The head of the Church is Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18). God has seen fit to also organize each congregation to have leaders of its own (Acts 20:28-31; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:5). These men are to be servants and not lords. These men also answer directly to the Lord. No governing structure between a congregation and the Lord is given in the New Testament. Each congregation, with its leaders, is autonomous, answering directly to the Lord (Revelation 2:1-3:22).
The Lorain Avenue congregaiton is led by elders, served by deacons, and minstered to by evangelists.
The elders are the leaders of a congregation. These men are also referred to as shepherds, or its synonym pastors, and overseers, or its synonym bishops (Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Titus 1:5). Their qualifications and work are described in detail (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). They serve as a group. They guide, care for, and protect the flock. It is a demanding task, but these men serve with joy and honor.
Deacons assist the elders. Their qualifications and work are given in detail as well (1 Timothy 3:8-13; Acts 6:1-6). The word deacon literally means servant. These men are entrusted with certain jobs to help the congregation function smoothly. They lead by example.
Preachers, also known as evangelists or ministers, serve each congregation. The preacher clearly proclaims God's Word (2 Timothy 4:1-5). Whereas elders have a direct authority to lead the congregation, ministers have a responsibility and a delegated authority to accurately teach using the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15). Since the preacher is not referred to as pastor or reverend in the Bible, neither do we call him by such titles. These men work under the elders to help the congregation grow.
Many guests observe that we do not have an official priesthood, separate and above the membership, as do many other groups. This is with good cause. No man is to have such an elevated place above his brethren (Matthew 23:1-12; Acts 10:25-26). The New Testament teaches that all Christians are a "chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God's own possession" (1 Peter 2:9). John says that Jesus has made all believers "to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father" (Revelation 1:6). This is a status held by all who expect to share in the resurrection (Revelation 20:6). Paul well noted that every part of the body must perform its function in order for it to grow (Ephesians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 12:12-20). We encourage every member to be vital and important.