Revelation 3.1-3a,6 CEB)


I don’t want to live my life based on what others think of me.

I want to live my life based on my perception of you and your will which you reveal to me.

For you are the One who knows the real me.

You are the One who cares most of all whether I live or die.

So when I grow forgetful of you, joggle my memory and help me to remember what you’ve said.

When you bring to my mind your word, move me to grab it and not let go.

When I start to fall asleep at the wheel, shake me and wake me.

When I grow weak, fill me with your strength.

For I want your work in me to be unhindered and my works for you complete.


this went thru my mind


Commission: Called and Commissioned by Rubel Shelly

“The idea of leaving God’s work in the hands of a few talented professionals just isn’t biblical or practical.”

Dogs: Canaan Canine Faces Threat in Israel

“First-century rock drawings in the Sinai and more than 700 fifth-century B.C.E. canine skeletons … attest to the historical prominence of the Canaan dog, a pointy eared breed that has lived in Israel since Biblical time. … An online petition is raising awareness to protect Israel’s official breed, but a court decision could mark the end of an effort to sustain the ancient pedigree.”

Health: 4 Critical Gauges for Your Life and Work by Michael Nichols

“… a friend introduced me to 4 health gauges to assess my life and work – Physical, Mental, Spiritual, and Emotional. For more than 20 years, Bill Hybels has talked about these 4 gauges, but this was my first experience with them.”

Military service, pacifism & the American Civil WarTolbert Fanning–Advocate for Peace in 1861 by John Mark Hicks. Links to parts onetwothreefourfivesix & seven.

“Fanning, shaped by evangelists associated with [Barton W.] Stone and mentored by Alexander Campbell … was David Lipscomb’s mentor. … Fanning was a unique theological combination of Stone and Campbell and this was the legacy he left to many leaders in Middle Tennessee. … Though … Middle Tennessee voted 88% for secession in June [1861]. In this climate, Fanning attempted to persuade his readers to choose peace.”

Parenting: Brainwashing our Kids with Religion by Jared Byas

“How do you teach your kids about Jesus but also teach them to think for themselves? … For our family, we have decided that we are Christians and that we will raise our children as Christians. But along with our personal beliefs and the Christian tradition, we will indoctrinate them with a Christian faith that (1) respects religious diversity, (2) respects Christian diversity, and (3) humbly accepts they might be wrong.”

Prejudice: Ethnocentrism & Politics by Richard Beck

“Ethnocentrism is a mental habit. It is a predisposition to divide the human world into in-groups and out-groups. It is a readiness to reduce society to us and them. Or rather, it is a readiness to reduce society to us versus them.”

Productivity: 5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Nap Every Day by Michael Hyatt

“Did you know those who take a midday siesta at least three times a week are 37 percent less likely to die of heart disease? Working men are 64 percent less likely!”

Questions: 7 Suggestions for Asking More Powerful Questions by Michael Hyatt

“If you are going to be a successful leader, you are going to have to learn how to ask good questions. Here are seven tips for taking this skill to the next level.”

Receptivity & success: When to Wipe Our Shoes: What Does “Receptive” Mean? by Dan Bouchelle

“Jesus gives us a number for what defines receptivity: one.”

Sabbatical: My Monthly Trip To The Monastery by Brian Jones

“I’ve found that if I don’t get away about once a month and “clear my head” by refocusing and reprioritizing what’s on my plate, I lose my mind.

Self-control & spiritual disciplinesWhat Neuroscience Tells Us about Lenten Disciplines by Rob Moll

“Neuroscience sheds light on how fasting and other spiritual disciplines work by training our subconscious mental processes. We think of ourselves as entirely the activity of our conscious thoughts. In reality, our brain has thousands of sub-conscious processes going on all the time.”

The tree of lifeThe Tree of Life by Richard Oster

“What one discovers is that nations of the Ancient Near East also had traditions about sacred trees, trees of life. … This reality does not “prove” that Israel’s understanding of the tree of life was borrowed from anyone else, but it does suggest at the least that the belief in the sacred tree was part of the religious lingua franca of both Israel and the Ancient Near East.”