Christian Leaders Alliance Clergy Structure
Licensed and Ordination Definition:
We see the Licensed and Ordained Clergy Minister coming from the Greek word “tasso,” which means “leadership structure”, and from the Greek word “kathistami,” which means “to ordain, commission, designate”. The word “tasso” was a military term which in the verbal form, also means “ordain or appoint to office or leadership role.”
In Acts 6:1-8, we see how the early church movement expanded its leadership capacity as the multitude of disciples was growing. In this passage, we get a snapshot of different Christian leader groups. The ones mentioned are:
Christian Leaders – The word “disciples” is used this way as referring to the influencers who are asked to take responsibility to share Christianity. These disciples or Christian leaders have a passion for following Christ and influencing others to do so.
The Apostle Ministers -The founders of the early church network were the Apostle Ministers. In the Christian Leaders Alliance, we call these the Global Ministers.
The Elder/Mature Ministers -This group likely included mature Christian leaders like Barnabas and others such as “many priests who became obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). This group was not yet given a title, but they are the ones asked to appoint the new leaders in the group of deacon ministers.
The Deacon Ministers – In Acts 6, this is the new grouping of leaders who were being appointed and mobilized to expand ministry capacity in the early church. Seven Deacon Ministers were selected and ordained. Stephen is mentioned as “one full of faith and power.” (Acts 6:8) Specifically, we have ordained clergy who are in the stream of the deacon minister.
As the early apostles (Global Ministers) set up and recognized Elder Ministers (Barnabas, former priests) and Deacon Ministers (Stephen, Phillip), this early church structure launched Christianity.
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, seek ministry training through classes and mentors.
Spiritual gifts – Christian leaders have spiritual gifts in their area of calling.
Commended – Christian leaders are confirmed by their Christian community of mentors, church leaders, family, and others.
Outreach focus – Christian leaders who have an outreach mentality and are also known in the Christian community for having one.
In light of the above, the Christian Leaders Alliance defines the licensing and ordaining of the clergy as the global recognition and connection of called, trained, mentored and commended local Christian leaders into minister roles. These leaders have spiritual gifts and are passionate about spreading vital Christianity everywhere.
Deacon Minister is the foundational ordination with Christian Leaders Alliance.
Elder Ministers – The Greek word is “presbuteros,” translated as “elder” or “mature.” Titus was asked to appoint elders in every town. Many believe that he appointed an Elder Minister out of a pool of Christian leaders who were more advanced in their knowledge of Christianity and solid in their walk with God.
A senior pastor of a local church would be considered an Elder Minister in the Christian Leaders Alliance. They could also be a Christian leader who has continued to develop further roles beyond basic deacon minister roles.
Although elder ministers have historically been primarily men in most church traditions, Christian Leaders Alliance is open to gifted and called women as the Lord leads in your local situation.
At Jesus’s ascension, he commanded his disciples to go into all the world and make disciples (Matthew 28).
A Global Minister senses the calling to do more to create, lead, motivate, and encourage a network of Christian leaders. The office of the Apostle was occupied by those spreading early Christianity. When Judas betrayed Jesus, they needed to replace him. “‘Let another take his office (episcopate).'” The Greek word “episcopate” is translated as Apostle or Bishop. Read Acts 1:15-20 to understand this more deeply.
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 first disciples had the office of the episcopate. They were called Apostles. Today, at Christian Leaders Alliance, we call these types of leaders Global Ministers.
The Christian Leaders Alliance continues to appoint people to the role of Global Minister. Global ministers are ministers in charge of the apostolic purpose of expanding the impact of the kingdom of God through raising up more leaders, ministries, and churches.
The CLA Global Ministers Commission consists of leaders identified by CLA leadership as Global Ministers.
The process and responsibility of appointing new Global Ministers to the Global Ministers Commission is the responsibility of the Chairman and General Secretary of the Christian Leaders Alliance. The early church Global Ministers sought to recruit more Global Ministers to expand the reach of Christianity (Titus 1:5).
In 1 Timothy 3:1 (ESV) we see that this office of Global Minister was not only reserved for the 12 disciples:
“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer (episcopate), 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 Global Ministers.
The Apostles (Global Ministers) in Acts 6:3 say to the brothers, (Elder/Mature Ministers), “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.”
These Global Ministers demonstrate exceptional capabilities as network builders and recruiting of new ministers.
Ordinarily, Global Ministers, even in the early church, were men. However, there were exceptions where women were called to this role.
Many believe Priscilla may have filled an Apostle (Global Minister) role in the early church. Priscilla is mentioned seven times in the New Testament. Priscilla was married to a Christian leader named Aquila, and they were fellow tentmakers with Paul. Of the seven times, Priscilla and Aquila receive mention in the New Testament, Priscilla’s name is listed the 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 in Ephesus, Priscilla and Aquila taught 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 had either an Elder Minister role or a Global Minister role in the early church. They planted several house churches and supervised the launching of many leaders.
In the Old Testament, men were primarily the leaders. There were a few exceptions as 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 disciples to follow Christ. These Christian leaders spread the gospel everywhere. The Christian Leaders Alliance is open to women as well as men.