Jesus established His church and laid out the leadership and government of it. This is clear in the scriptures. The church should be organized the way that Jesus designed it so that it can operate in power.
The structure of the church is laid out in Ephesians 4:11, where he gives gifts to men, some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints. This is the fivefold leadership of the church. Jesus is the cornerstone, the foundation is the apostles and prophets, the evangelists, pastors, and teachers are a critical part of the structure, with believers being the living stones which make the bulk of the church. Apostles set things in order and govern, prophets speak vision into the church and the people of the church, evangelists expand the church and the kingdom of God, pastors counsel and shepherd the church, and teachers inform and instruct the church. This is the way Jesus organized His church, along with elders and deacons.
These fivefold gifts to the church are for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry. The saints do the ministry of the church, the ‘some’ do the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry. The saints are the ‘holy’ ones of the church, sanctified and made righteous by the Blood of the Lamb. They are equipped for the work of the ministry. This ministry is the same Greek word that is used for service. We, the church, are here to serve, just as Christ did. We are here to love one another and serve one another through one or a combination of the twenty-eight gifts of the Holy Spirit that are listed in the New Covenant. This service includes feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and those in prison, and healing the broken-hearted.
The purpose of the church is to do the work of the ministry, until we all come in the unity of the faith. Jesus chose the revolutionary term ‘ekklesia’ to describe His church, which is His body. It was both a Greek and a Roman term used to describe in the Greek the assembly or state rulers and by the Romans to describe the rulers of the provinces. It literally means the rulers of the city. The role of the church is to be servant-leaders for the kingdom of God and to occupy. Most of the ministry that is done by the saints through the twenty-eight gifts of the Holy Spirit is not in the church building, but in the workplace and in the family and community. This is what the ‘some’ equip the saints for.
There are signs that are observable that one is belonging to a church that is ruled by Jesus Christ and is functioning in His spirit and structure. Jesus said that there are signs that shall follow those that believe. They shall love one another. They shall cast out demons. They shall speak with new tongues. They shall pick up serpents and shall not be harmed. They shall ingest any poison and it will not harm them. They shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.
If you go to a group of people who do not espouse love, who backbite, who condemn others, who judge and condemn other believers and churches, who cause divisiveness either in the local body of Christ or the larger body of Christ, who spew hatred on social media, then how can you show the love of Christ?
If you go to a building that has people who do not believe that they are to provide deliverance to those who are in bondage of sin, pornography, anger, depression, guilt, drugs, alcohol, adultery, lying, stealing, poverty, spirit of infirmity, etc., then they may be in bondage themselves with the spirit of religion. If you are not involved in helping free those in bondage, then you are limiting your ministry potential and what God has called us to do.
If your organization does not believe that the gifts of the spirit are here for today, then where is your power at? Is it only in our weakened body and weakened mind? Do you know that the kingdom is not in word, but in power? Do you know that, according to Ephesians, we are saved by grace, through faith, for works?
Do you affiliate with a group of people who believe that the enemy is controlling everything in this world? That the church has no power over the enemy? Are they just holed up in their church building and just waiting for the Lord to return while the world goes to hell in a hand basket? Do you know that the enemy has been defeated by Jesus and trampled on by Him and we are doing mop-up operations?
Do you know that no poison word written or said against you or the church has any power over you? Do you know that the Word of God is used in spiritual warfare to defeat the enemy, along with prayer, fasting, faith, our testimony, and the Blood of the Lamb?
Do you know that one of the signs of believers, according to Jesus Christ, the founder and head of the Church, is that they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover? Are these signs happening in your church? Or is the spirit of unbelief in your church?
If you are going to a church because you like the worship, or like the pastors sermons, or like the nice decorations, or like their children’s programs, or like their small groups, or like their bible studies, or like their message on the radio or television, and they do not equip you for ministry in the marketplace and community, then you are limiting your ministry potential for the Lord and serving His children.
If you go to a church that teaches straight out of the bible, precept upon precept, line upon line, the whole counsel of God, well, that is a biblical start. The scriptures say that we must not only be hearers of the word, but doers of the word, otherwise we are deceiving ourselves. Yes, deceiving ourselves if we don’t actually DO the word of God. The only way we can do the word of God is to become equipped to do the ministry of God. To become equipped, we must be functioning in the fivefold leadership of the church that Jesus established for us to do His work and will. The gifts that we are to use in our ministry are imparted to us and activated by the Holy Spirit. We become evangelized by the evangelist, taken care of and shepherded by the pastor, taught by the teacher, given vision by the prophet, and set in order and governed to do the ministry of the Lord by the apostle. This is the way Jesus established His church to operate, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.