1. Christ is the Head of the church, the chief Shepherd; and all authority flows from Him.
Ephesians 1:22-23 Colossians 1:18-20 1 Peter 5:4
2. Direction is sought from the congregation for filling teaching and leadership offices either by vote or personal suggestion. The decision for appointment rests with the elder, a responsibility given to Timothy by Apostle Paul.
2 Timothy 2:2
3. The elder (bishop) and deacons are selected according to the directions and in light of the qualifications given in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1:5-9. The congregation's sentiment for support of a ministering brother for such duties is obtained by ballot. The decisions for appointment of elders and ordained deacons rest with the national elder body.
4. Duties of elders and deacons
A. An elder is the administrator of the spiritual matters of the church. He performs the rites (baptism, laying on of hands, communion, marriage), counsels converts and members, and performs all ministerial duties.
Hebrews 13:7 Hebrews 13:17 1 Peter 5:1-5
B. A deacon serves as assistant to the elder and performs all ministerial duties.
5. Discipline of erring members is administered for their spiritual welfare and for the preservation of the church. The elder is responsible for administering discipline in the assembly of believers with their support and for their benefit.
1 Corinthians 5 Galatians 6:1 2 Thessalonians 3:6 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 1 Timothy 5:20
1. There are approximately 60 active elders who meet semiannually to handle national governance matters.
2. Doctrinal authority rests with this elder body which depends on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the Word for guidance.
3. There is no hierarchy within the elder body. Each is of equal authority and responsibility except that a rotating committee of five elders elected by this body handles correspondence, prepares the agenda and conducts orderly meetings, and responds to special local congregational needs.
4. The elder body is responsible for the approval of elder and ordained deacon candidates and establishment of major church projects.
5. Extensive communication and cooperation exists among the elders. There is frequent interchurch visiting and assistance with duties such as communion, hearing of testimonies, ordination services, and many other important matters.