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; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 1 Peter 5:2-3 (NIV)
Even the most mature Christians have their battles, and if you are aware of the struggles that leaders face, it will help you to pray for them. What struggles do they face? Peter identifies three:
1. Loss of vision
“Be shepherds of God’s flock… not because you must but because you are willing” (5:2).
You set out with vision and passion to serve Christ, but after 5, 10, or 20 years it becomes a job you have to do—another meeting, another sermon, another counseling session. That kind of attitude kills ministry. Peter says, “Don’t get lazy. Make sure your heart is in it.”
2. Desire for gain
“Not greedy for money, but eager to serve” (5:2).
Christ wants you to be eager to serve. You can’t do ministry if you are always asking, “What do I get out of it?” Ministry begins when you start asking, “What can I put into it?”
3. Abuse of power
“Not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (5:3).
Lording over others is telling everybody else what to do, when you don’t do it yourself. That’s hypocrisy. The greatest challenge for any Christian leader is to practice what we preach. This is true for a pastor, elder, missionary, small group leader, or Sunday school teacher.
Pray by name for your Christian leaders that they will be strongly motivated, deeply contented, and truly authentic.