First Church of Christ - Fairborn, Ohio - A Place for You
First Church of Christ - Fairborn, Ohio - A Place for You
First Church of Christ - Fairborn, Ohio - A Place for You
First Church of Christ - Fairborn, Ohio - A Place for You

How is the Church Organized & Governed?

The Lord was very clear in His Word about how He wishes His church to be organized and managed.

  • First, Christ is the head of the church and its supreme authority (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; Colossians 1:18).
  • Second, the local church is to be autonomous, free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Titus 1:5).
  • Third, the church is to be governed by spiritual leadership consisting of two main offices—elders and deacons.

It seems that the position of elder was equal to the position of episkopos, translated “overseer” or “bishop” (Acts 11:30; 1 Timothy 5:17). The term “elder” may refer to the dignity of the office, while the term “bishop/overseer” describes its authority and duties (1 Peter 2:25, 5:1-4).

The position of “deacon,” from diakonos, meaning “through the dirt,” was one of servant leadership to the church. Deacons are separate from elders, while having qualifications that are in many ways similar to those of elders (1 Timothy 3:8-13). Deacons assist the church in whatever is needed, as recorded in Acts chapter 6.

In summary, the Bible teaches a leadership consisting of a plurality of elders (bishops/overseers) along with a group of deacons who serve the church. The ELders and Deacons are elected by the members of the congregation in accordance with our By-Laws.

What is an Elder?

  • The Basics: An elder is a man who (i) meets the qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9, (ii) is recognized by his congregation as an elder, (iii) and leads the congregation by teaching the Word (1 Tim. 3:2), praying for the congregation (Jas. 5:14), and overseeing the affairs of the church (1 Pet. 5:2).
  • Oversight: An elder must watch over the flock. He must instruct all the sheep, strengthen the weak ones, guard the vulnerable ones, rebuke the obstinate ones, and bear with the difficult ones (2 Tim. 2:24-25; Acts 20:28; 1 Thess. 5:14). An elder watches over the members of his church as one who will give an account to God (Heb. 13:17)
  • Plurality: In the New Testament, local churches consistently have a plurality (fancy word for multiple) of elders (Acts 14:23, 20:17; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 5:17; Jas. 5:14). Christ, the Chief Shepherd, means to care for his flock through a number of godly men who together teach, guard, guide, protect, and love the sheep.  

What is an Deacon?

  • Basics: In the New Testament, the word usually translated "serve" is the Greek word diakoneo. It refers to an attendant, a waiter, or one who ministers to another. From this word we get the English word “deacon.” We first see the word "deacon" used this way in the book of Acts. 
  • Duties: Today, for the biblical church, these roles are essentially the same. Elders and pastors are to “preach the word…" and deacons are to be appointed to take care of everything else. In a modern church, this might include taking on administrative or organizational tasks, ushering, being responsible for building maintenance, or volunteering to be the church treasurer. It depends on the need and the gifts of the available men.
  • Qualifications for a deacon’s character are clearly outlined in Scripture. They are to be blameless, the husband of one wife, a good household manager, respectable, honest, not addicted to alcohol and not greedy (1 Timothy 3:8-12). According to the Word, the office of deacon is an honor and a blessing. “For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 3:13).

What is a Minister/Pastor/Reverend?

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