- The Organization and Various Titles
Ephesians 4:11-12 says, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” God appoints many titles with the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the church to make believers complete, serve them, and to establish the church.
Therefore, those who have titles should come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. They should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ.
Those with titles in church can generally be divided into ministers who are called for His ministry with special duty, wholly serving the members, and other lay members.
Ministers must preach and teach God’s Word and pray concentrating on sheep-raising as a shepherd (2 Timothy 4:2, Acts 20:28, Matthew 28:20).
God appointed titles to lay members also to fulfill the duties in the church completely. Different churches and denominations have different names of titles, but the highest title for the lay members is the ‘Elder’s title.
Elders serve the church as bishops, and thus they must have sincere faith and become kind of persons who can set examples of the believers. They manage the administration and try to increase the morality helping the ministers. Titus 1:5-9 tells us the qualifications of an elder. It says, “you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you– if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.” Also, 1 Timothy 3:1-7 writes about the qualifications of a bishop.
Also, 1 Peter 5:1-4 gives advice for elders, “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” So, God says, “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine” (1 Timothy 5:17).
Other than the title of elder who takes care of the members in the church, there is the title of deacon who assists elders and serves the church officially.
1 Timothy 3:8-13 writes about the qualifications of a deacon. It says, “Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. Likewise their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
Likewise, there are ministers in church who are appointed instead of the Lord to manage the church as a whole, pray, and preach the Word of God. Therefore we should appoint elders or deacons to serve the church and the members.
- The Orders Established by God in the Church
Our body has arms, legs, face, and many other parts that make up one whole body, working for the good of everything. In the same way, there are many duties in the church, the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:5). Duties are given by the Lord, and we cannot say one is more important than another.
If our body does not have an eye or a hand, it will be very uncomfortable. If one part of our body feels pain, the whole body will suffer. The duties in the church are parts of the whole body, and they should be united like a gear and accomplish the kingdom and righteousness of God. If one part has a problem, the whole church will not have peace. Therefore, God set up orders in the church so that there will not be any quarreling or dissension in the church and everybody will care for each other. 1 Corinthians 12:28 says, “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.”
The first is the apostles.
An apostle is God’s servant who obeys God completely and has fulfilled God’s will. They are servants of God such as Peter or Paul who were called within God’s will, obeyed to perform their God-given duties, sacrificed even their lives to accomplish God’s kingdom and righteousness, and reached the perfect obedience.
The second is the prophets.
Prophets are the servants or workers of God who are in the process of God’s calling. Because God Himself has called them, He Himself refines them. When they come out as proper vessel through the trials, God uses them for His kingdom and righteousness. Prophets get rid of the evil in their heart, change their heart into good soil, and perform their duties well. Therefore, God recognizes as prophets not only ministers but also those who perform their God-given duties well.
The third is the teachers.
Church has the duty to teach the believers with God’s Word. So, if we, as Sunday school teacher, cell leader, or other kinds of leader, teach God’s Word, plant faith, and lead the souls to the way of life, God pleases with us. Therefore, Matthew 5:19 says, “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
The fourth is the miracles.
The reason why ‘miracles’ is next to teachers is because believers can grow up to have firm faith when they are taught by God’s Word and see the evidence that He is living. If we receive the gift of performing miracles, God’s power that is beyond human limit will be manifested and we will be able to testify to the living God. ‘Miracles’ refers to healing not only all kinds of diseases but also those with inborn infirmities such as polio patients and lame men.
The fifth is the gifts of healings.
It is very hard to find a person who can perform miracles in the world, but there are quite a few people who have received the gifts of healings. With gifts of healings, they pray for those who are suffering from illnesses and heal them so that they give glory to God. All churches should have this gift so that those who come to God would be freed from all kinds of diseases with faith. Then, the gospel would spread more quickly so that more people will be saved.
The sixth is helps.
It is very important to love our neighbors and help one another, as parts of one faith. If we help one another, we will feel God’s love more deeply and try to gather more. Therefore, we should help one another but first with prayers, giving advice, and giving hope. We should seek the benefit of the other person sacrificing ourselves to have a beautiful fellowship. If we act in this way, we can accomplish God’s kingdom and righteousness greatly.
The seventh is administrations.
‘Administration’ can be divided into administering our own mind and administering the brothers. Administering here does not refer to controlling something with material or physical power, but to controlling things with love, virtue, and embracing in truth. Administering our own mind is to get rid of our evil in our heart and to take after the heart of Jesus Christ bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the Beatitudes. Only when we can control and administer our own mind can we embrace our brothers and administer them within truth.
The last is varieties of tongues.
Speaking in tongues is prayer of the spirit and a gift that is given to God’s children who have received the Holy Spirit. By praying in tongues, we can have deep fellowship with God, and gain more strength to pray so that we can pray more. God’s children should pray continually and be able to pray deeply, because prayer is the breath of our spirit. Therefore, speaking in varieties of tongues is also a necessary gift for the believers.
Once we understand the organization and the orders of the church, members can grow up in faith in the right way. Then, the church will be united by the Holy Spirit and the members will be complete in faith, so that each church will have the foundation for a great revival.