The Structure

Cowboy churches use an Elder – Lay Pastor structure that helps support the pastor and congregation in several areas of the church.


The pastor shall be the spiritual leader of the congregation. In that capacity, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, he shall preach and teach the Word of God, lead the church in regular worship services, administer the ordinances of the church, serve as moderator at church conferences, provide leadership to the ministerial staff, serve as overall administrator of the church, and generally fulfill all of his pastoral duties as set forth in Scripture.


Elders model what it means to be Christ-like.  Elders serve a 3-year term and are an example for the congregation of how to live a Christian life. This includes how to relate to other Christians, how to relate to non-believers, and how to be a godly man and have an active personal relationship with Jesus.

  1. Elders provide spiritual leadership and accountability to the church in accordance with scripture.
  2. They provide a brotherhood of support and accountability for the pastor, assist the ministry teams with difficult issues and serve as arbiters in matters of conflict.
  3. They are responsible for administering church discipline, and in general provide spiritual leadership, guidance and assistance wherever and whenever appropriate.
  4. The elder body is made up of three selected elders plus the pastor, who is the lead elder.

Lay Pastors

Lay pastors serve the pastor as an armor bearer (I Samuel 14:6-14). They serve a one-year term that may be extended, and are appointed and replaced by the pastor at his discretion. Lay pastors take the place of paid staff in a traditional church.

Lay pastors help the pastor minister to the needs of the congregation in many ways, such as visitation, and meeting member’s physical needs as well as the physical needs of the church. Lay pastors are assigned to a ministry team to be the spiritual guide for the team leaders and members.