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What is correct apostolic church structure?

Submitted: 12/13/2005
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Question: What is the correct structure of a church if it is organized apostolicly? I understand it should be Bishop/Pastor, Head Elder, Elders, and deacons. I am not necessarily looking for a standard structure of a church board that makes all the decisions, especially since it is my (God-given) ministry, and my (God-given) vision. Blessings, Dennis

Answer: We believe that local assemblies exist in one of two phases: 1) the foundational phase and 2) the mature phase. In the foundational phase, the assembly is led by its founding apostle(s). In the mature phase it is led by a collegial team of elders. In both cases, the assembly and its leadership are under the leadership of Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Church.

The structure you have described as no scriptural basis. Where, for example, do we read of an assembly led by a single bishop/pastor? Or where do we read of a 'head elder'? The established churches of the New Testament were led by pastoral elders (not a church board) who shared the responsiblities of leadership and arrived at decisions through discussion and mutual agreement.

For more details on the true New Testament pattern for apostolic church structure, please read our article titled 'The New Testament Elders' along with some of our other articles on the Apostolic Church Polity shelf of the Apostolic Free Library.