Search the site:


This page last revised: Oct. 8, 2020

See notes at the bottom on downloading and using this book, including revising and translating it.

The Elders

A study on I Peter 5:1-5

for Church leaders and others

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2) Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers -- not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3) not lor ding it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.  4) And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. 5) Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older.  All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."   I Peter 5:1-5 niv 


This study for servant leaders among God's people is based on I Peter 5:1-5. These timeless principles are for church leaders of any day, in any place. Further, while this text was written to church leaders it applies to Christians in any leadership position including the home, business, politics, and so forth.

In a unique way, I Peter 5:1-5 combines a look at the heart of a leader, his responsibilities, and leadership structures in the church.

There is a serious vacuum in today's church. Many have little understanding of the responsibility leaders are given. Frequently "elders" are called more on the basis of popularity or power, than because of their spiritual gifts, wisdom, discernment, vision and leadership ability. Many prefer to maintain favor with the people rather than representing the voice of God to the flock.

Not many men have the qualifications for, and the calling to, Biblical eldership. It is a special calling - - one which must be taken seriously by all. This gifting and calling is foundational for any church that is serious about fulfilling God's purposes.

This study might appear to challenge some of the church offices or titles we use today. Let's not focus on that. The important thing is to fulfill the functions of leadership. If we use a different term for certain functions in the church, it's not a problem. Call the office what you will - - let's just be certain we are fulfilling the responsibilities of leadership in a Godly way!

I wrote this in 1992 when Elaine and I lived in Kenya and served the Church there, and it had minor revisions after that. I would certainly say some thing differently if I were writing it today but i think you'll find it helpful. Use it in any way that serves you, and those you serve.
You may download and save it and may revise or translate it free and without further permission. It is posted here in three forms for your convenience.
  - A 97-2003 WORD document that is "locked" so that the text can't be revised.  
The same document that is "open," meaning that you can revise it. It will lose it's formatting very quickly when you start to work on it.
  - A PDF, which is the best for printing.and for following links.  


Contact me with comments or questions.

Ken Stoltzfus,, P.O. Box 228, Kidron, OH 44636 USA.

Friends of