When the Lord established His church, He set the organization by which individual congregations were to be led. Every church was to select men from within the congregation, in accordance with the qualifications set forth within Scripture (Acts 14:23; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9).
This group of men is referred to by several names; which describe the nature of their work. They are to be “bishops” or “overseers” who watch over the souls of the members of the congregation (Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1; Hebrews 13:17). They are “elders” or presbyters” who are older in the faith, leading by their example (1 Peter 5:1-3; 1 Timothy 4:14). They are “shepherds” or “pastors” caring for and spiritually feeding the flock (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2, Ephesians 4:11). The men who serve in this capacity have been appointed in accordance with these qualifications and strive to diligently fulfill this work.