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What Does the Bible Say About..Elders?

Is it biblically necessary for a congregation to have Elders or a Council, besides the pastor? The church I'm attending has 1 deacon, and 1 pastor and 1 secretary and 1 assistant pastor. There is no council to bring questions forth to, nor are there council meetings.

Answer

It is possible for a congregation to exist without elders. It would appear, though, that congregations without elders should be working toward developing men who could become elders. Paul put such a high priority on it that he assigned one of his most trusted associates, Titus, to appoint elders in the congregations in Cyprus (Titus 1:5). In fact, he equated appointing elders in every city to setting things in order.

At first I was confused by your saying you had a pastor and assistant pastor, yet were questioning whether elders were necessary. Then I realized that your mention of a pastor was in the non-biblical meaning of a preacher. In the Bible the term pastor is equivalent to elder or bishop (1 Peter 5:1-4; Titus 1:5-9).

The elders are never referred to in the Bible as a council. Their job is to shepherd the spiritual well-being of the congregation. To do so they may act as a group. They should be consulted on questions of spiritual matters or interpretation of the Bible. It is not the job of the elders in the Bible to consider questions about the physical workings of the church, such as distribution of food or maintenance of the church building. We keep them busy enough watching for our souls that we donít need to add other burdens to them. For more on my position on that, please see my article at "What An Elder Is Not"