The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church; as such, He is the sole authority over it (Colossians 1:15-20). He governs His church through His Word. His government is exercised through the leadership of elders who have been set aside by the church to teach the Word and lead the flock (Acts 14:23; 1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; Heb 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-5). The New Testament uses the words elder, pastor, pastor-teacher, and overseer as synonyms that refer to the same office.
The members of Winchester Baptist embrace leadership by a plurlality of elders because (a) scripturally, the New Testament always speaks of a plurality of elders overseeing the church (Acts 20:17; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 5:17; James 5:14); and (b) practically, there is diversity, wisdom, accountability, and power when a plurality of biblically-thinking men serve together in unity.
The qualifications for elders are found in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1 and the responsibilities of elders are indicated in various contexts within scripture, including the often-used reference to shepherding. The Apostle Paul exhorted the elders to “be shepherds of the church of God” (Acts 20:28) and Peter said, “be shepherds of God’s flock which is under your care” (I Peter 5:2). In short, the role of shepherds in the Bible reveals a list of roles and responsibilities which can be described as leading the flock, providing oversight and direction, caring for and feeding the flock, guarding the members from going astray, protecting, seeking the lost, and helping the weak.
Elders are primarily responsible for prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:3). Scripture also assigns them responsibility for directing the affairs of the church (I Tim. 5:17), formulating church policy (Acts 15:22), preaching and teaching (I Tim. 5:17), and praying for the sick (James 5:14).
We currently have three elders who serve the church together.