As in all areas of faith and practice we at Grace Fellowship look to the pattern of leadership set out for us in Scripture.
Consistently in the New Testament we see the call for a plurality of elders in every local church. The biblical terms of elder, shepherd (or pastor) and overseer are aspects of the same office, given to men charged with leading in the church according to specific biblical qualifications. (Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:17, 5:17; Tit. 1:5-9, 1 Pet. 5:1-5). The office of elder is two-fold as that of shepherd (care and guidance) and overseer (administration and governance). Equipping the saints to use their talents in ministry to build up the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-12) is the primary goal of the elders.
The second New Testament office is that of deacon, the two offices work in conjunction and agreement within the church, Paul gives us the connection between the elders and deacons (or “servants”) in the first verse of his epistle to the Philippians. In 1 Timothy 3:8-13 the character qualifications of the deacons are parallel to those of the elders, the only major difference is that elders must be able to teach. Working in cooperation, the officers of the church serve the body for the glory of God.
While there are only two explicit offices listed in Scripture, there are countless opportunities to serve in many different capacities for men and women. We are encouraged to labor alongside many faithful brothers and sisters in Christ for the sake of His kingdom and glory. Our ministry leaders use their gifts to serve the body and minister under the authority of the elders.