Early Church Organizational Structure
The early church has a church order leadership structure that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, launched Christian leaders in villages, towns, cities, and urban areas. Christianity started in different people groups, and it kept spreading.
The organizational structure of the early church took responsibility for:
- Raising up more Christian leaders and strategic planning.
- Recruiting mature and healthy leaders to tend to the needs of the Christian community.
- A robust mobilizing of local Deacon Ministers for ministry.
As the church grew through time, the emphasis changed from growth and movement to maintenance and regulation. Career church ministers filled ministry roles that were ordinarily filled by the volunteer or bi-vocational ministers. A sharp distinction between the salaried clergy and the unpaid laity formed. Christian Leaders Alliance seeks to revive the earlier church order structure where volunteers, bi-vocational, and career ministers are all considered clergy.
Christian Leaders Alliance Organizational Structure
Christian Leaders Alliance is an eccuministry organization, made up of the licensed and ordained clergy, including minister mentors, and ministries.
CLA exists to encourage Alliance members to fulfill their ministry calling in reliance on the Holy Spirit and for the glory of Jesus Christ.
Our mission is to impact the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ by encouraging and supporting CLA members to fulfill their ministry calling by providing ministry credential recognition, continuing ministry education programs, communication networks, mentoring, and related services. It is our mission to pray for one another, that in relentless reliance on Jesus Christ and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, every CLA member may “lay hold of that for which Jesus Christ has laid hold” of them.
The Global Ministers Commission oversees and advises the Christian Leaders Alliance. This Commission oversees a network of Certified, Licensed, and Ordained ministers, serving the Lord in minister roles and ministries.
The Christian Leaders Alliance organizational structure is set up to ignite a worldwide Christian movement of volunteer, bi-vocational, and vocational ministers. The early church organization inspires this organizational setup. In Acts 15, Paul and Barnabas were witnessing how Christianity was spreading in every people group. The church in Antioch sent them on their way to Jerusalem, the organizational center of Christianity at that time.
Acts 15:3-4 – The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad.
When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.
Two thousand years have passed since this organizational structure first functioned, but the Christian Leaders Alliance sees ourselves in this scriptural narrative.
The Kingdom and Gospel Expanding Narrative of Christian Leaders Alliance
The Apostle Paul and his early companions (Global Ministers) appointed elders (Elder Ministers) in places that Christianity was spreading.
Acts 14:23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
Titus 1:5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.
While we do not have the early church’s handbook, we do know that in this early church context, the elders were:
- Global Ministers and Elder Ministers called to oversee the launch of Christianity in local regions. These ministers developed new ministers (licensed clergy) and experienced ministers and elder ministers (ordained clergy). This launch was also connected to the diakonos spread of servant leadership and structure.
- Often experienced deacon ministers. In New Testament times, for instance, notable deacon ministers are thought of as becoming elders as they aged and advanced in their ministries. Philip, the Evangelist, was appointed as a Deacon in Acts 6. He is said to have been the Elder at the church in Tralles.
- Ordinarily, men. Some evidence exists in early church history that there were female Elder Ministers. See this scholarly article. Some Biblical scholars believe that Junia mentioned in Romans 16 was a female apostle.
Romans 16:7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.
The Christian Leaders Alliance realizes that we do not have the exact church order of the New Testament church. No one does. Throughout the centuries of the Christian movement, church orders have attempted to be inspired by scripture and relevant for their times. The Christian Leaders Alliance seeks to do the same.
Christian Leaders Alliance sees the need for a church order that launches more Christian leaders who will open new doors and new possibilities for local bi-vocational and vocational leaders.
The early church has a church order leadership structure that through the power of the Holy Spirit launched Christian leaders in villages, towns, cities, and urban areas. Christianity started in different people groups, and it kept spreading.
The organizational structure of the early church seemed to take responsibility for:
- Raising up more Christian leaders and strategic planning
- Recruiting mature and healthy leaders to tend to the needs of the Christian community
- a robust mobilizing of local Deacon Ministers for ministry
As the church grew through time, the emphasis changed from growth and movement to maintenance and regulation. Ministry roles that were ordinarily filled by bi-vocational ministers were supplied by professional ministers. A sharp distinction between the salaried clergy and the unpaid laity formed. Christian Leaders Alliance seeks to revive the early church order structure.