CHURCH ORGANIZATION: How was the church organinzed in the Bible?

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said that He was going to build His church. After He was crucified, the first sermon that was preached by the apostles in the city of Jerusalem was on the day of Pentecost. This was the beginning of the church. The church quickly grew and soon spread to other cities. In each of these cities the new converts congregated or assembled as a group on the first day of the week as a local church. Each congregation was organized with elders and deacons over them.

Acts 14:23

And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”

Titus 1:5

“For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you.”

Philippians 1:1

“Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:”

1 Timothy 3:1

“This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.”

Bible students must understand that the office of “bishop” is described using three different Greek words.

  1.  Episkopos—rendered bishop and overseer (Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:1; Titus 1:5, 7).
  2.  Presbuteros – rendered presbyter and elder (Acts 20:17; 1 Timothy 4:14).
  3.  Poimen – rendered pastor and shepherd (Ephesians 4:11; 1 Peter 5:2).

Though three different words are used, they are referring to the same office in the church. Different words are used in order to emphasize the different aspects of the work taken on by the men holding that office. Episkopos emphasizes that the man “oversees” the congregation. Presbuteros emphasizes that he is an “older” man, implying that his wisdom and experience will aid in the work. Poimen is used as a symbol emphasizing that his work is like a shepherd who takes care of sheep. They must “oversee” or “shepherd” the members of their congregation in aiding their spiritual journey to heaven.

Hebrews 13:17

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief…”

Bible examples show a plurality of men serving as elders. In no case did one man serve alone as pastor.

Acts 20:17

And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.”

James 5:14

“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him.”

1 Peter 5:1

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder…””

The Dowlen Road Church is organized in the same manner as was commanded in the New Testament. We have ordained elders and deacons who function exactly as prescribed by God.

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