Three types of leadership:
1) God-appointed: David was a prime example of a God-appointed leader. Acts 13:22 says: And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.
When God calls, it does not ensure that there will be no resistance from man. Consider Jeremiah, who was called from his mother’s womb:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Then said I: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.” But the Lord said to me: “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.
If God calls, man cannot add anything to it or take anything away from it. It is not a choice that we make, but God Himself sets the members of the body in place, as it pleases Him (I Corinthians 12:18). Paul said, “woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” (I Corinthians 9:16). If you don’t have the woe, then do not go. When God called me into the five-fold ministry, He did not ask my opinion about the matter. And when after several years in the ministry, I got sidetracked with the corporate world, He did not say that He was done with me. The gifts and the calling of God are without repentance (Romans 11:29).
At the age of 17, Lester Sumrall was on his deathbed. The doctor had already written out the death certificate. In the middle of the night, he awoke and looked to the right of his bed and there was a coffin. Startled, he looked the other way and there was a giant Bible. He heard God’s voice say, “you must choose tonight.” Out of fear, he chose to preach and was miraculously healed. Early on, Brother Sumrall preached out of fear of dying, but one day God have him a vision of mankind falling off a cliff and dropping into the lake of fire. From that day forward, he preached out of compassion. He went on to live in over 100 nations as a missionary apostle, and later became a pioneer in Christian television.
2) Man-appointed: Saul was a man that was man-appointed. He was selected because he was handsome, strong, and a good person: Saul, a choice young man, and goodly; and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people (I Samuel 9:2).
The nation of Israel rejected God as their King so that they could be like other nations.
I Samuel 8:7:
And the LORD said unto Samuel … for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
Man-appointed leadership is a rejection of God Himself. A denomination cannot call and appoint a pastor. To do so would be to reject God. However, a presbytery may confirm and set apart a man to the office of pastor
I Timothy 4:14
Neglect not the gift that is in you, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
Paul’s call as an apostle was confirmed in the following ways:
- It was revealed to Ananias in Acts chapter nine.
- It was confirmed by the Holy Spirit in the Antioch church (Acts 13:1-4).
- It was blessed by the five-fold brethren of Antioch.
- Peter accepted the apostleship of Paul (Galations 2:17-19).
However, there is a great distinction between receiving the confirmation of the brethren, and receiving your calling from man.
3) Self-appointed: Numbers chapter 16 tells the story of Korah’s rebellion. He rose up against the leadership of Moses and incited the people. Korah was a Levite, but that was not enough for him.
Then Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi: Is it a small thing to you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to do the work of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to serve them; and that He has brought you near to Himself, you and all your brethren, the sons of Levi, with you? And are you seeking the priesthood also?
Self-appointed leadership sees the ministry as a ladder of success to be climbed. The attainment of titles and positions is the goal. Opportunism is not the path of God! Many false leaders preyed on the early church for the power of position and authority. A true leader will never lord it over a congregation.
Self-appointed leadership is rebellion and defiance to God. Churches must seek the Lord before receiving the ministry of anyone. I Thessalonians 5:12 says, know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord.
The early church tested those who made the claim of apostleship. In modern Christianity some have taken the title of apostle upon themselves without being tested as an apostle.
“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars.
With restoration of early church ministries there should also come restoration to practices such as testing one’s credibility. Unfortunately, little testing or proving is practiced in the modern church. With divine calling comes fruit; even in the early stages there will be a measure of fruit.