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 seemed to take responsibility for:
- an Apostolic Bishop Function
- a Network Elder Role
- 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 where 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.
Christian Leaders Alliance Organizational Structure
Christian Leaders Alliance is an ecclesiastical organization (church), made up of ordained deacon ministers, minister mentors, and ministries. They are called to bring Christianity to their communities and to raise up more Christian leaders to bring even more Christianity.
The Christian Leaders Alliance is overseen by the Apostolic Bishop Council. This council oversees a network of Network Elders and Ordained Deacon 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 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 (Christian Leaders Alliance) and the apostles (Apostolic Bishop Council) and elders , to whom they reported everything God had done through them.
We realize that two thousand years have passed since this organizational structure functioned, but the Christian Leaders Alliance sees ourselves in this scriptural narrative.
The Movement Narrative of Christian Leaders Alliance
The Apostle Paul and his early companions (Apostolic Bishop Council) appointed elders (Network Elders) 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:
- Network Elders who are called to oversee the launch of Christianity in local regions. These elders encouraged the ordinations of local deacon ministers and elder ministers.
- Often older 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 Bishop (Elder) at the church in Tralles.
- Ordinarily Christian men. Some evidence exists in early church history that there were female Network Elders. See this scholarly article. Some Biblical scholars believe that Junia mentioned in Roman 16 was a female apostle Bishop.
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 things.
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.