Elders were first appointed by Paul and Barnabas “in every church”
Acts 14:23 (NKJV)
23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Elders are also referred to as “overseers”, shepherds and “bishops” and their purpose is to shepherd the church.
Acts 20:28 (NKJV)
28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
Philippians 1:1 (NKJV)
1 Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: