Troublesome Topic: How Was the Leadership of These Meetings Determined?

Acts 2:46


and continuing steadfastly

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in the temple every day with one mind,

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and breaking bread

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in each house, and partaking of food with hearts [full of]  exuberance and without stumbling stones,

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and they were persistently fixated on [being together] in the temple [courts] with a singular, united purpose, as well as remembering the sacrifice of Jesus together in home meetings, and eating meals together with overflowing joy for what God had done and without any of the things that damage relationships,


The group of believers naturally followed the system of leadership that had been part of their culture since the time of Adam – the oldest, most experienced men acted as leaders. But in this case, experience in life did not count as much as experience with Jesus, thus the meetings were led by the men who had been with Jesus. There were men present who were older than the disciples/Apostles, men with social authority, but here it was spiritual authority that mattered most. Thus the oldest men who had been with Jesus. It is thought by some that Peter was older than the other disciples; I believe that explains why he often acted as their spokesperson during those early days. It was not just his personality. In those days personality did not influence these matters as much as the social norms did.

Today many people look at the New Testament and do not see a fully explained leadership structure and therefore they assume that we can choose whatever system of leadership we want. I believe the reason that the leadership structure of the church was not explained was because they assumed everyone knew they would keep using the same system that they had used in their society for millennia – a leadership structure based on the home. The use of the term “elder” in the epistles tells us that the person seen as the primary leader was the same as the person that their society saw as a leader. This was a grandfather figure who had leadership over his extended family made up of his children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. Under him were his sons, each of whom also had a small realm which they lead – their homes. Their respective wives helped them as part of the leadership team, but the husband was the captain of that team. Each father can be thought of as the king over a small realm, and his wife is the queen.

The fact that we have institutionalized the church in most parts of the world has changed things a great deal. In a system of house-churches the family-based leadership structure makes perfect sense; in an institutionalized setting it does not fit as easily.

If you are able to start up a house-church, I highly recommend that you consider the family-based leadership system that was used by the early church.



This is a compound word that comes from the preposition “towards or with” and the verb “to show steadfast strength.” It can be rendered “to persevere, continue steadfastly, endure, prevail, stay fixed in one direction, keep on, persist, to continue to do something with intense effort, give constant attention to something.”


This word means “one passion;” “one mind” is a close parallel. It speaks to unit of purpose and focus.


Once again, the phrase “breaking of bread” probably refers to celebrating what we call “the Lord’s Supper, Communion, or Eucharist.”


This word means “without rocks, smooth, without stones on which to stumble, without encumbrance or hindrance.”