Question:

We have a doubt about administering communion; that is, who can give communion? We are seven who as started a church and now it has grown to 30 people. We have one leader but none of us is ordained. Now who can give communion? Or should we find an ordained preacher to give communion?


Answer:

It is exciting to hear that the Word of God is producing fruit among you. So let's talk a moment about organization of the church.

The church is talked about in the Scriptures in two senses. There is the universal sense where we refer to all Christians who follow Christ around the globe and through all time. In the universal church, only Jesus is the head. "And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all" (Ephesians 1:22-23).

Serving Christ were the apostles and prophets who delivered the message of Christ and founded the church. "Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Every Christian is considered to be a priest. "You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (I Peter 2:5). Where under the Old Testament some men were designated as priests to go between men and God or to offer up worship on behalf of men to God, under the New Testament each Christian is able to approach the throne of God directly. That is why we also read, "And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:10). Christians are the world's priests.

Each Christian is a member of this universal church and at the same time they are members of a local church. A local church are the living Christians in a locale who work and worship together. In that congregation, some members take on additional duties in service to Christ and the local church. Those duties include: preaching, overseeing, teaching, and serving. Those who take on the duties of preaching are called preachers, evangelists, or ministers. Those who take on the duties of overseeing are called elders, overseers, or pastors. Those who take on the duties of serving are called deacons. And those who take on the duties of teaching are called teachers. "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-12).

Within the worship service, where communion would be served, restrictions are place on the order of service and who may fulfill various roles. I Corinthians 14:26-40 places restrictions on the worship service. You need to keep in mind that these rules were written when miraculous gifts were still given to Christians, so they are mentioned in this passage. Even though those gifts have ended (I Corinthians 13:8-10), the guidelines presented still apply.

First, a worship service is to be orderly (I Corinthians 14:40). It is a serious matter to approach the throne of God and we all must act with proper reverence.

Second, we can't talk all at once. The various acts of worship must take place one at a time without interruption by others.

Third, no one act of worship should so dominate that all others are locked out. If you have an hour designated for worship, that means the song leader cannot fill up the entire hour with songs so that nothing else can be done. Time must be reasonably proportioned to each person who has something to contribute to the worship.

And finally, while women participate in worship, such as in joining in the songs sung, they are not allowed to lead the worship. They are required to show submission by being silent and allowing the men to do the required speaking.

Therefore in answer to your question, any of the men in the congregation who wishes to participate can be designated to give the communion to the congregation. In our congregation we take turns each Lord's Day. One man offers up a short reminder of what the Lord's Supper is for. Prayers are offered up before the unleavened bread and before the fruit of the vine are passed among the Christians in the congregation. Two others help him in passing out the trays with the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine.