Big Apple Chapel is a New Testament based church in New York City, modeled after the pattern of the early church, with a strong emphasis on following Christ as a community of His disciples.

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  • 520 8th Ave, 16th floor
    New York, NY
  • phone: +1 (973) 837-1041

Church Study Guide - Part 5


Heb 10:24-25 Church Study Guide Part 5 Structure BC 1/01

III. Is there a Biblical structure that the NT-based church should have? Is structure Biblical?

The Fact of Biblical Structure/Leadership: fact of life in OT and NT

The Function of Biblical Structure/Leadership: weed, feed, lead (enfold, equip, eject)

The Fruit of Biblical Structure/Leadership: God-glorifying, Christ-like reproductive disciples impacting their world, reaping reward.

A. What types of structure or format contribute to a church fulfilling its purpose/mission?

1. What types of structures or environments would hinder a church from its mission? How? What’s the corrective to bad structure?

Too rigid a structure inhibits growth; an unpruned, overly loose structure encourages disease and does not promote growth.

2. What are the benefits/liabilities of the structures/formats you see reflected in the NT, church history, and in the present day?

As a congregation matures, and elders develop, structure moves from being hierarchical, to oligarchical (shared leadership by elders).

3. What place do evaluation and planning have in the Christian life? Church life? What standards or criteria should be used, if any?

Holiness (as God is Holy) and faithful loyalty (to Christ personally and His mission) are the basis of our future judgment. (Present?)

B. Who is the Head of the Church? How is a church to be led? How do elders differ from Apostles? Bishops? Pastors? Popes?

Jesus brought the Father glory by obeying Him; we individually bring the Father glory by obeying Him. We corporately bring the Father glory by obeying His instructions for the Church. Jesus is the Head of the church, the Chief Shepherd. He communicates His will for the church through His Holy Spirit. The Spirit communicates His will through the Word of God objectively (in direct commands as well as principles), and subjectively (debatably), when the occasion warrants.  Even the Apostle Paul was submitted to the structure of the Church, first at Antioch and then at Jerusalem for both his ministry and doctrine.

1.  What functions do elder(s), pastor/shepherd, and bishop/overseer have (see Survey of Tasks entrusted to Elders by NT outline)?

The tasks of pastoring/shepherding, and overseeing/ruling (episkopos) are entrusted to elders (presbuteros).

2. Compare/contrast the common forms of church government:

Congregational (democracy/anarchy) {assumes all are equally mature and know God’s will for themselves as well as the church}

Baptistic (shepherd/pastor lead) {one person rule [based on one verse] perpetuates sin and weakness, but is  necessary until men mature}

Hierarchical (bishop/overseer rule- Methodist/Episcopalian/Catholic) {no check on power, centralized power usually corrupts}

Presbyterian (multiple elder rule w/in a local church {rather than in a region})

3. Who were the itinerant preachers of the NT and how did they serve the church? What role do they have today?

4. What is shepherding/pastoring?

Protecting from deception and destruction (within and without-personally and corporately) and guiding believers to spiritually reproductive maturity.

C. What are elders? What do they do? What’s their Biblical basis? Acts 20; 1Pt 5; Titus 1; 1Tim 3; Heb 13

1. How does one become an elder? To whom are elders submitted? What is the difference between accountability and submission?

Accountability is asking someone to call you to give an account of your goals, actions, and responsibilities. It’s more about you.

Submission is accommodating your goals/ambitions (in mutual submission) or  lining yourself up under the authority or goals of another.

(see outline on Marks of Godliness and BAC by-laws: elders are committed to be submitted to each other by seeking & acting in unity)

2. What’s the basis for ordination and a “professional clergy”? Is there a Biblical distinction between clergy and laity?

3. How does the NT indicate believers should respond to elders? How should someone respond to imperfect or corrupt church leadership?

4. How does submission relate to church? Should believers be submitted to one another? Leadership? How? When does submission end?

5. How is submission on the job, or in a marriage, or in a family different from that in a church?

See: www.peacemakers.net/resources/strauch/biblicaleldership.htm