Name Tags: You Are... (Part 34)
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ's sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, watching over them--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
Peter, the man Christ chose to lead His church, describes himself simply as an elder: not as head pastor or God's #1. If you're not scared to question earth's systems or the framework of most modern churches, you'll discover the office of pastor is not found in the New Testament church.*
Why? Because power can corrupt pastors. Peter, Paul and Jude warned their tender flocks about leaders seeking personal gain. Therein, the earliest congregations were shepherded by a group of elders: humble men and good examples of Christ; men appointed through prayer and fasting.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Some of you are or will be elders. But even if it's not official, you need to behave like you're elders.** Because our world (and much of the church) behave like spoiled, self-seeking children. And children certainly need elders, so show them Someone good to follow.
Note to every hard-working pastor: I am not criticizing your role. Instead, I thank you, because it's hard. You're doing your best to serve the Lord in today's prevailing church system. Just avoid the title's temptations, and share your duties with true elders.
To Be Continued...
* Excellent, referenced article and worth the read: Leadership in the Early Church: http://www.voiceofonecrying.com/leadership_in_the_early_church.htm
* Another good article: Why do Christians focus on pastors when the Bible doesn't?
** Scriptures about elders and their qualifications: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Titus+1%3A5-9%3B+1+Tim.+3%3A1-7%3B+1+Peter+5%3A1-4&version=NIV
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Name Tags: You Are... series.