Christ's church must be organized according to His plan. The church is a kingdom over which Christ rules as king (1 Timothy 6:15). Christians are citizens in this kingdom (Colossians 1:13). The world is the territory of this kingdom (Acts 1:8). The new birth is the way we enter this kingdom (Romans 6:3-4).
The church is the body of Christ and Christ is its only head (Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4). He has all authority (Matthew 28:18). He has never given this authority to anyone else. Because Christ is the head, we take our instructions from Him in His word. Because He is king, we must obey Him (Ephesians 5:24).
The church has no earthly headquarters. The headquarters of Christ’s church is in Heaven. Each congregation of the Lord’s body is independent and self-ruling. There is no leader, council, conference, or group of people controlling all the congregations of the Lord’s body.
Elders are to be appointed in every church (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5). In the New Testament, elders are also called presbyters (1 Timothy 4:14); bishops (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-2); overseers (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2); pastors (Ephesians 4:11-12); and shepherds (1 Peter 5:1-4). The word “pastor” is simply another word for “shepherd.” Preachers are never called pastors in the New Testament. The elders of the local congregation are the pastors (shepherds) of each local church (1 Peter 5:1-4).
Qualifications for elders are listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-13. In addition to being a faithful Christian, an elder must be a man with a wife and faithful children. He cannot be a new member and be qualified. Also, there must be more than one elder serving in the local congregation. The Bible says “elders” (plural) (Acts 14:23; 20:17-18, 28). These elders are to guide, guard, feed, and rule the flock of God (1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:17).
Deacons are to be appointed in every church (Philippians 1:1). Their qualifications are listed in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. The work of deacons would include what was done as recorded in Acts 6:1-6. Similar to elders, deacons can only be men. Women are not qualified to be deacons because they cannot be a husband of one wife (1 Timothy 3:12).
Anyone who has obeyed the Gospel is a member of the Lord’s church (Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 1:3). Members of the church must obey the elders of the church (Hebrews 13:17). They are to teach the lost (Acts 8:4; 2 Timothy 2:24-25), and practice pure religion (James 1:27).
The leadership of the Lord’s church is made up of qualified men. If a church is not willing to have this kind of organization, it is not the church that Jesus built. If a church has only one elder it is not the church Jesus built. If a church has women elders, women deacons, or women preachers, it is not the church Jesus built.
Preachers have the responsibility to preach the word (2 Timothy 4:1-5). As with elders and deacons, preachers are males (1 Timothy 2:8-15). They are evangelists, ministers of the Word of God (2 Timothy 4:5). In the New Testament, preachers are never called by titles such as “Pastor,” “Reverend,” or “Father” (Matthew 23:8-12).
Perhaps you have enrolled in the school but have not yet started your first course. Beginning your studies is easy to do. Once you have logged-in to your account, you simply choose the course you would like to study from the "Course Schedule" option located on the blue menu bar of the school website (https://school.wvbs.org/course-schedule/). The "Course Schedule" reflects the designated order that Formal Students must follow. Informal and Auditing Students are recommended, but not required, to follow this schedule.
Once you have selected the course you would like to study you will need to register for the course by clicking the "Register" button located on the course page. When this is done, you will have full online access to the course. You can begin watching the videos immediately by clicking the "Lesson 1" link.