Todd Clippard

Topic(s): Church

Meeting in a church building has absolutely nothing to do with church organization. Church organization has to do with how the church is organized, not where it assembles for worship.

The Bible says that each local congregation is to have a plurality of elders (from the Greek presbyters–Acts 14:23, Titus 1:5, etc). These men are also known as bishops (1 Timothy 3:1), overseers (Acts 20:28), and pastors/shepherds (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Peter 5:2). Elders have the rule in the local congregation in matters of expediency (Hebrews 13:7, 17). Since the elders have the rule in the local congregations, this places even the preacher under their oversight. The one man “pastor” system is unknown and contradictory to the Scriptures.

Paul said a church without elders is “lacking” (Titus 1:5). Shortly after establishing congregations in Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe, Paul and Barnabas went back through those cities and “appointed elders in every church” (Acts 14:23). These men met–and men selected today must meet– the qualifications of Titus 1:5-9 and 1 Timothy 3:1-7. This is God’s plan for church organization.

Churches are also to have deacons who facilitate the various works of the church. These men must meet the qualifications given in 1 Timothy 3:8-12.

Church organization is perhaps the easiest way to immediately distinguish the Lord’s church from all others.

Concerning a church building–the church is nowhere commanded as to where to meet. While it is true the church often met in homes, it is also true that the early church met in the temple (Acts 2:46). The church can meet anywhere the elders deem fit, so long as no passage or principle of Scripture is violated. There were plenty of public places for the church to meet in the first century. Today’s church can meet in homes, rented buildings, hotel meeting rooms, or in their own building. For most congregations, a building is the most expedient way to fulfill God’s command to meet.

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