Dear Friend of Vision
“For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you,” (Tit 1:5)
In the First Century church, the appointment of elders (older ones able to lead) was a function of apostles, or sent ones. In Antioch, and probably other cities, elders were the ones to lay hands on apostles and prophets, confirming their calling and releasing them into their arena of service.
There does not seem to be any sense of competition, nor any qualms or concerns about who is on top or bottom, as they all seemed to recognize each other (apostle or elder or evangelist or pastor or prophet or deacon) according to their function, not title, and were simply grateful to the Lord for having called them and gifted them to serve. Well, how naïve! Didn’t they know that someday in the distant future we will come to a vote on the Pope of Pentecost (frankly, I look great with a tall hat on!). Well, of course, not naïve at all, but in keeping with the Spirit of God and his leading in the church.
Truly, apostles argued about doctrine, passionately, and cared a great deal about issues related to holy living. But titles, offices, and who is boss was less a concern as they focused on Jesus as King and Lord.
Appointing elders, affirming apostles and other five-fold ministers was not political, but relational. As a person, male or female, slave or free, Jew or Gentile, demonstrated the gifting of their ministry, it was simply affirmed with rejoicing, as it should be in all churches everywhere. My prayer is that we return to the simple recognition of the gifts that God has in the church, and learn to affirm, love, support and work together for the King and His Kingdom.