Question: If consecrated Christians wish to form a local ecclesia, what are some of the standards which they should follow as they organize?
Answer: Jesus is Head of the Church and all of God’s consecrated people, and they are to render loving, loyal and prompt obedience to Him in their words, conduct and even in their thoughts. His people are firmly united under Jesus and each other according to the degree of their spirit of love. Jesus regards these as members in His household of faith.
Christians should regard all who have this spirit of love and consecration as “brethren,” based on “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” – that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He ever liveth to make intercession for us. Furthermore, they should meet together to edify one another, and to conduct their meetings with decorum and order. The church needs no organizing apart from what was recommended through the Lord and His Apostles at Pentecost and in the Jewish Age Harvest, and supported by “that faithful and wise servant” in the Gospel Age Harvest, for example, in Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 6. A new group starting meetings only need to recognize Christ as their Head and His Word as their laws.
They do not need membership rolls, official titles, nor ask anyone to pass oral or written exams in order to attend their meetings. The New Testament recommends that members of an ecclesia search out among themselves those such as the Lord’s Word and providence seem to indicate as being suitable as elders, deacons and deaconesses, and to give them their public recognition (as for instance by vote of upraised hands) and their cooperation in the service.
God intended that anyone may advise and teach from His Word, however, none can do more without violating the rules. The Lord’s organization is characterized by the individual liberty of each member as granted by the rest of the congregation. Complete subserviency of each is to the Lord alone.