When the apostles (our model for elders) first began the church, they found themselves tending to every single need of the early church, including finances and mercy ministry. At this point, they decided that they should create a second office in the church, the Deacons, to care for these needs.

Acts 6 says:

2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

And so, we are given the importance of the elders to tend to the “ministry of the word” and “prayer“. This is the chief role of the elder and the following questions seek to engage these roles.