Leadership in the Church is not a matter of wielding power; it is a matter of imitative mentorship, the kind of leading that inspires others to follow and provides direction by example. We all would like to point people to Jesus and say: Follow the Lord; not me. But that will not do.
People need mentors they can see and God provides leaders in the church to model behavior. Deacons had to be “full of the Holy Spirit,” a trait best seen in a holy life rather than in the performance of miracles. Elders must be “worthy of respect” and preachers must be examples in speech, life, love, faith and purity (1 Timothy 4:12).
The Church is not a republic where everyone gets an equal vote and a say. Those who by virtue of their holy living, and informed, dedicated and willing service inspire the respect of others have more vote and more say because they speak and live the way of God. The church should respect these people and submit to their leadership. The writer of Hebrews, in a flurry of imperatives in the last chapter, exhorts his readers to the holy life. This includes respect for leaders of the past who have now passed on (verse 7), and leaders of the present who are entrusted with the task of watching for the souls of their brethren. Christians who find submission to others difficult will find submission to God impossible. We are not called to be an oppressive people. Neither are we called to personal independence. We are called to be a submissive community whose surrender to God is seen in the way we treat one another and follow those among us entrusted with leading.