The Organizational Structure of a Christian Church
29 SEP 2017
In Christian churches, Jesus Christ is the head of the church, though the senior pastor is the head of his individual church congregation. Under this leadership, the ideal organizational structure will depend on size, types of ministries, and denomination.
1 Church Size
A large church with many ministries and a paid staff needs a more complex structure than a smaller congregation. A church's decision-making process, whether by congregational consensus or by ministry leaders, also impacts the structure.
2 Main Functions
Many churches are organized by functions, including outreach (also called evangelism or missions), worship, and congregational ministry.
3 Congregational Ministry
Congregational ministry can be subdivided by age (children’s ministry, youth ministry), by ministry type (Christian education, shut-in visitation), or by specific target ministries (men’s ministries, university ministries). When creating this structure, avoid overlapping subgroups that could make responsibilities unclear.
4 Church Administration
Another main function is administration, which includes accounting, technology support, facilities management. Large churches can have an executive pastor or an administrator to oversee these areas.
5 Lay Leadership and the Congregation
Most churches have a board of elders or governing board that provides strategic direction. In many cases, the congregation as a whole must vote on decisions, such as hiring pastors. The authority of the governing board and congregation varies by denomination.