In the formative years of the church its ministry exhibited amazing variety and adaptability. Emerging at Pentecost as a Jewish sect, the church naturally modeled its ministry in part on patterns borrowed from the synagogue. But the Spirit of Christ also fashioned new functions and channels of ministry through which the grace of God might be communicated. The principal “orders” of ministry that arose were those of the elder (bishop) and the deacon.
The schools, especially the one in Alexandria, preserved early writings and produced important scholars who impacted the church for centuries.