Local churches of Christ are led by elders (also called shepherds, overseers, pastors, bishops in various passages and translations) (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 5:1-3), whose responsibilities include ensuring the scripturality of congregational practices and, as a shepherd, spending time checking on their flock through phone calls, visits, and other means.
Preachers (also known as minister or evangelist — not “pastor” which refers to elder) (2 Tim. 4:2-5; 1 Tim. 4:6) are typically the leading representative of the local congregation, because of his preaching and evangelism, having devoted himself fully to God and to make God known to the people around him. Hence, scripture refers to him as a “Man of God” (1 Timothy 6:11-14). We do not refer to him as “reverend,” because this refers only to God in scripture (Psalms 111:9); newer translations use “awesome”).
Deacons (1 Tim. 3:8-12) serve the congregation by leading works and ministries of the church that include various administrative and organizational tasks.
Membership in churches of Christ is synonymous with becoming a Christian. There are no separate rules or ceremonies to be followed or undergone. When the church began, those who repented and were baptized were saved (Acts 2:38) and added to the church by God (Acts 2:47). The New Testament teaches us that the conditions of pardon include actually hearing the gospel (Rom. 10:17), believing (Heb. 11:6), repenting of past sins (Acts 17:30), confessing Jesus as Lord (Matt. 10:32), and being baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Baptism is by immersion – a burial (Acts 8:35-39; Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:12). The New Testament teaches it as a command of Christ, essential for salvation (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16).