Elder (Christianity)

In Christianity, an elder is a person who is valued for wisdom and holds a position of responsibility and authority in a Christian group. In some Christian traditions (e.g., Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, Methodism) an elder is an ordained person who serves a local church or churches and who has been ordained to a ministry of word, sacrament and order, filling the preaching and pastoral offices. In other Christian traditions (e.g., Presbyterianism, Churches of Christ, Plymouth Brethren), an elder may be a lay person serving as an administrator in a local congregation, or be ordained and serving in preaching (teaching during church gatherings) or pastoral roles. There is a distinction between ordained elders and lay elders. The two concepts may be conflated in everyday conversation (for example, a lay elder in the Baptist tradition may be referred to as "clergy", especially in America). In non-Christian world cultures the term elder refers to age and experience,[1][2] and the Christian sense of elder is partly related to this.