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Church Structure and Involvement
                                                   by Enrico Jayawiyanto (Jay) and Leonard Rusli (Leo)


In this paper, we want to expose furthermore about CHURCH, because the essence of church itself is the people, who are believers, congregation of believers. Church= people of God. In the Bible, there are two types of people of God if we generalized them chronologically. The first one is Israel (Old Testament), starting from Abraham. The second one is the community of believers in this world (New Testament). The definition that we are going to use is the latter one, which means the people of God.
This definition starts from The Pentecost.

Why Pentecost? It’s because that God uses it as the turning point to change the way God relates to us.He relates to us personally, not only through priests like the Old Testament era. The Church that was pictured in the New Testament can be described as a body, a Body Of Christ. According to the passage, the people in this body are filled with the Spirit. This phenomenon only exists after the Day of Pentecost.

Distinction between O.T. Israel and N.T. Church
  O.T Israel N.T. Church Possible Consequences of Misapplication
Symbol of God's Dwelling Physical temple/tabernacle
(Exodus 25:8)
Soul of every believer
(1 Cor 3:16, Eph 2:20-22)
God lives in a building 
(God in a box)
Medium High priest
(Lev 8 - 9)
Jesus Christ/Holy Spirit
(Heb 3:1)
The unordained/lay Christians become insignificant secondary and passive, unable to be used by God
Religious Calendar prescribed 'holy' days
(Lev 16, 23)
Salvation once and for all, everyday is made holy by God (Gal 4:1 - 11) legalism; formalistic approach to God; getting acceptace from attending the 'holy' days (Xmas, Easter)
Rituals Physical circumcision 
(Gen 17)
spiritual circumcision
(Deut 30:6, Col 2:11)
spiritual regeneration or conversion through rituals not personal commitment
Law emphasized incodes of law and God's judgement 
(Exodus 18:16; Lev 19)
the law of grace emphasis on God's grace through Jesus Christ
(Rom 2:17-29)
legalism, acceptance from God through good works, self-righteous
Worship Liturgical/ritual worship; highly regulated and prescribed 
(Exodus 20:8 - 11)
worship is holistic dedicatino of every aspect in everyday life 
(Col 3:17)
impersonal and artificial relationship with God
Outreach Separated from unbelievers, passively witnessing in the midst of unbelievers, actively witnessing
(1 Cor 9:19-23)
isolation from the world, ignorance of the great commission.

Priesthood of All Believers

From all the things listed in the previous page, we want to emphasize on priesthood. In the New Testament (NT), there is a concept called “Priesthood of All Believers”. This means that each one of us, who believe in Christ as their Lord and Savior, has a direct access to God of the universe, which enabled by the Death of Christ (Heb 10:19-20). The word “ecclesia”, which means, “to be called out” is the word used in NT for “CHURCH”. Thus, the Church is being called out by God to be distinct, to be distinct from what? From the world and its system, values, and view (1 Jn 2:15-16). This distinction exists between the world and the church, but not within the church itself.

Nowadays, the Church community introduces terms such as Clergy and Laity. The clergy are the ordained ministers, pastors, who usually have gone through special education. The laity are the rest of the Church members; common people like us. What does the Bible say about this? The Bible has never made a distinction between clergy and laity nor between the people who has a theological education and who doesn’t. It is true that there are some differences inside the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12 and Rom 12) but each one is still a member of one another, thus the differences are for a purpose of complementary.

Nevertheless, within the undifferentiated unity of the people of God differences do exist – differences, which relate not to their standing before God but to their function in the community (Stott, p33). The root problems of clergy-laity, where laity as God’s people also are not being empowered, is a misconception in defining the Church itself. In the NT, God designed the Church as a unified church, with no favoritism (Rom 10:12-13). The One who empowered us to profess that Jesus is Lord is The One Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:1-3), the same Spirit who gives us the spiritual gift(s) (vs. 4-11), as we are being baptized in the same Spirit also (vs. 12-13). There is some different type of perversion from this truth.

In this paper, the definition of the term clergy and laity will be redefined, because that is the main and root misunderstanding of the problem. But for the purpose of this paper, when the terms clergy and laity is used, it is to be understood as explained in two previous paragraphs.

