"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee..." - Titus 1:5
Raymond brown uses this passage to justify the idea that there were communities without priests/bishops during the late 1st century:
"Some of the Pauline communities are deficient in that they do not have local authorities, but now that deficiency must be remedied and presbyter-bishops are to be appointed in every town (Titus 1:5,7). The authoritative guidance of these men will preserve the local church communities against disintegration...
That the picture has been oversimplified is indicated by Titus 1:5 where it is clear that there are towns of the Pauline mission without presbyters." - Raymond E. Brown, The Church the Apostles Left Behind, (Pauline Press, 1984), pp. 32-33
I must say that I had never taken this passage in that sense. I just saw it as a general command to ordain priests (elders) for the cities whenever that was necessary. Now that I look at it again, though, I can see where Brown is coming from. What do you think about this passage?
It does not follow that there were churches without elders. That there were towns where St. Paul made a couple of converts, not enough for a whole congregation, is logical enough. That he left St. Titus to remedy the situation as the numbers grew into local congregations is also logical enough.
One thing to recall that presbyter was in part the chorbishops, as the bishop of the city was the parish presbyter, and as the numbers grew in the surrounding towns, presbyter/chorbishops were sent out.