WHILE I personally see a sameness of office in the titles "pastor," "bishop," and "elder" (Titus 1:5-9 & 1st Timothy 5:17) - there are certain passages of Scripture that open up my perspective a little bit on this issue. This chapter is one such example. Here the title of "elder" seems to be a reference generally to Christian men who are more mature, and who have influence in the church due to their knowledge and experience. Speaking from experience, I have known many older Christians who possessed tremendous spiritual influence, even though they did not necessarily hold an official elected or ordained office in the church. On the other hand, even here (where Paul is dealing with how to treat older men and women respectfully within the church), it seems apparent that there was indeed an ordered list of those who were officially recognized as "elders" and "widows" in the congregation (vs. 9 & 22).
The main thing here is how the church as a whole relates to its older members. The older members of some congregations are basically forgotten. Now, while I understand the practical value of cultivating an atmosphere that is conducive to reaching young people for Christ, there is no reason to assume that fellowship between younger and older Christians is impossible. The relationship between older Christians and younger ones (in years or in faith) should be symbiotic. This chapter tells us how it should look.