The terms Elder and Bishop are used interchangeably, and mean the same. Elders are selected by and are responsible to the Workers. Most Elders lead meetings that are held in their personal homes. Alternate Elders (sometimes called Deacons) lead the meetings in the absence of the appointed Elder.
US Worker Quote: It should be understood…that no leader or elder is self-appointed or elected by the church. All elders, or those who lead meetings are appointed by the servants of God and are responsible to them. (Overseer Jack Carroll, Ariz. Conv. Oct 25-28, 1951)
US Worker Quote: We would encourage you to read, often, 1 Timothy 3. Also Titus 1:5-9. Both these passages contain a list of qualities that every elder should possess. It is in Titus 1:5-7, where we are told that an elder and a bishop are the same. The word bishop, which means an overseer, is really the word that describes the position. They were also referred to as elders, though, because they were chosen from among the older ones…There is a definite order to God’s plan and, when this is followed, you need no organization. According to God’s order, the church is subject to the bishop, the bishop is subject to the ministry, the ministry is subject to Christ, and Christ is subject to God. When that order is followed, you need no organization. (Howard Mooney, Portland, 1960).
US Worker Quote: Philippians 1:1…mentions the saints, bishops and deacons. This is what we have in the meeting here tonight. We have those who have gone forth to carry the gospel message…Then there are elders, or bishops, who have been entrusted with the care of a meeting in their home. There are deacons, or those who are helping the elders or bishops. Then there are the saints. This is God’s perfect plan… (Eldon Tenniswood, Calif Elders Mtg, 1975)