The different forms of government in Christian churches, with variations on each are.
- Single elder/pastor led
- Democratic congregational
- Plural elder-led
The pastor (literally, “shepherd”) is the human head of a church. In the early church, there was a plurality of elders, also called “overseers.” It is the elders who lead the church and are responsible for teaching the Word and guiding, admonishing, and exhorting the people of God. (1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Acts 14:23)
The pastor/teacher is actually one of the elders. The other office in the church is that of deacon. Deacons are those who handle the practical concerns of the church, such as caring for the sick, elderly or widowed and maintaining buildings or other property. (Acts 6:1-6 and 1 Timothy 3:8-12)