We believe the Bible teaches that a team of biblically qualified elders is to lead the local church, men who are equal in authority, serving as under-shepherds to the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
[Note: This is a quick summary statement of what the Bible teaches about elders. For an exposition showing the biblical basis for this, see the “What Is Biblical Eldership?” section of this website.]
God’s word speaks of elders in the plural who share in the overall governance of the church.
Although elders may function differently according to their gifting, all are needed to provide overall responsibility and authority to lead the church.
Scripture lays out explicit teaching on elder qualification (or characteristics) for those who shepherd the local church.
Elders are to be males, as taught in Scripture. While women may serve in many roles in the church, God has ordained that men, and not women, are to serve in the overall governing and teaching roles.
The Office & Work
The office of elder is to be distinguished from the spiritual gift of pastor or pastor-teacher (which an elder may or may not have). Any who serve with the gift of pastor or pastor-teacher do so under the authority of the elders. Further, the work of elder is to be distinguished also from the work of deacon.
The elder who rules, teaches or preaches well is worthy of financial support (i.e. “double honor” see 1 Tim. 5:17-18), so that he may serve the church more fully. Such an individual serves under the authority of the elders as a whole and does not supplant but supplements the elders’ pastoral ministry.
The biblical terms elder, overseer, bishop and the contemporary terms shepherd-elder and pastor-elder all refer to the same individuals.