My authority for writing to you does not come from any popular vote of the people, nor does it come through the appointment of some human higher- up. It comes directly from Jesus the Messiah and God the Father, who raised him from the dead. I’m God-commissioned.Gal 1:1
Paul writes to the Galatians in troubled times. Only too soon they were willing to go back into the old ways of the law, and Paul had to correct them harshly. He does so by first stating his credentials, so they know who sent him: God. Jesus the Messiah and God the Father.
Only second he states that the apostles in Jerusalem acknowledged that he was an apostle too.
And with no word he talks about the Galatians having a vote on this. When he writes to other churches, he tells them that he was not involved in their founding and therefore is not their apostle and father. His tone of voice there is different, much softer. Yet to the Galatians he was sent.
What would have happened if apostles, if leaders were appointed by the people?
Probably the first, but surely the second time an elected leader does something unpopular, brings correction, another is voted in. The elected leader has to watch what he preaches about. If he talks about biblical principles in child raising, he loses the vote of most parents. If he talks about money and tithing, he loses the vote of all Swiss – and all other westerners as well. If he talks about biblical leadership principles, he loses the votes of politicians and career oriented people. If he talks about doing the will of God, he loses everybody in it for themselves and an easy Christian life. If he talks about letting go of traditions that are more religion and folklore than God, he loses the good religious and pious people.
It does take but five messages to lose the church.
And that is crucial. As in such settings, the income is fixed and payed by the church members or a central denominational office, losing the vote and backing of people usually means losing the job and financial support.
The consequence? Leaders become people pleasers with a white washed gospel.
Does it help if a leader is appointed by a committee or a central office? Not really. It only takes less people to be offended for the same outcome. Maybe a central office is far enough away and has had some similar experiences to back somebody for a while, yet where does there income come from?
The bible shows a different principle for appointing leaders.
Leaders are appointed by God. Look at Acts 13. The leaders of the church were together in prayer and the Holy Spirit appointed Barnabas and Paul for their ministry and commissioned them. Look at the life story of Paul: Jesus appointed him on the road to Damascus. Paul later got acknowledged through others in ministry, but was appointed by God.
This is the reason why he could talk freely with the Galatians. Since God appointed him, God was responsible for his provision. God was the only one that he had to please. God was the only one he was responsible to.
And still Paul had people that could bring correction into his life. Barnabas, the twelve in Jerusalem, the leadership in Antioch. Paul talked into Peter’s life. Relationship. Paul talked into Timothy’s life. Fatherhood.
How did Paul grow leadership in a church? He watched for people with surfacing anointing. He looked for people with dedication. And then he made them sons. He invested his life into them. He taught them, encouraged them, corrected them. Read the letters to Timothy and Titus. For local elders he called them to lead the churches for a while when he left, and when he came back he set in those that God anointed for the office, those that grew into their responsibility, by the laying on of hands. He commissioned them under prayer.
This is true for all offices. All fivefold ministers, be it for local or larger responsibilities, are appointed by God. Just look at Eph 4 – when Jesus ascended, he gave. Called first, and after a while commissioned. The anointing will show, yet a father is needed to bring it to maturity. Thus for every leader it is vital to first become a son before fathering. And leading is fathering.
Some children do not want to become sons. Some of them have even been called to become sons. But the anointing only grows in fertile ground, that is a teachable heart.
A teachable heart and dedication. God’s anointing and call. A father to help the process of growth. God’s commissioning and acknowledgement by acknowledged leaders. This is how leaders are made. No need for people-pleasers.
Do you have a story to tell about this? Why not use the comments.