We are led by a plurality of godly, qualified men called elders.
The focal point of local church leadership is the office of elder (Philippians 1:2). The common pattern of Scripture is for each local church to be ruled by a plurality of these Spirit enabled men (Titus 1:5; James 5:14).
The Bible uses three interchangeable words to refer to the men who serve in this capacity: elder, overseer and pastor (Acts 20; 1 Peter 5:1-2). The different terms indicate ministerial function rather than differing levels of authority.
Whilst each member of a local church is to participate fully in the life of the church we recognise that God gifts His Church with elders who serve by managing and caretaking (1 Timothy 3:5), overseeing (Acts 20:28), ordaining (1 Timothy 4:4), ruling, teaching and preaching (1 Timothy 5:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 3:2), exhorting, refuting (Titus 1:9), determining church policy (Acts 15:22) and acting as shepherds by setting an example for all to follow (1 Pet. 5:1-3).
Elders are to be biblically qualified (1 Timothy 3:2-7; Titus 1:6-8) men who are above reproach. This blamelessness must extend to his marital, social, business and spiritual life. In this way, he is to both pursue and exemplify truth and godliness.
We are served by godly, qualified men and woman called deacons.
Jesus Christ exemplified servant leadership (Mark 10:45). All Christians are called to a life of humble service (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Some believers are specifically gifted to serve (Romans 12:7). Deacons are recognised into the office of servant in a local church (Philippians 1:1-2).
Those who would serve as deacons are to live dignified lives (1 Timothy 3:8), be spiritually mature (1 Timothy 3:9-10) and have stable families (1 Timothy 3:11-12).
Both men and woman may be recognised as deacons (1 Timothy 3:11). In the text the word translated ‘likewise’ juxtapositions the offices of elders, male deacons and female deacons (1 Timothy 3:1, 8, 11). The word translated wives (KJV and NIV), given the context, should more appropriately be translated woman (NASB).
Little is prescribed regarding the function of deacons in Scripture. As such there is much freedom given to the local church regarding how deacons ought to operate. At Crystal Park Baptist Church deacons function at the behest of the congregation for a fix term of service to God’s glory.