From Craig Swanson…
The churches of the New Testament were to be led by elders. Paul told Titus to, “Appoint elders in every city as I directed you”. (Titus 1:5) There are two words used in the New Testament for elders – presuteros (elders) and episkopos (overseer). Both words refer to the same office. The word is always plural except when describing what an elder should be. (Acts 11:30; 14:23; 20:17) The local church is to be led by multiple overseers.
Nowhere in the Scipture do we see an example of a church led by a single pastor or majority rule. You can see the wisdom in this. One man without counselors will make many mistakes. “Without consultation plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22) I’ve been on a church board where majority rules, and there is nothing godly about it. Personal opinion and persuasive argument is what rules.
Elders of a church are under-shepherds of the chief shepherd of the church, Jesus Christ. It is their responsibility to discern the will of the chief shepherd and apply it to their local body. Therefore, if there is any disagreement on a matter, the elders should study, pray and seek the will of the Lord together until a consensus is achieved. With multiple godly men overseeing the church with the word of God as their guide and Christ as the head, unity in the church can start with it’s leadership. Next month I’ll talk about the qualifications of an elder.