Our council at Central Manor is made up of two groups which make up the leadership. They are Elders and Deacons. While they each serve a different function, they both serve together as the council to accomplish God’s mission for the church.
The elders are the leaders of the church. Some of the elders are also called Pastors. The difference between elders and pastors are that Pastors are elders vocationally, and the others are not. Together they have the same authority and if one of them leads the group that person would be considered a leader among equals. All have the same say, and one vote. Several terms in the Bible are used to refer to this position. The term elder is the most common. It is used 67 times in the New Testament and refers to a mature godly person who has oversight over the church. It does not refer to age as much as maturity. See Acts 11:30, Acts 14:23, Titus 1:5, Acts 15:6, 1Tim 5:17, James 5:14, and1Peter 5:1-5. Another word that describes the elder is bishop. It means overseer or guardian. The Bible states that a Bishop should rule his house well. See Acts 20:28, Phil 1.1, 1Tim 3.2, Titus 1.7, 1Tim 3.4,5. A third title is Shepherd. This word not used much but is the most used in English. It means Pastor or Shepherd. This title refers to one who cares for sheep. See Acts 20:28-31, 1Peter 5:2 (Contrast with Ezekial 34:1-5), Ephesians 4:11. The last two terms are Preacher (Romans 10:14, 1Timothy 2:7, II Timothy 1:11), and teacher (1Tim 2.7, 1Cor 12.28,29). These terms are all a biblical mandate to have a multiplicity of leaders we call “elders.”
The deacons were not present in the early church in an officially recognized capacity. The office was created in Acts 6:1-7 when needs became known in the church that were not being dealt with. The elders (the apostles were functioning in that capacity at that time) stated that they needed to stay committed to prayer and the work of ministry and that some godly men should be sought out to oversee these tasks so that the elders did not have to stop their spiritual work of ministry. A simple definition of a deacon is that the deacon is someone elected by the congregation to do the material and financial work of the church so that the Elders/Pastors can continue in their work without getting caught up in meeting needs that arise.
These two together make up our council. They meet with mutual concern that the work of the ministry would continue. The elders oversee the church and do the spiritual work while the deacons help them to do that work by doing the detailed material and financial tasks.