Who Are We?
Thanks for asking... The members of the East Bristol church of Christ are organized after the pattern for the church that Jesus said he would build (Matthew 16:18). The New Testament church consists of individual congregations in various localities. Each congregation is independent and self-governing with Christ as head (Ephesians 5:23). Therefore, there are no centralized headquarters on earth or any group of people who make decisions for all of the local congregations that make up the church of Christ. Each congregation fulfills its responsibilities following only what Christ directs us to do through His inspired word, the New Testament.
Although each congregation is independent and self-governing, we do cooperate with other congregations in preaching the gospel, mutual exhortation, and benevolence.
Each local congregation does its work under the oversight of men whose office is designated in the New Testament by the following names:
"Elders." This term indicates that these men must be older in age and experience. They must be mature in the faith. (Acts 11:30; 14:23; 15:2-6; 15:22-23; 20:16-18; 1 Timothy 5:17; Titus 1:4-9; James 5:14; 1 Peter 5:1-2).
"Overseers." This term indicates their responsibility to oversee the work of the local congregation they are members of (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2; 1 Timothy 3:1-2; Titus 1:7) (Note: The word "Bishop" is the same Greek word that is translated "Overseer."). The overseers are given the authority to make the many decisions in matters of judgment or option that arise in the congregation.
"Pastors" or "shepherds." These terms indicate their responsibility to lead the local congregation (Ephesians 4:11; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-4). The word "pastors" indicates that these men are shepherds. Like literal shepherds, they have the responsibility to "feed" (teach) and protect the flock.
As can be seen by reading the above passages, there was always a plurality of elders/overseers/pastors in each congregation. Elders do not have authority to make laws or rules. Their authority lies in the area of seeing that what Jesus has designated as the work of the church is done in the way that He has directed.
The local congregation also consists of men who are appointed as deacons (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8-13). Deacons are servants of the church under the oversight of the elders fulfilling specific tasks assigned to them.
The local congregations were taught by men who are called evangelists or preachers (Acts 21:8; Romans 10:13-15; 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11). Many times today these men are called ministers, although every member of the local congregation is a minister, which simply means a servant (1 Peter 4:10-11; Matthew 25:31-46; Romans 15:27; Hebrews 6:10). The preacher/evangelist serves under the oversight of the pastors/elders/overseers. His responsibility lies in the area of preaching and teaching the word of God (2 Timothy 4:2).
Finally, the congregation consisted of Christians who are also called saints, ministers, priests, and members (Acts 9:13, 32, 41; 26:10; Romans 1:7; 8:27; 12:13; 15:25-26, 31; 16:2, 15; 1 Corinthians 6:1-2; 16:1, 15; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 8:4, 15; 9:1, 12; Philippians 1:1; 1 Peter 2:5, 9 etc...)
The simple organization of the church of Christ is summed up in Philippians 1:1: "Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops (overseers) and deacons" (NKJV).
If you have further questions concerning the organization of the church contact us at (276) 669-6221 or email us.
Beloved, let us love one another:
for love is of God;
and every one that loveth
is born of God,
and knoweth God.
He that loveth not k
noweth not God;
for God is love.
In this was manifested
the love of God toward us,
because that God sent
his only begotten Son into the world, that we might
live through him.
I John 4:7-9