What is an Elder?
The elders are members of the body who provide general watch-care and oversight. They continually evaluate the teaching ministry of the church and review major ministry decisions and strategic initiatives. They use their wisdom, discernment and shepherding gifts to ensure the church remains on a true course biblically and that the life of the church is being well managed with the assistance of other competent and godly leaders. Scripture indicates that the ultimate decision-making authority in the church rests with the elders.
Scripture also states the role of elder is equal to that of an overseer. Paul tells us that “if anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task” (1 Timothy 3:1). They are to care about the spiritual and physical well-being of members, regularly praying for the sick. They are to guard the body against harmful influences, confronting those who are contradicting biblical truth or who are continuing in patterns of sinful behavior. In doing so, they are to continually close potential entrances for Satan, so that the truth of Christ will remain credible to both the congregation and the community (1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 20:28-31; Titus 1:9; James 5:14).