Who Are Your Pastors?
In the New Testament, local churches were overseen by multiple men, each from the local church and appointed by the local church. This office is referenced in the Bible by 3 descriptive names:
Elder (Greek, presbuteros) - Indicates that they are older men who should be wiser, more experienced, and more mature. Also transliterated as “presbyter” or collectively as the “prebytery” instead of “eldership” in some older translations (1 Timothy 4:14).
Overseer (Greek, episkopos) - Refers to their work as someone “who watches out for your soul, as those who must give account” (Hebrews 13:17). Also translated as “bishop” in some older translations.
Shepherd (Greek, poimen) - Speaks to their work as shepherds to both “feed the flock” and to protect the church from “savage wolves … not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:28-31). Also translated as “pastor” in some verses (for example, Ephesians 4:11).
Please notice that the Bible uses all 3 of these terms interchangeably, showing that they refer to the same office:
From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. And when they had come to him, he said to them: “… Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:17-28)
Furthermore, two of these titles, “elders” and “overseers,” are also used interchangeably while listing the qualifications of the office (Titus 1:5, 7).
Based on the office’s titles, qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9), charge (Acts 20:17-35; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Titus 1:9-11; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Timothy 5:17-19; James 5:14-15), and examples (Acts 11:29-30; 14:23; 15:1-29), a church’s elders are instrumental spiritual leaders who ensure that the flock is properly taught, protected from false teachers, and given watchful, tender care.
The religious world often elevates one man as the “Pastor” who oversees the church and does most of the preaching, and he may not meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. However, in the New Testament, multiple qualified men were appointed to the office of elder, overseer, and shepherd (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5).
At Pepper Road, we are blessed with godly men who have sacrificed themselves for the spiritual growth of the flock because they not only know they “must give an account,” but they also care for the spiritual well-being of each and every sheep and are involved with each member. If you would rest easier knowing that such men are looking out for your eternal well-being, come work with our flock and benefit from our shepherds who oversee us!
For more information on our elders and their oversight, please see the next sheet, “How Will Your Elders Care for Me?”