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The early Church appointed overseers, men who met the requirements of an upright moral behavior, order in their families, age/experience and the ability to teach. Jesus called twelve men and said, in essence, “Come, follow Me. Watch what I do, listen to what I say and do it.” No hierarchical structure was revealed in His ministry. In fact, He taught against it (Matthew 20:20-28; Mark 9:33-37; Luke 22:24-27). Before He ascended into heaven, He basically said, “The Father is going to send the promised Holy Spirit to help you. See ya.” Well, actually, “See ya later.” He left the future of the Church in the disciples’ hands, and He didn’t provide them with an organizational handbook. Apparently, Jesus expected the disciples to be intelligent enough to follow the example of leadership they had witnessed for three years. The qualifications for elders, overseers, pastors and deacons are not extraordinary, nor is the ecclesiastical framework that we have created required for them to exist and function. The leadership model that we see in the New Testament is not organizational or even primarily pedagogical. It is relational and familial. It is apparent, however, that our anti-biblical preference is to minister to people in the context of structure and organization, take control and exercise power, even though Jesus had no such desire.

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