What Does the Bible Say About..? Logo

What Does the Bible Say About..Congregational Requirements?

Can you please tell me where in the bible does it state that the church is to have elders-deacons? also Bylaws? Associate-assistant pastor? My church does not have any of these and I would like to know where it states something like this. I know it is a must. I need help!


There is no place in the Bible that specifically states that every congregation must have elders. Otherwise, what would a congregation do that had no men qualified to be elders. Nevertheless, it was clearly important that congregations have elders if possible. “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.” (Titus 1:5) Paul thought it so important that he sent Titus to Crete to make sure that congregations had elders. While it is not expressly stated, I would figure that this meant training men to be qualified if necessary.

There is even less to be said about deacons. If the men appointed in Acts 6 are examples of deacons, then they should be appointed any time there is special work to be done that would take the elders away from their job of teaching and watching out for the spiritual affairs of a congregation. Most congregations today assign them permanently and give them ongoing jobs such as bookkeeping or maintaining the church building.

The Bible does not require that a congregation have By-laws. In the United States, in order to keep their tax free status, congregations have to be registered as not-for-profit corporations. Because of this there is a government requirement for by-laws and a board of directors. (Many congregations name their elders as the board of directors, although I think that is more the job of the deacons.)

By “associate pastor” I am going to assume you mean pastor in the modern sense (preacher) rather than the biblical sense (elder). There is no Bible requirement that a congregation hire a preacher, and absolutely nothing is said about an assistant preacher. If a congregation can afford a preacher and he can’t do all the work they expect of him, then perhaps they should hire an assistant/associate. Since there is no requirement in the Bible, a congregation could hire several preachers (pulpit minister/youth minister/music minister, etc.) if they can justify spending the money that way.

A congregation that is small may not need deacons or a full-time preacher, much less a second preacher. If there are men qualified to be elders they should be appointed to that job, simply for the spiritual care of the congregation. They may or may not be paid, depending on the wishes of the congregation. If the laws of the country require that the congregation be registered as a corporation, they should have by-laws. If they don’t own property or don’t want tax-exempt status then they could do without incorporating. All the Bible requires of a congregation is that they have two or more members, because anything less than two would be an individual rather than a congregation.