The church is a kingdom of priests set free to minister for Christ. Our priesthood is to each other within the church and to the world. An elder, like any other church officer, is a ministering servant of God. Every Christian believer is called to minister, gifted by the Holy Spirit, and in baptism ordained for ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12).
The elder assists in the training (Bible Studies) of prospective members and is called to the ministry of visitation, which is a vital element and aid to the pastor in this kind of caring ministry. As an assistant to the pastor in church ministry and a religious and spiritual leader of the church in the absence of the pastor, the elder must lead the church by precept and example into deeper and fuller Christian experience.
An elder must be recognized by the church as a strong spiritual leader with a good reputation (I Timothy 3:1-7 describes the Christian life of an elder). A church elder is to uphold and foster all church programs that the church sets forth, and foster all lines of missionary work, sustain a helpful relationship to all other church officers, and keep the pastor informed as to the missionary climate of the church. Elders are to provide positive contribution to the administration, organization and progress of the church.
A church elder must be capable of ministering to the word and must model a commitment of his or her time to outreach ministry. Likewise, elders should develop skills in worship leadership, such as the reading of scripture, offering public prayers, planning the order of service, and delivering the sermon. Elders have the responsibility to conduct or officiate at church services in the absence of the pastor.