On the day we affirm our church’s elders and deacons, we recognize those men with responsibilities without creating a division in the body. In our salvation and worship there is no “us/them,” but we all. There is no holy hierarchy by office, even if there is an authority with higher accountability for those holding office.
Shepherds are to shepherd the flock of God they are among; it’s not remote work. While they exercise oversight, they must not be “domineering over those in (their) charge, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:1-4). Shepherds have a “chief Shepherd,” He who is the head of the Body, to whom they will give an account and from whom they will receive a crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4) (or not, 1 Corinthians 3:13-15, 4:5).
At times in church history shepherds have kept away the sheep from full participation at the Lord’s Supper, often by giving bread but not wine, sometimes giving neither but eating and drinking in front of those who were deemed less worthy. Some shepherds have elevated themselves as the important Christians, as “clergy.” But we acknowledge the priesthood of all believers.
We are all witnesses to the sufferings of Christ, through the faith once for all delivered to the saints not just the pastors. So we all are charged to clothe ourselves with humility toward one another because “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:6). The humble share His joy, and He lifts up their heads at the proper time.