About Our Leadership

We believe that the church is to be governed, or “shepherded,” by elders. The words elder, pastor (shepherd), and overseer (bishop) all refer to the same office (Acts 20:17, 28). I Peter 5:1-4 uses all three terms interchangeably. Also, the church’s needs are to be met by servant-leaders called deacons (Acts 6:1-7). The primary difference between elders and deacons is that elders must be “able to teach.” The qualifications for both elders and deacons are listed in I Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9. There is no New Testament pattern for congregational rule in the church. The first commission that Paul gave to Titus was to set the churches in order and appoint elders (Titus 1:5). Elder rule has been established by God for the safety and purity of His church. Experienced men of tested character, known to be spiritually mature, make the decisions for the body. This is opposed to congregational rule in which all members of the body have equal say in the decisions of the church. This is dangerous in that not all members of the congregation are experienced, spiritually mature believers of proven character, and some may not even be believers at all, yet they will have an equal voice like all the rest. Nowhere is it found in the New Testament that any other form of church government existed apart from elder rule.


Rick Martin, Elder

Rick has been an elder at Theta Baptist Church (TBC) since 2003 and is the primary teacher for the Adult Bible Study class. Originally from Claremore, OK, he graduated from Devry Institute of Technology in Irving, TX, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science for Business and was a mainframe computer programmer for many years. Rick and his wife Linda have been at TBC since 1998. They have been married since 1987 and have three adult children: Paul, Moriah, and Ian.

2321 Les Robinson Rd. Columbia, TN 38401