1.Clericalism and Dualism
Clericalism is due to a distorted image of the Church. Clericalism has too often kept the laity in subjection and condemned them to a position of inferiority and inactivity. The “priestly” people do all ministries. The word “Laity” comes from the word laos which, in Greek, originally means people or any crowd of people. This word is then evolve to mean the mass of people in city-state, distinguished from kleros, the magistrate, chief priests, suggesting that the kleros is not part of laos. This word also evolved in the English language as a synonym of amateur or not professional, unqualified to be called expert. This caused the rest of the people in the Church to be passive and not participating in the work of the Kingdom of God.
      “What does the layman really want? He wants a building which looks like a church; a clergyman dressed in the
      what he approves; services of the kind he’s been used to, and to be left alone”
     (Robinson, Layman’s church,p.10)
Laity did not get a chance to be a minister in the areas that are involving “big” decision making process, especially for the important stuff. They were perceived as “less spiritual” and have less understanding of God’s Word. In the beginning, they were never equipped by the clergymen to be ready.
There are two manifestations of this misconception:
a. Autocratic Clericalism, where the clergy dominates the entire ministry.
b. Dualism, a separation between clergy and laity, where there are some ministries that are reserved by the
    clergies  or ordained ministers.

An example of dualism is Roman Catholic, where there is a clear distinction between the clergy and laity, and according to them, together, they make the fullness of church. This is a distorted view and it can produce an empty and shallow fellowship. Each division (clergy and laity) has their own job description, but there is no accountability and care for one another, thus there are no partnership in their ministry and worship.

Here are a view characteristic of clericalism:
bulletChurches spend their money on clergy
bulletDecisions are made primarily by clergy
bulletStandards are determined by the clergy
bulletThe laity is not trained to make theological decisions, just pragmatic ones
bulletEducation for clergy is the major financial investment
The second possible scenario is the anti of the first one, an attitude that hates clergymen. This is obviously a wrong response to clericalism. This kind of attitude forms a slippery slope of liberalism. If we see God’s design of church, there are some pastoral ministries that God appointed for His Church, even though it can be in many forms. In Paul and Barnabas’ ministry, they appointed elders in every church. In Philipi, Paul addressed his letter to the deacons, and in Titus, he specifically said, “…that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you.” (Tit 1:5).

There are two words that are used in the Bible to authorize clerical leadership:
a. Proistemi
In the 1 Thess 5:12, “…to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord…” and in 1 Tim 3:5, this word was used to describe a role of a manager, or man’s management inside the house. In 1 Tim 5:17, “who rule well…”. All of these passages describe that there is such thing as authority in the Church. The other meaning of this word is headship and “to be concern about” (Rom 12:8). The ministry of these people is for equipping, teaching or preaching (1 Tim 5:17).

b. Hegeomai
In Hebrew 13, this word was used three times and translated into “you leaders”. The same word also used when Joseph was appointed as a governor of Egypt. We must be careful in interpreting the meaning of authority that God has given. Even though the Church is instructed to be subject to the leaders (Heb 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority…”, Jesus, teaches about servant leadership, where who wants to be the first has to be the last.

Service/Servant Leadership

So, how can we have a balanced view? This can be pertained by an understanding that all laity believers are the Church, and the ordained ministers are part of the laity themselves with a special mandate as to serve the Church and equip them to be a witness to the world.
“You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise
authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you should be your
servant (diakonos), and whoever would be first among you must be slave (doulos) of all.” (Mark 10:42-44) The Church main purpose is to worship God (Ex 19:4-6), and the duty of the clergy to the laity is to help them worship, equip them, and lead them in worship in every area of their life. The second purpose of the Church is to be witness. Thus, the clergy have to empower the laity to be able to do become an effective witness to the world.

This relationship between clergy and laity is described clearly by Paul;
“And his gifts were that some should be apostle, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,
for the equipment of the saints, for the work of ministry, for building up the Body of Christ.” (Eph 4:11-12)

In KJV, some commas were deleted, thus it is misunderstood that the leaders should do;
1.Equipping the saints (the laity)
2.Doing the work of ministry
3.Building the Body of Christ.

On the contrary, the correct interpretation is that clergy should do the 1st part, and laity should do the rest. If clergy should do them all, so why need equipping after all?
All believers are priests, ministers, and servants, but, some function as pastors and teachers. We need to remember that equipping doesn’t stop at the point where only pastors and teachers are the ones who are doing the equipping. This will result in a manner of “master-apprentice”. Equipping needs to be done in order to make laity (apprentice) to be a teacher (master) who is able to teach and lead others to Christ and become an active minister to them.
Stott expands Paul’s letter to the Ephesians very well;

They were saying “I belong to Paul,” “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas.” In other words, they were
defining themselves in relation to their leaders. Paul told them that the opposite was the truth. “All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas,…all are yours.” (I Cor 3:22-23). So if anybody belongs to anybody in the
Church, it is not the laity who belong to the clergy, but the clergy who belong to the laity. We are theirs, their
servants for Jesus’ sake. In olden days it was customary for a lay person to conclude a letter to his bishop with the words, “I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant.” It would be more biblical, however, for a bishop (or any pastor) to sign himself a lay person’s obedient servant!

