Wednesday: Church Organization: The Structure for Unity

The New Testament reveals that the early church had a definite organizational structure.

Image © Jeff Preston from

Image © Jeff Preston from

This structure helped to preserve the doctrinal purity of the church and keep it focused on mission.

In Acts 6, a small group of disciples met together to solve the problem of the distribution of food to the widows of the Greek converts. They selected deacons to solve the dilemma. Church members respected the authority of these church leaders.

When the apostle Paul was converted on the Damascus Road, he was directed to Ananias, a representative of the church(Acts 9:10-17).

After Paul’s baptism by Ananias, the Holy Spirit directed him to meet with the leaders of the church in Jerusalem in order to confirm his ministry (Acts 9:26-30).

In Acts 20 Paul met with the church elders from Ephesus to urge them to be on guard against false teachers and their heresies (Acts 20:1727-32).

How did the New Testament church solve a major dispute over circumcision? Acts 15:1-31.

The Jerusalem Council saved the first-century church from a serious schism. Church organization with administrative authority was essential in preserving the doctrinal integrity of the New Testament church. In this instance, local church representatives were sent to Jerusalem to participate in doctrinal discussions, which would have serious implications for the future of the church. Once this representative group came to a consensus, they wrote out their decision in a committee action and circulated it throughout the churches where the problem had originated: Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia (Acts 15:23).

Members accepted the decision of the Jerusalem Council and rejoiced that the Holy Spirit had guided them to an answer to their dilemma (Acts 15:30-35).

If you are a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, then you are involved in the church structure. What is your role in that structure, and how might you be more constructively involved?

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Wednesday: Church Organization: The Structure for Unity — 9 Comments

  1. My role in the church is to be Christ-like in every way possible. If everyone could grasp the idea, the church structure would be more than just a place we go to on Wednesday night and Sabbath, but a Holy place where we go to meet, praise and worship the true and living God.

  2. [Edited]

    Organization is good but in Laodician times can be "Laodician" because of us. Authority must be recognized not enforced. If Laodicians are called worldly and just have the name Christian, then what if some of wordly leaders lead? I am talking about local church leadership.

  3. I have given my life to the will of God on Sabbath (August 10th, 2013), I am now in the process of rebaptism and am looking forward to my role in the organizational structure of the church. God told me that I must surrender all to him, repent and be baptized. I now ask that He deliver me and use me as He has used Paul as a chosen vessel .

    • Praise God for you! I will lift you up in prayer, that you will grow in His good grace. Welcome back to the family!

  4. We all know of a church organization that lays claim to the heritage of being a linear descendent of that "Church organization with administrative authority". How did it historically happen that the New Testament "Church organization with administrative authority" started supplanting the authority of the Holy Spirit?

  5. One of the things that really impressed me when I believed and received the message of the remnant, was the way my new church was organized at every level. The process of electing officers, administering the day to day running of the local congregation. As a former Pentecostal Christian, this was new to me. And when I studied the behaviour of these early Christians, I knew we were on solid ground. This kind of organisational struture is Heaven-directed.
    Isn't it amazing that because of this structure and organisation, I can be in Barbados, commenting on the same Bible lesson that my brothers and sisters around the world are also studying and commenting on! When I travel and worship in other congregations outside of my Caribbean region, it comforts me to know that the message is the same, the mission is the same, the advice and encouragement from the Lord's messenger to the remnant is the same, the Hope is the same, the challenges are the same!
    I thank he Father for the 'glue' of the Holy Spirit who makes all this possible. Let us not work against it. Let us not try to be 'lone rangers,' answerable to nobody, let us acknowledge God's plan for His Body-the Church. Let us show respect for our leaders, praying for them at every level, and remembering that they are men and women of 'like passions with us'! Let us continue to pray for the Spirit's guidance in every committee, every decision we have to make-whether personal or corporate, so that men will marvel and take note that we have been, and continue to be with Jesus our glorious and wise head!

  6. [Moderator note: Please use full name when commenting on this site. Thanks!]

    At the appointing of the deacons, was it acceptance of official church authority to be complaining about the distribution to the needy? Was it acceptance of their authority when the deacons were selected or was it approval of a plan that worked for the people?

    • To Shining. It's all about communication. There must be certain structures which allow for the upward communication of grievances from the bottom level(complainant). Then there must be structures which allow for downward communication for the top level(Authorities), whereby the response is given. That's how communication in any form works. God bless!!


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