Assembly Oversight. One of the provisions that God has given to the church for its profit and blessing is assembly oversight. Oversight is the work of caring for the spiritual needs of the church. While deacons (or servants) care for the material needs of the saints, elders (or overseers) care for the spiritual needs. Oversight falls into the category of office, as distinct from gift and priesthood. Oversight therefore is a local function; i.e. the elders in one assembly have the care of that local assembly, and their authority does not extend to other assemblies. Each believer has a spiritual gift; a special ability in ministry. These gifts function for the edification of the body of Christ, whether in one local assembly or for the whole body of Christ. For example, pastors and teachers function to feed and instruct the saints from the word of God. However, there may not be pastors and teachers in a local assembly, and therefore the oversight will do that work in a local setting. There are four primary passages that deal with oversight: Acts 20, 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, and 1 Peter 5. In addition, there is a similar subject in Hebrews 13 where "guides" are spoken of, which can apply to overseers, and yet it would seem that "guides" have a broader influence, perhaps across multiple assemblies. The primary work of oversight is to "feed the flock of God" (1 Pet. 5:2; Acts 20:28). This means setting before the saints that which would meet their spiritual needs. It requires care to know the saints, discernment to know what the needs are, dependence as to how to feed them, and faithfulness to carry out the work. Other aspects of oversight would include: the work of discipline and restoration, the maintenance of peace and unity in the assembly, and vigilance over the inroads of evil. Only one epistle is addressed to elders and deacons; that is the epistle to the Philippians, where the issue of unity is taken up. The seven letters to the seven churches are addressed to "the angel" or responsible element in the assembly, and there we find that the general state of each assembly is the responsibility of the oversight, who are responsible to the Lord Jesus, the Son of man who walks amidst the golden candlesticks.