Many are concerned about the future of the church. In saying that some are referring to all groups that profess to be part of the church our Lord built. The future can be determined by the past. If all sought to be the church of the New Testament, the future would be bright and would have the right leadership. The New Testament church had spiritual leadership that was organized and easy to follow.
The church was organized with elders in every church (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5). There was no universal bishop or pope in New Testament times. Men did not and would not wear ecclesiastical titles. Jesus stated, “Do not call anyone on earth your father.” (Matt. 23:9 NKJV) The spiritual leadership of the New Testament church wore no official titles.
The church was governed by “overseers” (Acts 20:28). These were the elders. Each congregation had a group of men who were the elders. They were appointed based on the God-given qualifications of 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Their official duty was to oversee, shepherd, and feed the flock (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:20). These elders were in each congregation. They were called “bishops” in 1 Tim. 3:1; and, also “pastors” in Eph. 4:11. Deacons were also appointed based on the qualifications in 1 Tim. 3:8-13. There were also evangelists and teachers. (Eph. 4:11) This is the way the church was organized in the New Testament. No one man had any say over another congregation. No one person was in charge of a group of congregations. When congregations in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch needed elders, they were appointed. They apparently were functioning without them for a while; but when the time was right, elders were selected (Acts 14:21-23). Men called “deacons” also served in a capacity in the early church. The Bible gives qualifications for these men as well (1 Tim. 3:8:13). Only those men qualified can serve as elders and deacons in the church, then and today.
The church had Christ as its head. The Bible tells us that Christ is the head of the church (Eph. 1:22, 23; Col. 1:18). By saying Christ is the head means that He has the final say in matters of authority, doctrine, and practice. There was not any one man on earth who was the head of the church in New Testament times. Jesus stated, “There is no other name under heaven given among man whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). He gave Himself for the church (Acts 20:28). He is the Savior of the church (Eph. 5:23). He nourishes and cherishes the church (Eph. 5:29). Let’s always let Christ be the head. We are subject to Him (Eph. 5:24).
Let us just follow the simple pattern of the New Testament. Let us be people of the Bible. If we just do it the Bible way, God will bless us richly. God’s way is always the right way.