The Bible uses the terms Elder, Presbyter, Overseer, Bishop, Shepherd and Pastor interchangeably, with the Eldership as the highest office in the church, directly below Christ as the head. A pastor is an elder? Yet we almost always see the preacher, evangelist or minister referred to as the pastor even when he is not an elder in his local church, why is this? Laziness?
1 Timothy 4:14
ESV - 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.
For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
Names have always been needed to identify persons. One name sufficed in the early days when populations were not large, but eventually a second name was needed as the populations increased. An identifying name, usually descriptive, was then added to the first, or given, name.
The word “pastor” comes from a Latin word which means shepherd. It sets a person apart of who or whom they are as leaders.
The New Testament presents two offices that constitute church leadership—elder/overseer and deacon. Paul lists the qualifications for elder/overseer in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Notice that in the 1 Timothy passage, Paul refers to them as overseers (episcopos in the Greek) and in Titus he refers to them as elders (presbuteros in Greek). From this it can be concluded that there is one office with different designations. The word “elder” refers to the life experience of the office holder, while the word “overseer” emphasizes the responsibility of the office holder to watch over the congregation and meet their spiritual needs.