JWs believe that the early church had a governing body to govern the believers.
In Acts 15:1-35, the Bible describes an incident when the apostles were consulted as to whether gentiles could also obtain salvation through Jesus unless they first went through circumcision. Paul and Barnabas then consulted the apostles and elders in Jerusalem and a decision was made that the gentiles did not need to abide by the Mosaic law of circumcision. This decision was then read to the congregations that were affected.
However, this was a special incident that affected the church in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. It was not the case of a governing body existing to decide on the lives and decisions of all Christians. After the above incident, there was no more mention of any council meeting to decide on matters.
Paul went about teaching the Christian doctrine. Yet he did not consult any governing body before beginning his preaching ministry and only met Peter (also known as Cephas) and James for 15 days after 3 years of preaching.
But when God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through his undeserved kindness, thought good 16 to reveal his Son through me so that I might declare the good news about him to the nations, I did not immediately consult with any human; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before I was, but I went to Arabia, and then I returned to Damascus. 18 Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to visit Ceʹphas, and I stayed with him for 15 days. 19 But I did not see any of the other apostles, only James the brother of the Lord.
After this visit, his next trip to Jerusalem was 14 years later.
Galatians 2:1 Then after 14 years I again went up to Jerusalem with Barʹna·bas, also taking Titus along with me.
In addition to teaching that the church must have a governing body, JWs went on to teach that the governing body was appointed by Jesus to be that governing body.
“Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on coming finds him doing so! Truly I say to you, he will appoint him over all his belongings.
While Christians understand this to be a parable, JWs understand these verses to be prophecies. They say that since Matthew 24 was about Jesus talking about end time events, this mention of the faithful and discreet servant must therefore be a prophecy that will take place in the end times.
Christians believe that this is only a parable teaching the disciples to always act faithfully as they do not know the time of His return. This train of thought is further reinforced by Jesus’ other parables – Parable of the 10 virgins (Matt 25:1-13), parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30) and parable of the sheep and goats (Matt 25:31-46).