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