Christian Leaders Alliance Ordination Structure
Ordination comes from the Greek word “tasso,” which mean leadership structure. It was a military term which in the verbal form also means “ordain or appoint to office or leadership role.”
As the early apostles set up and recognized Bishops and Deacons (1 Timothy 3). The early church leadership structure included these ingredients for leaders:
- Walk with God – Christians who have a daily walk with God seeking His will for their lives.
- Calling – Christians who have a conviction that the Holy Spirit is asking them to pursue a specific ministry.
- Training – Christians, who have been called to a specific ministry by the Holy Spirit, are now seeking ministry training through classes and mentors.
- Spiritual gifts – Christian leaders have spiritual gifts in their area of calling.
- Commended – Christian leaders confirmed by their community of mentors, church leaders, family, and others in their Christian community.
- Outreach focus – Christian leaders who have an outreach mentality and are also known in the Christian community for having one.
In the light of the above, Christian Leaders Alliance defines ordination as the global recognition and connection of called, trained, mentored and commended local Christian leaders in ministry. These leaders have spiritual gifts and are passionate about spreading vital Christianity everywhere.
Ordained Offices of Christian Leaders Alliance
Deacon Ministers – The Greek word “diakonos” (Greek) or deacon (English) has often been translated as “ministrae” (Latin) or minister (English). At Christian Leaders Alliance, the office of Minister (diakonos) is the principal office of all who serve in ministry. All ordained leadership roles with Christian Leaders Alliance are ordained as ministers.
Network Elders – The Greek word “presbuteros” translated as “elder.” In the book of Acts, elders were in charge of growing a network of ministries (creating a movement) often in a geographic region like a city. For instance, Titus was instructed to keep the work of the gospel moving forward. He also was to organize a leadership structure to deepen the Christian movement in Crete. Titus was to appoint elders (movement elders) in every town. Paul wrote,
Titus 1:5 This is why I left you in Crete so that you might put what remained in order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you.
Today networks can form, not only geographically, but also topically or even across digital platforms.
All network elders are Christian Leaders Alliance ministers who have been appointed to create, lead, motivate, and encourage a network of Christian leaders. Although network elders have been mainly men historically in most church traditions, Christian Leaders Alliance is open to gifted and called women when and where the Lord leads and needs.
Rom. 16:7 (GHSB) Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives and my fellow prisoners, who are notable among the apostles (bishops who must first be elders), who also were in Christ before me.
Apostolic Bishops – The Greek word for bishop is “episcopate.” At Jesus ascension, he commanded his disciples to go into all the world and make disciples (Matthew 28). But the disciples were short one disciple after Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.
Acts 1:15-20 (ESV) In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle, and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms, “‘May his camp become desolate and let there be no one to dwell in it’; and “‘Let another take his office (episcopate).’”
The disciples had the office of episcopate or bishop. Bishops, not only were in charge of making disciples of all nations, but they were also responsible for reproducing others who would do the same. One way they did this was by choosing network elders (Titus 1:5). In 1 Timothy 3:1 (ESV) we see that this office of bishop was not only reserved for the 12 disciples.
“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer (episcopate or bishop), he desires a noble task.”
The Greek word episcopate thus means “office” in the noun form. In the verb form, episcopate means to inspect, to select, to go to see, to relieve, to look out for, or to visit. These actions are the role of the episcopate or bishop. Acts 6:3 is an example.
“Therefore, brothers, pick (episcopate) out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.”
All bishops in Christian Leaders Alliance are ministers who have demonstrated exceptional capabilities as network elders in the building of Christian Leaders Alliance. The current council of bishops appoints these bishops.
Ordinarily Bishops, even in the early church, were men. However, there were exceptions where women were called to this role. Again Romans 16:7:
“Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives and my fellow prisoners, who are notable among the apostles (bishops who must first be elders), who also were in Christ before me.”
Many believe another woman may have filled an Apostolic Bishop role in the early church. Priscilla is mentioned seven times in the New Testament. Priscilla was married to a Christian leader named Aquila. They were fellow tentmakers with Paul. Of the seven times, Priscilla and Aquila receive mention in the New Testament, Priscilla’s name is listed first five times. Priscilla is mentioned first when things relate to the work of ministry. Aquila is mentioned first when there is a greeting.
For instance, just like Paul left Titus in Crete as mentioned earlier, Paul left Priscilla and Aquila in Ephesus.
18 Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila… 20They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila.
While there in Ephesus, Priscilla is listed first to teach Apollos (many believe that Apollos is the author of the Book of Hebrews).
24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.26He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
In Romans 16, when Paul greeted the leaders, he mentioned her name first again.
3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, who work with me for Christ Jesus.
Priscilla and Aquila may have had a Network Elder role or an Apolostic Bishop role in the early church. They planted several house churches and supervised the launching of many leaders.
Also, in the Old Testament, we see a woman leader in Judges 4:4:
“Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time.”
Conclusion. God is at work with his redeemed and called image bearers. These offices and roles have one overarching purpose of raising up more leaders mobilized to disciple more leaders to spread the gospel everywhere. The ordained deacon minister office is opened to called men and women. The Elder and Bishop office will be ordinarily filled by ordained men with movement leadership gifts.