We believe that the Bible tells us not only what we ought to believe, but how the church ought to be organized. We hold to Presbyterianism as the Biblical form of church government.
According to the Scriptures, there are just two types of church officers for the church today:
1. Elders – These are also designated as bishops, pastors, and teachers in the Bible. The best way to describe the duties of elders is by repeating what Paul told the Ephesian Elders in Acts 20:28: “Shepherd the church of God.” The elders are to be spiritual shepherds of the church. As such, they must feed the church from God’s Word through regular preaching and teaching, they must protect them from false doctrine, they must lead them by setting an example of godliness, and they must care for the church by visiting the people and loving them. We believe that I Tim. 5:17 justifies a distinction between Teaching Elders (those who work as full-time pastors and are chiefly responsible for the preaching and teaching) and Ruling Elders (those who have less preaching/teaching responsibility but who nevertheless serve as shepherds).
2. Deacons – The office of deacon was created to care for the material and physical needs of the congregation (Acts 6). The deacons are to care for the poor and the infirm, manage the finances of the church, and take responsibility for the church’s property. The diaconate is a spiritual office, and they are to lead the congregation in showing generosity and in caring for one another’s needs.
The other primary feature of presbyterianism is that it is connectional. Based on the pattern of the early church in Acts 15, we are connected to the other churches within our denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America. The elders not only govern the local church, but they also come together with other elders to govern all the churches in a particular region (the Presbytery) and for the denomination as a whole (the General Assembly). Pinehaven is a part of the Mississippi Valley Presbytery, and we give thanks to God for the chance to work side-by-side with other churches.