The short answer to your questions is one must be: 1) called by God, 2) enabled by God, and 3) exercised to respond to that call, in order to be a church leader. We will now look at some examples from Scripture to prove this.

1) The APOSTLE…. In Romans 1:1 we read, “Paul, bondman of Jesus Christ, a CALLED APOSTLE, separated to God’s glad tidings” (DARBY). It was clearly not his choice or the choice of anyone else. We see this clearly in Galatians 1:1, “Paul, AN APOSTLE (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead)” (NKJV). The Apostle Paul’s calling happened the day he was saved, for in the account of his conversion in Acts chapter 9 we read, “But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a CHOSEN VESSEL of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel” (verse 15). Paul (at that time Saul) was on his way to persecute Christians in Damascus (verses 1-2) when the Lord Jesus arrested him on the Damascus Road and revealed Himself to him (verses 3-5). He was humbled and saved and chosen of God to be the “Apostle to the Gentiles” (see Galatians 2:7-9). God enabled Paul for this work by giving him the “gift of an apostle.” We read in Ephesians 4:7-8, 11, “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and GAVE GIFTS TO MEN” …And He Himself gave some APOSTLES, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.”

2) The PASTOR/ELDER…We just read in Ephesians 4:11 that Christ has given “some pastors” to the church. It is a GIFT given to those whom He calls to do that work; it is NOT a career choice. The PASTOR will serve the whole church and the ELDER will serve in the local church where he lives. Even though God calls them and enables them for this work, they must also be exercised to obey God’s call. We see this in 1st Timothy 3:1, “The word is faithful: if any one ASPIRES TO EXERCISE OVERSIGHT, he desires a good work” (DARBY). The man that has been called and gifted by God for this work will have a burden to SHEPHERD the flock of God over which God has made him an OVERSEER. We see this in Acts 20:28, “Therefore take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you OVERSEERS, to SHEPHERD the church of God.” Their lives must be exemplary to qualify for this work as we see in the list of qualifications in 1st Timothy 3:2-7 and Titus 1:6-9.

3) The DEACON…If you read on in 1st Timothy 3:8-13 we see the same qualifications were required for the DEACON. Though “called by God” and “enabled by God” to do the work of a deacon, this man must be living a godly life and desire to do the work God has called him to. The first mention of deacons is in Acts chapter 6 where deacons were to be appointed to serve based on this godly life. “Therefore brethren, seek out from among you SEVEN MEN OF GOOD REPUTATION, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.” They were chosen first by God, and then others chose them when they saw their Divine qualifications to handle temporal affairs in the local church (see verses 1-2).

4) The MISSIONARY…In Acts 13:1-2a we read that believers in the church at Antioch met together for prayer and then we read “the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I HAVE CALLED THEM.” It is vital to see (as we have been noting) that whatever work God has for His people to do, it is because: 1) God’s calls them to the work, and 2) God enables them for the work. Again, it is NOT a career choice, nor is it the choice of others; it is God’s choice and thus He does the CALLING and the ENABLING. After Barnabas and Saul were called to go on a MISSIONARY JOURNEY, we read in verses 3-4, “Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. So, BEING SENT OUT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.” We learn here that other believers recognized the Divine Calling for missionary work, and they gave them the “right hand of fellowship” (see Galatians 2:9) and then the Holy Spirit sent them out.

We have seen clearly that believers do not call other believers into service, even though Hebrews 5:12 may seem to be implying that. When Paul wrote to the Hebrew Christians, they had been saved for a very long time yet they had “not grown spiritually.” Paul had to rebuke them for this in verse 12, “For though by this time YOU OUGHT TO BE TEACHERS, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” Sadly, they had remained BABES as far as spiritual growth is concerned. If they had developed properly, they would be established in the Word of God and would be able to teach others what they knew. This does not mean they were “called and gifted as teachers,” but it does mean that every believer should grow to the point where they can teach others what God has taught them.  (DO)  (560.5)