The word "Presbyterian" comes from a greek word, "presbuteros" which means, "elder" or "older". Presbyterians believe that we are all called to be ministers of the gospel and that God gifts us with different gifts to build up one another in love and to carry out the mission and movement of the gospel of God's kingdom.
“Elders are given authority and responsibility, along with pastors, to oversee the spiritual health of the congregation as well as the congregation’s faithfulness to God’s mission. Elders shall be elected by the congregation.” ECO Polity 2.02
The Elders, called "ruling elders", are chosen by the congregation from its members (Covenant Partners) to lead the church along with Pastors, called "teaching elders" and "Ministers of Word and Sacrament". The elders serve 3 year terms and can serve up to 6 years consecutively, and they together with the pastors form what is called a Session. The Session is the administrative and governing body of OPC responsible for spiritual vision, oversight, ministry, and financial and policy decisions. Each Elder usually serves on one of the Committees/Teams of the Session which are designed to foster and support the common goal of “inviting people to Meet Jesus Christ, Join his family, Grow in faith, and Serve in his name."