Why are certain people leaders in the church? Is it God who appoints them or is it the church choosing their leaders? The answer is yes and yes. We choose our leaders but if the church doesn’t seek God’s will in the matter, the church will certainly be lead down the wrong path. Ultimately a leader without God’s blessing, without God’s anointing, without God’s leadership gift bestowed, a church will be lost no matter how popular the person is in the congregation.
Of course, a church will follow the practices of the fellowship or denomination in which it belongs. In some churches, the pastors and sometimes even deacons will be appointed by the parent organization. In our fellowship, historically we have followed a congregational model where the congregation chooses its own leaders although there is no single model required. To quote a passage in the Assemblies of God position paper, “The Early Church practiced a variety of methods by which leaders were selected for ministry and service. This speaks to a kind of fluid and flexible approach to governance practices and models in the New Testament church.” This paper is well thought out and packed full of Scriptural references, not only explaining this flexibility but also explanations of the different leadership models in the church and the leadership gifts.
No matter how a leader is appointed/chosen, as long as they are walking with Christ, we have an obligation to follow and support them. In his instructions to Timothy, elders of the church (the pastors) are worthy of double honor. Although most focus on the aspect of pastors should receive financial support it is often ignored that all our leaders should receive what we understand honor as, an attitude of respect to the person due to the position that the leader holds.
It is great that we have leaders at Flatland Church that are “just like us” and don’t demand that honor. We are not required to call our pastors by titles like Reverend or Pastor. But that doesn’t reduce our responsibility to honor them. Although we may choose our leaders, God has also chosen them and given them to us.
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. -1 Corinthians 3:11