An elder (ordained minister) who is elected to the office of bishop. Unlike the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox traditions, The United Methodist Church considers the episcopacy an “office” and not a third order of ministry (along with deacon and elder). A United Methodist bishop is consecrated for the office of bishop by other United Methodist bishops. A bishop serves as a general superintendent of the denomination. As such, individually and collectively bishops give general oversight to the temporal and spiritual interests of the entire denomination. It is a responsibility of the bishops to see that the rules, regulations, and responsibilities developed by the General Conference are understood and effectively carried out. The Greek word for bishop is episcopos, which is the root word for episcopal.
Source: A Dictionary for United Methodists, Alan K. Waltz, Copyright 1991, Abingdon Press. Used by permission.