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Organization and Structure

Eastside Church of Christ follows the New Testament pattern for our structure and how we govern ourselves. This pattern has two foundational tenants:

  • The first tenant is autonomy. We follow God’s Holy Word rather than adhering to doctrine dictated to us by a governing body, select individuals, or any person.
  • The second tenant is self-governance. We have a scriptural eldership selected by our members. The eldership is supported by deacons who serve in various capacities required to meet the needs of the congregation.

Autonomous Congregations

There is only one head of the Lord’s Church, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ authority over His Church comes directly from God the Father. Before he ascended into heaven Jesus told the Apostles 

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)

The Apostle Paul reiterated Jesus’ authority as head of His Church when he said that Jesus is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. (Colossians 1:17-18)

Despite the fact that many denominations submit to a single authority (e.g., a pope or archbishop) or authoritative body (e.g., synod or council), there is no scriptural basis for this. Cleary no man or men can have scriptural authority over the Lord’s Church. Nor can there be an earthly headquarters for the Lord’s Church. That “headquarters” is in heaven where Christ sits at the right hand of the Father. Colossians 3:1-2 says, 

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.


Since the earliest days of the Lord’s Church elders were appointed by congregations to guide their members and to tend to their spiritual needs. These were spiritually mature men who had to meet the strict set of qualifications outlined in Titus 1:5-9. These qualifications are:

  • Being above reproach

  • Loving what is good

  • Being the husband of one wife

  • Being sensible

  • Having children who were believers

  • Being just

  • Not accused of dissipation or rebellion

  • Just

  • Not self-willed

  • Being devout

  • Not quick tempered

  • Being self-controlled

  • Not addicted to wine

  • Holding fast to the Word

  • Not pugnacious

  • Able to exhort in sound doctrine

  • Not fond of sordid gain

  • Able to refute those who contradict

  • Being hospitable

Once they are appointed elders they are held to a high standard of conduct. First and foremost they are required to lead (shepherd the flock) not under compulsion, but voluntarily. Next, they were to lead with eagerness, and not for personal gain. Finally they are to lead not by lording it over the congregations, but through their example.  (1 Peter 5:1-5)

There is honor for those who serve the Lord and their congregations well. 1 Timothy 5:17 says,

The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching

Today just as in the first century, congregations of the Lord’s Church are operating under the leadership of scriptural elderships, including our congregation.


Similar to elders, deacons have been appointed by to serve their congregations since the beginning of the Lord’s Church. These were spiritually maturing men who had to meet the strict set of qualifications outlined in 1 Timothy 3:8-12. These qualifications are:

  • Being men of dignity

  • Husbands of one wife

  • Not double-tongued

  • Beyond reproach

  • Not addicted to wine (alcohol)

  • Good managers of their children

  • Not fond of sordid gain

  • Tested through service

  • Good managers of their own households

Deacons that serve the Lord and their congregations well attain high standing for themselves. 1 Timothy 3:13 says,

For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus

Congregations of the Lord’s Church today, including our congregation, are served by deacons.


Individual members of the Lord’s Church have an obligation to serve the Church based on the talents that God have given them. Ephesians 4:11-13 says,

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Here at Eastside, we are fortunate to have many members who are serving in various capacities, including some of the most knowledgeable Bible teachers in the Lord’s Church.