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 _____.”