A Church must always have a plurality of elders. This is essential for protection from evil. Spiritual authority and protection comes through submission to authority. If one man leads a church, he is not really submitted to anyone, and therefore has no spiritual covering. True protection comes when a group of elders all submit to each other. They agree to do nothing important without first submitting it to the other elders. Each elder is accountable to the other, and protected by his submission. The other members of the Church are protected by submitting to their elders.

It is dangerous to have just one person leading a church. If all the church members submit to him, he has tremendous authority. But because he is not under authority, he is liable to satanic attack and deception. In most situations where Christian groups have gone haywire, it is because they were led by one man or one woman. A Church will not have one professional minister who leads and pastors the whole Church. The biblical model is always plurality of eldership. Even the apostle Paul, a mature and experienced leader, never worked on his own. He always had other elders with him for protection.

In our modern culture, there is an obsession with celebrities. This has also crept into the church.

Professional Leadership

Although professional, trained leadership has become the norm for modern churches, it is not an essential part of the church. Paul and Barnabas appointed teams of elders, not individual leaders. There is not a single example in the New Testament of one person being appointed to take charge of a church.

One of the fundamental ideas of the New Testament is the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. This means that every believer has access to God, and can exercise a ministry for Him. But this does not really happen in the modern church, because most of the work is done by the ordained minister. Our modern system of professional ministers belongs more in the Old Testament situation, where ministry was limited to a priestly class. This has severely weakened the effectiveness of the church, because it can only achieve as much as one man is able to do. Most church members have not been mobilised for action, because there is no place in the structure for them to get involved in ministry.

There will be no need for church bureaucracies. The early church functioned very well without them. As church structure and bureaucracy has expanded the effectiveness of the church has declined. An active Church will function very effectively without them. Some may argue that controls are needed to safeguard the truth and the purity of the church. This is actually the responsibility of the Holy Spirit. He can do it far more effectively, than any human institution.

Back to the New Leadership Model.