Life Group Discussion Guide for November 13, 2022
Life in the Lion’s Den: A Study of 1 Peter
Shepherding God’s Flock
1 Peter 5:1-5a
The church is not a “religious corporation” with the customary management structures of a modern business. The church is called to be a priesthood of all believers that respects the relational nature of the church as God’s family. Neither a church nor a family can function in healthy fashion when its leadership is autocratic, authoritarian, or oppressive. Both need humble, nurturing, and empowering leaders. As a “fellow elder” in the church, Peter gives Spirit-guided counsel in today’s text to church leaders about leading in the spirit of Jesus – the Good Shepherd of God’s flock.
Dinner Table Questions
– Who are some of the best church leaders you have known? How would you describe their personalities? Their “leadership style”? Why do you respect what you saw in them?
– Why do you think the NT model of church leadership affirms a plural leadership model?
A good place to begin the study of today’s text is to read John 10:11-18 very thoughtfully.
– How would you characterize the “leadership style” of Jesus?
– What do you hear in John 10 that is crucial for elder-shepherds in churches?
– Another background text to the study of 1 Peter 5 features the words of Jesus about how leadership in the Kingdom of God functions. Please read Matt 20:20-28; cf. Luke 22:24-27.
In addition to the “shepherd” imagery, Peter uses the term “elder” (presbyteros) here.
– What additional insight about church leadership comes from this term? (Does it refer simply to age and experience? Or is the focus on maturity and wisdom?)
– Peter describes himself as a “fellow elder” to his readers. He has already identified himself as an “apostle” (1:1a), so what is the point of using this second descriptive term?
The most important textual issue here involves the three negative-positive pairs of elder duties identified by Peter. Each is the “flip-side” of its paired item. Discuss the importance of each.
– “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”
For all the challenges that come with functioning as an elder-shepherd (and there are many of them!), what is the justifying reward Peter names for those who serve faithfully?
Why is humility the key responsibility of church members to their elders?
Monday Morning Questions
– Church leadership has been particularly difficult over the past couple of years – a global pandemic, polarizing political rhetoric, finding how to use effective electronic means of communication within churches, etc. Please close your Bible study with a time of serious prayer for the elder-shepherds of the Harpeth Hills church.
– How can you be more encouraging and helpful to our shepherds?