Church Officers

The Bible teaches that Jesus is the Head of the church, and the church is His body. As members of His body, all Christians are to be doing “the work of ministry”. In this respect, all Christians are to be ministers of Christ.

However, the Bible also teaches that Christ has given the church the gift of leaders “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry” and “for the edifying of the body of Christ”. These men, called elders (interchangeable with the terms bishop, shepherd, overseer, pastor, and teacher) in the Bible, are called to teach, shepherd, equip, and lead the church in the work of ministry and the mission of making disciples.

It is evident the Holy Spirit intends by any of these different terms no distinction or preeminence of office among those that bear these characters, but they are all suited to the same office in its different respects. These ministers are sometimes called elders, because of their gravity and precedence in the house of God…and at other times bishops or overseers, because their work is to take oversight of the flock, and to acquit themselves as faithful watchmen who watch for the souls of the people committed to their trust, that they may give an account of them to the great Shepherd with joy, and not with grief. And because it is incumbent on them to feed the church with the words of eternal life, and to open the mind of God to them from the Scriptures that they may by their ministry be instructed unto His kingdom, they are also styled pastors and teachers. [Nehemiah Coxe, Biblical Elders and Deacons, 1688]