Who's in Charge?

Recently, I was informed that I was incorrect in stating that pastors were to be running a church as I had stated in one of my website articles.  The writer insisted it was the responsibility of Elders to do so, so to make sure my A preacherdoctrine was correct, I spent some time researching what the Bible (KJV) says about the church leadership position.

Common experience alerted me to the danger of having a multi-headed authority in a local church. With more than one leader, there would undoubtedly be an opportunity for division, strife, and power struggles. 

Biblically, all social gatherings have one head.  The church of Christ has one authority and leader — Jesus. The family has one authority — supposedly the husband.  The church of local believers seems biblically to have only one leader. 

Even the world has realized this need for singular leadership. A business has one “boss.” A country has a president or prime minister….  A group of soldiers has one “Colonel.”  A sports team also has one captain.  Multiple leaders never work and usually cause chaos when there are more than one leader.

So what does the Bible say about who is to lead God’s local assembly of believers on this Earth?

“And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” Acts 14:23   The “elders in every church’ were what we would call pastors today.
“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   
“Ordain means “to place down permanently.”  These ordained elders were those that would mind and feed the local flock of believers for the long term (not evangelists).
“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:” James 5:14   Anointing of oil was previously done by the disciples (Mark 6:12-13).
“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.” I Tim. 5:17    The context here is churches in general, not just one church. It is not saying that there should be multiple elders in a church. These leaders should be respected and honored for their devotion to the cause of Christ.

Peter (a preacher) was an elder.  —  “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5 ¶ Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” I Pet. 5:1-5   — The group of “elders” Peter spoke to were to take “oversight” of their local flocks, just like the Chief Shepherd, Jesus.



When there are people together, even Christians, there is always a danger of not obeying God’s design in the local church.  Many have done it in the past, and today we see organizations that have unbiblical leadership.  God’s people suffer in those cases, but it does not have to happen.  It is essential that God’s man be actually that — humble, obedient to God’s Word, and God’s choice for that particular flock.   The Bible states that a pastor, also biblically referenced as an “elder,”  is to lead a church.