I was in Church leadership, what alarmed me most were fellow leaders who exhibited self-will, by which, I mean reaching out to take independent action and decisions without a requisite surrender, inquiring, waiting and hearing from God. You may ask, “What about your own self-will?” That’s a fair question and I’m certainly not above such behavior or worse, but there were two safeguards I employed for myself and with respect to others. First, I accepted a subservient position among the group, which was very easy since the older longer sitting elders and those on staff in a dual role readily considered themselves superior. Secondly, I discerned between items/ideas/ways originating from men as opposed to those arising from the Word and Spirit. The Word and Spirit are never contradictory. One may ask, “How can you be so confident in your discernment and the Spirit?”
A leader should be experienced in his relationship with the Spirit, new Believers are not suitable candidates for church leadership. (1 Tim. 3:6) In matters outside church decisions, how has this man lived and lead his family? Material success or business acumen should not be a test for leadership, in fact, it may be a negative, regarding the Spirit. Moreover, a life without struggle against this world and opposition to it does not evidence the Spirit led life. The Spirit is opposed to the natural and worldly way. (Gal. 5:17) Worldly standards result in leaders who have skill in organizations of men, but God’s ways and means are entirely different. God’s ways require faith and God’s involvement/blessing. Those who rely on reasoning and plans of men leave nothing to God and their tools are money. Fund raising is everything to the worldly organization, because men’s plans can be accomplished with enough money. God’s will involves that which seems impossible to men, and it often is. More than once, I spoke out encouraging my fellow elders to have faith in God, rather than man. Why settle for what we as men could accomplish in our own effort, rather than what God wants and is willing to do.
The established order is difficult to confront, even when it is opposed to the Word of God. The church may take a rather strong theological position in following the Bible, but when it comes to living it out through the unseen power of the Holy Spirit, tradition seems to usually prevail. The best example of this is having a professional speaker as the centerpiece of church attendance. No where in the Bible does it describe one teacher/preacher dominating or being the central focus of the gatherings. However, such a plan promotes a large audience and fund raising. To follow scriptural guidance for operation of the five offices and gifts of the Holy Spirit requires faith, wisdom, and leadership that is equally experienced in the leading of the Spirit. It is impossible for a church to function and its leaders lead in accordance with the Scriptures and Holy Spirit without God’s direct participation through the indwelling Holy Spirit in each member of the Congregation. However, with faith it is entirely possible and guaranteed as promised in the word. Who will trust and rely on God? Who will turn away from the ways of the world and the reason, influence, and money of men?