Elders are recognized by the church as strong spiritual leaders with good reputations both in the church and the community. In the absence of the pastor, the elders are the ordained spiritual leaders of the church. Elders are chosen for their consecrated lives and leadership abilities. They seek to lead the church into a deeper and fuller Christian experience by precept and by example.
The Ministerial Association, in cooperation with the departments, promotes the training and equipping of elders. However, the pastor has the primary responsibility for training elders. Elders especially should be left free of other burdens to perform effectively their many duties.
The Pastor and the Board of Elders work harmoniously together. The pastor acts as the chairperson of the board; he shares all lines of responsibility with the elders and the other officers. The pastoral work of the church is shared by the pastor and the elders. In counsel with the pastor, the elders visit members, minister to the sick, foster prayer ministries, arrange or lead out in anointing services and child dedications, encourage the disheartened, and assist in other pastoral responsibilities. As undershepherds, elders should exercise constant vigilance over the flock.
Elders may conduct church and communion services, baptisms, and business meetings as necessary. Elders encourage tithing by faithfully returning their tithes. As spiritual leaders, elders model a commitment to Bible study and prayer; they encourage members to develop a personal relationship with Jesus by strengthening their habits of personal Bible study and prayer. An effective personal prayer life of every member, supporting all ministries and programs of the local church, will enhance the church’s mission. Under and in cooperation with the pastor, elders are responsible for fostering all departments and activities of the work. They maintain a mutually helpful relationship with other officers.
The pastor, elders, and all officers cooperate with conference officers and departmental directors in carrying out the work of the church. Elders work closely with the treasurer and the church clerk to make certain that all conference funds and reports are remitted promptly.
Elders also foster world mission work by carefully studying the worldwide work and encouraging members to personally support mission work. They maintain a kind and tactful attitude to encourage liberality of members both in church services and Sabbath School.