History records the time and place of the beginning of the various denominations. We are not particularly interested in these, for Jesus said: “Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up” (Mt 15:13). Jesus said, “I will build my church” (Mt 16:18). We can identify His church by its date of beginning (AD 33), by its head, its name, its foundation, its names, its creed, its conditions of membership, its items of worship and its organization. Today we look at its divine pattern of organization.
Members. All the saved from every nation are added to the church (Col 1;13; Acts 9:31; Rom 16:16). All local congregations were independent of one another, yet were bound together under the authority of Christ (Ac 11:29-30).
Officers. There were two temporary officers: Apostles were personally chosen by Christ and they had no successors (Mt 10:1-4: Ac 1:3; 13:31). Prophets were inspired teachers (Ac 11:27-28; 13:1-2; Eph 4:11). These two offices ceased when the New Testament was completed (1 Cor 13:8-10).
Each local church was given:
Elders. Also called bishops, pastors, overseers, presbyters, shepherds (Tit 1:5-9; 1 Tim 3:12-7; Ac 20:28; 1 Pet 5:1-4). There was never one pastor over a congregation.
Deacons. Served also (Ac 6:1-6; 1 Tim 3:8-13) as did also
Evangelists. (Ac 21:8; Eph 4:11; 2 Tim 4:5).
There were no popes, cardinals robed priests called “Father” (Mt 23;9), etc. Can you find the church that Jesus built? Are you a member of it?