The term “Presbyterian” originates in the language of the Greek New Testament and describes a church led by elders. Elders are men elected from the congregation to shepherd the church (1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9). Within the office of elder, the Scriptures distinguish between those who make their living from full-time gospel ministry (1 Corinthians 9:13-14, 1 Timothy 5:17) and those who minister to the congregation on a volunteer basis. Thus, we distinguish between teaching and ruling elders. Together, teaching and ruling elders form the Session.
While elders are charged with the spiritual care of the congregation, deacons are ordained to minister to the church's physical needs (1 Timothy 3: 8-13). With their help, the elders are able to keep prayer and the ministry of the Word their primary focus among the flock (Acts 6:3-4).