My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute.
In the early church, there were leaders, but no flow chart type hierarchy such as one would find in government, military, business, or our modern institutional churches.
Jesus is the head of the church; we are told that in Col. 1.18 and Eph. 5.23. Each believer can be prompted by the Holy Spirit. Believers might be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors/teachers, elders, deacons/deaconesses, presbyters, workers, overseers, servants not as a matter of an appointed office with title, but according to faith, gifting, experience, character, and obedience to the Holy Spirit. The Revised Standard Version has First Timothy chapter 3 verse 1 say “office of an elder”, but that is not in the original language. This is an example of a translator putting in, possibly without realization, his cultural experience instead of what the writing actually said.
Just one generation after the the apostles trained by Jesus, the idea of covering crept into the church. Cyprian of Carthage taught that every believer was accountable to a spiritual authority, with only the top person in a hierarchy being accountable to God alone. This structure solidified in middle ages Catholicism, the Reformation removed some layers, but the idea never disappeared. The covering doctrine reappeared in the charismatic flavor of the church under the teaching of Juan Carlos Ortiz in
Argentina and the New Wine Magazine writers in the All this runs contrary to the priesthood of all believers in which ministry is functional, organic, and shared by all believers before God. U.S.