The Structure of the Church

Jesus is the Head of the church (Colossians 1:18). The church is His (Matthew 16:18) and He purchased it with His blood (Acts 20:28). He is the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4) and will discipline His churches if they do not submit to His leadership (Revelation 2-3).

How does Christ, who is seated at the right hand of God, lead His church who is on the earth? He does not do this through subjective whims of individuals or congregations. Nor does Jesus lead His church only through the “red letters” (words spoken by Jesus in the gospels). The whole Word of God functions at the authority in the life of the church. As the church says what the Word says, in the way the Word says to say it, we are able to say we are functioning in Jesus’ name (Matthew 18:19-20).

Paul regularly demonstrates that a believer must submit to authority in his/her life, if he/she is going to claim to be submitting to Jesus. (Romans 13:1-7; Ephesians 5:15-6:9; Hebrews 13:17). Therefore, if a church (and the individuals within the congregation) want to submit to the Lordship of Christ, we must agree to structure as the Scripture directs. The Bible describes two such offices: elder and deacon.