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“Does Your Church?” (Part 4)—The Organization of the Church

There is only one church (Eph. 4:4; 1:22-23; 2:16), and that one church finds its origin in God, not man (Isa. 2:2-4; Dan. 2:44; Matt. 16:18; Acts 20:28).  Those points are inarguable.  So, when it comes to how that church is organized, we should expect that there is only one organizational structure that is acceptable and that it comes from God Himself.

The Lord established His church to exist in autonomous (i.e., independent) local congregations.  Each of these congregations is to be structured in exactly the same way, and the interesting thing is that God did not design any organizational structure higher than the local congregation.  There is one “head” over the whole church, and that is Christ (Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:18).  As the single authority over every congregation, Christ alone has the authority to command (Matt. 28:18) how the church is to operate (1 Tim. 3:15).

The local congregation of the Lord’s church is to be overseen by a group of elders. The divine design for the church involved having [1] a plurality of men (Acts 14:23; Phil. 1:1), [2] who met specific qualifications (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Tit. 1:5-9), [3] to be appointed “over” the local congregation (1 Thess. 5:12) [4] “among” whom they themselves had been a member (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2), [5] in order to “shepherd,” “oversee,” “steward,” “take care of” and “lead” the church (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2; Tit. 1:7; 1 Tim. 3:5; Heb. 13:17), in order that [6] each member might remain faithful and enter into heaven (Heb. 13:17; Acts 20:28-30).  Scripture never speaks of or approves one “pastor” leading a church, but it always draws attention to a group of “pastors” (elders) overseeing each congregation.

The local congregation of the Lord’s church is to be served by a group of deacons. The divine design for the church involved having [1] a plurality of men (Phil. 1:1), [2] who met specific qualifications (1 Tim. 3:8-13), [3] to take on specific tasks assigned to them (Acts 6:1-6) and [4] to “serve well” in those capacities (1 Tim. 3:13), in order that the church might grow (Eph. 4:16) and that overseers might be able to “give themselves” to their responsibilities (cf. Acts 6:4).

The local congregation of the Lord’s church needs to have an evangelist to preach the gospel. The divine design for the church involved having a [1] man (1 Tim. 2:1-14), who could [2] preach “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27; 2 Tim. 4:2), [3] defend the faith (1 Tim. 1:3-4; 4:1-16), [4] build up the local church (1 Cor. 14:3) and [5] train men to serve in the church (2 Tim. 2:2; 1 Tim. 3:1-13).

How is your church organized?  The church of Christ patterns its organizational structure according to the one specified in the New Testament.  Does your church?