Selecting Your Shepherd

In our faith journey, the leaders we choose play a crucial role in shaping our spiritual growth and community. The passage from 1 Peter 5:1-4 provides a profound insight into the qualities we should look for in our shepherds or pastors. Peter, drawing from his experiences and teachings of Jesus, outlines the characteristics that define a true leader of the church.

Single Headship, Plural Leadership

Peter emphasizes the importance of single headship with plural leadership within the church, mirroring the structure seen in the Trinity, the family, the universal church, and the local church. This means while there is one head, the leadership is shared among multiple elders, each bringing their unique strengths and perspectives. This approach ensures a balanced and holistic governance of the church.

Qualities of a Shepherd

Willingness to Serve: A shepherd must oversee the flock not out of obligation but willingly, as God desires. This willingness reflects a genuine calling and passion for the ministry rather than a mere duty.

Eagerness to Serve: True leaders serve eagerly, not for personal gain but for the joy and fulfilment of serving others. This eagerness should stem from a heart dedicated to God’s work.

Leading by Example: Shepherds should be exemplary in their conduct, setting a standard for the congregation to follow. Their lives should reflect the teachings of Christ in both actions and words.

Avoiding Domineering Behaviour: Leadership should not be about exerting power or control but about guiding and nurturing the flock with humility and respect.

Practical Application

In our church, this principle is put into practice through regular meetings between elders and financial officers to discuss governance and resource allocation. This ensures that decisions are made collectively, reflecting the plurality of leadership.


Selecting the right shepherd is vital for the spiritual health and growth of a church. The qualities Peter outlines provide a clear guideline for what to look for in a pastor: willingness, eagerness to serve, exemplary conduct, and humility. By adhering to these principles, churches can ensure they have leaders who are truly committed to God’s work and the well-being of their congregation.

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