"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace . . . Let all things be done decently and in order."  1 Corinthians 14:33,40

The structure of the church should not be determined by culture, business practices, or even denominational traditions.

The Nature Of The Church Determines Its Structure.

1.  The Church is a Fellowship.

"They continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship . . ."  Acts 2:42

A top priority in a fellowship is unity and harmony. "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."  Ephesians 4:3

"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another."  Romans 14:19

ANY attitude that causes disunity is sin.

Col. 3:15, 1Cor. 1:10, 2 Tim. 2:14, Pr. 17:14, 2 Cor 13:11, Phil 1:27, Phil. 2:1-3, Col. 2:2, Phil 4:2, 1 Peter 3:8,  1 Cor. 14:33, John 13:34-35, 2 Tim. 2:23, Rom 15:5-6, Rom. 12:16-18, Col. 3:13-14, Ps 133:1

Implications: A Good Structure Promotes Unity and Downplays Differences.

". . . Ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.  For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and I partly believe it."  1 Corinthians 11:17-18

"Voting" tends to divide people.

At Southside Baptist Church we place all leadership and decision making responsibility in the hands of qualified Pastors/Elders recognized by the congregation.  These Pastors/Elders are reaffirmed annually in their ministry. 

The Pastors/Elders will seek affirmation on the following:

  • Calling Pastors/Elders
  • Annual budget
  • Purchase of land or buildings
  • Changes in the church bylaws and/or constitution

2.  The Church is a Family.

"You should be like one big happy family, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds."  1 Peter 3:8

Gal. 6:10, Heb. 2:10-12, 1 Peter 4:17

So We Operate On the Basis Of Relationships Not Regulations.

"Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the young men as brethren." 1 Tim. 5:1-2

"(A Pastor) One, that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjections with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)"  1 Timothy 3:4-5

3.  The Church is a Body.

1 Corinthians 12:27, Ephesians 5:23, Colossians 1:18, 2:19

We are a Body - not a Business!  We are an organism - NOT an organization!

Therefore, we function on the basis of spiritual gifts NOT elected officers.

"For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;" Romans 12:4-6

In an organization "maintenance" becomes the focus.

But in an organism "ministry" is the focus.

At Southside Baptist we have a simple structure so we can maximize ministry and minimize maintenance.

"And He (God) gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers."  Ephesians 4:11-12

Our Structure

The people are the "Ministers."

The Pastors/Elders are the "Administers."

4.  The Church is a Flock.

(Jesus' favorite description of the Church.) John 10:1-30; Matthew 26:31; Matthew 25:33

"He (Jesus) saith to him again the second time; Simon (Peter), son of Jonas, lovest thou me?  He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.  He saith unto him, Feed my sheep."  John 21:16-17

Three different terms are used in the New Testament to refer to the same church leaders:

"And he gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints . . ."  Ephesians 4:11-12

"To the elders which are among you I exhort, i who am also an elder, . . . Feed (Pastor) the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, no by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind."  ! Peter 5:1-2

"A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach."  1 Timothy 3:2

See also Titus 1:5-7, 1 Timothy 3:1-7