Gatlin is led by a plurality of male pastors–also known as elders. We hold that the Bible treats the terms elder, pastor and overseer as synonymous. An example is found in Acts 20, where the Apostle Paul has gathered all the elders from Ephesus (v. 17) for some final words.
Later in Paul’s speech, he refers to these gathered elders as overseers that are meant to care/shepherd/pastor the flock (v. 28). Additionally, the two primary texts used for Elder qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1 and Titus 1:5) seemingly use elder and overseer interchangeably. Further, the apostle Peter uses the term shepherd/pastor interchangeably with local church leadership (1 Peter 5:2) in addition to using it interchangeably with Jesus’ over-leadership as our overseer and shepherd (2:25).
Therefore, to be an elder is to be a pastor is to be an overseer. We choose to use the term Pastor or Elder as our default term due to its cultural familiarity…but will occasionally use the other terms as well.
The qualifications for being a pastor/elder/overseer come from 1 Timothy 3 and Titus, chapter one. From these passages (and others), we form our understanding of church leadership and the qualifications for leaders.
At Gatlin, we hold to a biblical understanding that Christ is our head, and Elders relate to each other in equality. Thus, we have no need for one pastor to hold an office that gives them an authority in whom to appeal. Instead, they must appeal to the Scriptures, which is the church’s authority!
Jared Whitehurst – Teaching Elder/Pastor
Derek Williams – Elder/Pastor