Adult Bible B.L.A.S.T Week Nine “The Church” cont-12/10/17

  1. How is the Church Organized?
  2. Government Styles

Question: What do you think it means when I ask the question ‘How is the church organized?’


One thing that most people are aware of is that there are different kinds of churches. Some differences relate to the history and doctrine of the church. Other differences relate to different types of church government. The table below gives a description of the major types of church government.


Type of Church Government Description Examples of Churches
National Government Churches that are headed by the Secular National Government of the Country Anglican Church of England or Lutheran Church of Germany
Hierarchical Government The body of clergy is divided into various ranks reporting eventually to a single person like the Pope or Archbishop Roman Catholic Church, Episcopal, Orthodox and Anglican (in part).
Regional Federal Government Synods and General Assemblies appoint pastors and determine doctrine Presbyterian, Lutheran, United Methodists and some Reformed
Congregational Government Ultimate authority for the church rests with the members themselves, ministry, budget, choosing leaders etc Some Baptist churches

Congregational churches

Local Federal Government Elders/Pastors in the local church are ultimately responsible for governing the church Brethren, Bible Churches Some Baptist and Reformed

Calvary Chapel


The invisible / universal church includes all those who follow Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord whether or not they follow our form of church government.

In discussing this matter, it is important to remain loving toward our Christian brothers and sisters who function in other forms of government. We should recognize that many godly Christians belong to churches that are organized much differently than ours.

Question: Is organization necessary for the life of the local church?

  • Some organization is always necessary in any church.
  • There can be no such thing as a pure democracy.
  • Every church must have some form of leadership structure–formal and informal– whether that structure be elaborate, moderate or minimal.

In order to make matters as simple as possible, we can summarize what is at stake in the issue of church government by asking four simple questions:

  • Who owns the property?
  • Who chooses the leaders?
  • Who sets the doctrine?
  • Who controls the money?

There you have it in a nutshell; property, leaders, doctrine and money. That’s the “stuff” of church life. The way you answer those questions determines what kind of government you have.

 Question: What are some pro’s and con’s of the styles of church government I presented?

National Government: Headed by the Secular National Government of the Country


  • Churches are supported financially by the state


  • Secular government setting up rules for spiritual church.
  • No local authority
  • Can foster a lack of passion by people in the local church
  • Fosters a more ‘ecumenical’ approach to doctrine to unify a vastly different demographic
  • Local church may be forced to follow false doctrine imposed from above

Hierarchical Government: The body of clergy is divided into various ranks reporting eventually to a single person like the Pope or Archbishop


  • Very ancient
  • Widely practiced
  • Produces strong leaders
  • Unifies diverse churches
  • Often meaningful and beautiful liturgy


  • Bishop = Elder in NT
  • Squelches priesthood of Believer
  • Clergy-laity gap
  • Tends towards authoritarian leadership
Categories: Adult Sunday School Class, The Church & Denominations