The church was founded by Jesus and the apostles. Jesus prepared everything for the foundation of the church, with his teachings on the Christian life and training the apostles to be leaders. The apostles spread Jesus’ teaching and gave structure to the church.
Jesus is the true founder and leader of the church worldwide. The church is not a building. The church is a collection of people – all saved by Jesus, from all times and places ( Hebrews 10:25 ). Where two or more people are gathered in the name of Jesus, there is the church.
For a better explanation of the church, see: what is the church?
The Bible says that Jesus is the cornerstone of the church ( Ephesians 2: 19-20 ). The cornerstone was the first stone in a building, around which the entire construction was made. The church only started after Jesus returned to Heaven but he laid the foundations and was present at the foundation, through the Holy Spirit.
When was the church founded?
The church was officially founded on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples ( Acts 2: 1-4 ). On that day, the church began to exercise its functions:
- preach the gospel– bringing people to Jesus
- disciple– teaching to live for Jesus, strengthening, correcting, helping, all in unity
The twelve apostles were the first church leaders , because they had been trained by Jesus to do so. The church had no building of its own, so people met in houses or in public places in Jerusalem ( Acts 2: 46-47 ).
See also: who were the 12 apostles?
It was also the apostles who gave the first formal structure to the first church in Jerusalem. As the church was suddenly left with many people, the apostles could not do everything alone. So they chose some people to handle administrative matters, such as the distribution of food, while they were engaged in teaching ( Acts 6: 2-4 ). When major debates broke out, they convened a council to resolve the problem.
Thus came a more solid and organized leadership in the church. From Jerusalem, the apostles guided the foundation of many local churches in various parts of the world, which were all part of the great Church of Jesus.
Find out here: what was the early church like?
And Pedro? And Paulo?
Peter was one of the founders of the church but he was not the founder. In the early days of the church, he was the spokesman for the apostles, being more daring to speak but he never assumed himself as supreme leader. Peter had to explain his actions to the church and the important issues were resolved together by the apostles and the elders – the entire leadership of the church ( Acts 15: 2 ).
Some people outside the church thought that Paul had founded the church, because he became so famous. But in fact, the church had been in existence for some years when Paul was converted. Paul “just” founded many other local churches on his mission trips.