At Mariposa Reformed Baptist Church, we believe that Christ rules over and takes care of His church through ordained officers known in Scripture as elders and deacons.
Elders (also known as pastors) are those men whom the congregation chooses to watch over them spiritually, to lead them in the public worship of God, to feed them the Word of God both publicly and privately, to administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and to guard the church from doctrinal or practical dangers. These elders are to be chosen in accordance with the requirements for such an office which are set forth in Scripture (e.g., 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, 1 Peter 5, etc.). A plurality of elders is not only the Biblical pattern, but also a true blessing from the Lord. These elders may differ from one another in experience and gifts, and one or two may labor more often in the preaching ministry than the others, but they are all equal in authority and title. The Apostle Paul teaches in Ephesians 4 that pastors and teachers are gifts from the exalted Christ to His church and are therefore to be highly esteemed for their work’s sake.
Deacons are those men whom the congregation chooses (in accordance with the Biblical requirements mentioned above) to watch over the church’s physical and temporal concerns. We find the first deacons being ordained in Acts 6 and for the very specific purpose of relieving the elders from having to deal with the physical needs of the people. This, then, allows for the elders to devote themselves more fully to the ministry of the Word and prayer, without distraction. Deacons, therefore, are a tremendous blessing from the Lord not only to the people, but to the pastors. We see in these two offices of elder and deacon the two-fold care and concern of the Good and Great Shepherd, Jesus. Through the ministry of elders, Jesus cares for His church’s spiritual needs, and through the ministry of deacons, Jesus cares for His church’s temporal needs.