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 emergent New Testament church did not have the same clearly defined offices of leadership as did the worship of Israel. However, the functions of the family head, prophet, priest, and king are summed up in Christ, who through the Spirit leads the church, the community of the new covenant, in its worship of almighty God.