Elders and Deacons

In NT Church, there were never mentioned about ordained priest nor a single guy who is the master of everything (expect Jesus of course). But instead, the leaders of NT Church were always plural, and they were called elders/bishops and deacons. If we pay a close attention, the NT indicates that elders and deacons are to formed in a plurality context (Acts 14:23, Tit 1:5, 1 Pet 5:2).
Does the selection or qualification of elders and deacons emphasize on gifts? No, as a matter of fact, Paul emphasizes on spiritual maturity. This is a pitfall that we may get into. We need to believe that it’s the Holy Spirit that will change us inside out and along in our maturity, He will put us in a role that fits. If we emphasize on gifts;
- We’ll tend to forget about being spiritually mature, instead we’ll be more focus on getting or discovering gifts.
- We’ll tend to make a maturity level based on gifts.
- A very gifted man can be spiritually immature also.

What are the differences between deacons and elders?

There are some differences reflected in 1 Tim 3 and Tit 1; Deacons aand elders differs in functions. In most Churches, deacons serve mostly as administrators, while elders become teachers and own the leadership role of the church.
In terms of spiritual qualifications, deacons is slightly less strict than elders. The Bible mentions that elders must not be a new convert. I does not mention this requirement for the deacons. However, the qualification “to be tested” apply to both. In reality, testing of character quality, service willingness and motivation needs time anyway. This testing is then, a much better measuring tool, not chronological time of conversion.
Elders are also required to be able to “refute those who contradict” and to teach, because they need to be teachers and equippers of the church to do ministry in the world. This particular ability or gift is not required for deacons, but of course, all should equip themselves to answer questions on their faith or doctrine as in I Pet 3:15.

Qualification of Elders:

Let’s analyze 1 Tim 3:1-7 for elders’ (overseers’) qualifications;

Vs. 2:
bulletAbove reproach, taken from a Greek word anepilempton or anegkleton which means good reputation, cannot be accused. Paul put this as the first qualification for a reason, because it’s a summary of all things we would mention latter on. This qualification is vague, but the positive things are evident.
bulletOne-woman man or “husband of one wife”. This qualification does not mean that only man can be an elder, but it puts more emphasize on sexual morality in the present stage.
bulletSober, or temperate. Taken from a Greek word nephalion which means sober. This is pretty clear, an elder has to be spiritually healthy or orientation in order to have a clear perspective on life.
bulletPrudent, or sane, self-controlled, from a Greek word sophrona. This means “not crazy”, mentally healthy (2 Cor 5:13, Mark 5:15), or sensible, reasonable (tit 2:6, 1 Pet 4:7).
bulletRespectable, from the Greek word kosmion which means well ordered, orderliness, stability.
bulletHospitable, philoxenon or philexenia, which literally translated to “lovers of strangers”. Interest to do an      outreach to people, with a genuine heart.
bulletAble to teach, didaktikon, where we have teaching skill. An understanding of the Bible is a requirement to be able to encourage and admonish, including “refuting those who contradict”. This goes further that elders must able to teach the Word to others, explain, and discerning (Heb 5:11-14, Heb 4:12).

Vs. 3:
bulletNot addicted to wine, this doesn’t mean only wine or liquor, but all substance abuse, no dependency. Have to be able to apply and use freedom respectively & wisely and not becoming a stumbling block to a weaker believer (1 Cor 8).
bulletPugnacious, me plekten which means a striker. This means that the person is not an abuser, either physically or verbally.
bulletGentle, or kind, from Greek word epieke, which means gracious, emphatic. If we see from the structure of verse 3, we can see that what Paul meant here was that “not pugnacious and addicted to much wine”, not quick tempered, rigorous, rigid in his interaction with others, understanding, thoughtful about others’ feeling.
bulletPeaceable, amachon, lover of peace, positive and constructive thinking.
bulletFree from the love of money, not greedy, from the word aphilagruron that mean to be content with what he has (1 Tim 6:8), simple lifestyle, have a generous giving attitude. Motivation is the big thing in this qualification, …is it overshadowed by financial gain.

Vs. 4-5:
bulletManages his household well, from the Greek word prohistemenon, which means to lead, to manage, to be stand for. In family life, it means to be able to lead one’s household, whether in a family or other circumstances. This includes applying biblical principles and being an example in it.

Vs. 6:
bulletNot a new convert, me neophuton is the Greek word. This means that the person has been tested by God in his Christian life and has experiences in his walk with God without being conceited.

