Elders

Shepherding the Flock of God

Leaders of the Church

Elders

The Bible clearly states that elders have the role of leading a local church.  In the New Testament, this role is described by three words: elder, overseer, and pastor. The word “elder” speaks of someone who is older or aged, referring to the spiritual maturity of the one who leads the church, while “overseer” (where the verb form means “to give attention” or “to take care,” referring to the managing/supervising role of the elders) and “pastor” (where the verb form means “to shepherd” or “to feed or tend,” referring to the role of pastoral care and leading of the flock) describe the functions of the leaders of the church. In other words, the elders are the overseers and the pastors. When the Bible uses these words, it speaks of one and the same office (Acts 20:28; 1Pet 5:1–2).  

When there is a reference to this office, the New Testament always uses the plural form of the word. Therefore, this office should be held by a plurality of elders who share the same authority. There should not be a single leader who holds higher authority over the others. A church must avoid such a hierarchical system of church government. While the elders hold the role of decision making for the church, they must communicate effectively with the members of the church and make decisions for the church as they seek the will of God through prayer and the study of the Word of God.

The office of elder can only be held by those who are qualified according to the qualifications listed in 1Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:6–9. While no one can match the qualifications perfectly, the Bible teaches that spiritually mature men who consistently walk according to the standard set by these passages can fill this office. Elders are given the responsibility to teach the Word, shepherd the flock, and oversee the church by the Lord Himself.  

Daisuke Okada

Daisuke Okada

Elder

Daisuke studied at The Master’s University and Seminary (B.A. in Bible, 1994; M.Div, 2000; D.Min. in Expository Preaching, 2015) and has served as president of Japan Bible Academy since 2013. He co-translated The Gospel According to Jesus in Japanese and has been a guest speaker at various conferences and seminars in Japan and Asia.  He and his wife Marcia have four children (three boys and a girl).

Raymond Kwan

Raymond Kwan

Elder

Raymond is a graduate of the University of California Los Angeles (B.A. in Economics with a minor in Accounting, 1999) and The Master’s Seminary (M.Div, 2009). He served at Immanuel Bible Church in Santa Monica, CA as a pastoral intern and later as a deacon while working as an accountant at MTV, American Film Institute, and a small biotech company.  With growing passion to serve the Lord in Japan, Ray and his wife Shelley came to Osaka as missionaries in 2014 and served at a church there for five years. In 2019 they joined the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism and were sent to Tokyo to help plant Megumi Bible Church.  Ray and Shelley have a son.  

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

1 Peter 5:1-4