ELDERS / SHEPHERDS
God has always sought for good leaders to guide His people on this earth. In the New Testament, we see many examples of men called elders being appointed over each local church (Acts 14:23; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-11). These godly men are called by several different terms in the Bible which help us to understand more about what they do among and for the churches.
They are called:
- Pastors / Shepherds – Meaning shepherds that lovingly guide souls of the local congregation (Ephesians 4:11; Hebrews 13:7).
- Bishops – Meaning overseers of the local congregation (Acts 20:28).
- Elders – Meaning that they have wisdom and experience in living for Christ (Acts 20:17; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
We also see in the New Testament that men were appointed to assist the elders in their work. These men were called deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-13; Philippians 1:1). The meaning behind this word is two-fold, one being that he is simply one who serves the needs of others, and the second being one who executes the commands of another. Deacons follow the elders’ guidance and help to serve the congregation.