Vs. 7:
bulletHave a good reputation with those who outside, which literally means “with unbelievers”- exothen. The person is not a hypocrite, people who knows him speak well of him generally, little discrediting, and has an awareness of his comfort zone and able to resist it.
There are some additions from Titus 1:

Vs. 7:
bulletNot self-willed, from Greek words, me autade, neither egocentric nor selfish. Able to work with others and surrender one’s will for the benefit of others. There’s an aspect of humility here, able to apologize, not rebellious.
bulletNot quick tempered, me orgilon, not violent and plunge into bitterness. Anger itself is not the thing (Eph 4), but the quickness of getting to it is the main thing in this verse, rather he should be patient, avoid outburst. This has a lot of thing to do with self controlled, ability to forgive people and drop offenses.

Vs. 8:
bulletLoving what is good, philagathon, agathon means goodness, that’s where we get a name Agathon, who is The God of Goodness in Greek. He is able to demonstrate a lifestyle that reflects an enjoyment of living in Godly perspective. Enjoy doing ministry, even though things may go hard.
bulletJust, from a Greek word dikiaon, means fair, no favoritism. He must be able to show no favoritism in dealing with people and managing ministries. Able to resist one’s bias and tendencies to be selfish and set forth for God’s plan and will.
bulletDevout, hosion, seriousness, in approaching and knowing God and His will to be applied in ministries and his life.
Qualifications of Deacons

Deacons, from 1 Tim 3:8-12, have the same criteria as elders without the things listed in the differences
between elders and deacons. Here they are:

Vs. 8:
bulletDignity, respectable, as the elders.
bulletNot double tongue, means consistency in saying, not a liar.
bulletNot addicted to much wine, not having a substance abuse.
bulletNot fond of sordid gain, not selfish, nor trying to have a personal gains/biases. Willing to sacrifice possessions/money to an enhancement of the gospel regularly.
Vs. 9:
bulletHolding fast to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience. This means know the Bible/scripture and apply it in real life.
Vs. 10:
bulletBeyond reproach and already tested. Deacons have to be able show the work of ministry effectively and recognize them as a deacon if they are beyond reproach.

Vs. 11:
bulletNot malicious gossips. This is very clear, deacons must be able to show ability to keep secret, and not involving in slanders.
bulletTemperate, sober, spiritually healthy and emotionally stable.
bulletFaithful in all things, reliable.

Vs. 12:
bulletHusband of one wife, literally one-woman man, emphasized on sexual morality.
bulletManages his household well.

Basic Types of Local Church Structure

From the correct understanding of the clergy-laity ministry, and the Biblical qualification of elders and deacons, Local Churches build their structure. These three are some manifestations of those principles.
Neither of them may be judged to be more Biblical or less. Each of them has their own advantages and pitfalls.
   ·From word : bishop
   ·Have 1 high bishop (cardinal) over several bishop
   ·Hierarchy of one man over another
   ·Example : Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Greek Orthodox

   ·Church governed by board of elders
   ·Board of elder in local church above that council, above that synods
   ·Similar to republic
   ·Example : Presbyterian, Lutheran, some Baptist

   ·Autonomous, individual local church
   ·Independent, not bound to rule any overseer (bishop, etc)
   ·Example : Quakers, Grace brethren, most Pentecostal

Practical tips for involvement in a local church

1.Involve God in our daily prayer for our ministries and also pray for the church.

2.Developing friendship with the elders/deacons/pastors, so that we know how they work, with a purpose of our
involvement. Try to find out the church organizational structure.

3.Start our involvement in a smaller group, in order to get to know each other in the the church/fellowship, thus we can begin by making an impact there.

4.Try a ministry or several ministries that have open opportunities for us to make an impact and according to our

5.Don’t entertain consumerism orientation. Exhort one’s desire to serve and make contribution to the church.

6.Don’t rush, be patient to get an opportunity in ministry. Sometimes we need to wait patiently for the right moment and condition in order to be able to make a difference.

7.Be humble, don’t feel that you have a “silver bullet”. Follow things that have been around.

8.Try to regenerate values that we learned, start by sharing and being a witness, don’t start “teaching” it yet.

9.Don’t become a “Lone Ranger”, build networks with friends from old churches or fellowship, share some thoughts
and problems.

10.Keep an open mind, respect others’ opinion, and try to get a win-win situation.

1.Stott, John, “One People”, Revel 1972
2.McCallum, Dennis, “Walking In Victory”
3.House, H. Wayne, “Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine”
4.Christian Servanthood 1 Materials, Xenos Christian Fellowship 1998
5.McCallum, Dennis, “The Body Life Series”, Xenos Christian Fellowship 1998