The clear examples that we see in the Bible, specifically the letters (or Epistles) show that pastors or elders are supposed to be raised up from within the congregation and not imported from some other church, school or ministry.
If you are a Christian, then it is important to understand that a pastor or elder (these terms mean pretty much the same thing in the New Testament) is someone physically older than you who should be a close friend of yours (not some cold acquaintance), someone who spends time with you in everyday life, working with you side-by-side in the Lord’s work as a total equal in every way (not in lip service which is so common), and not as some elite superior over you. If this person doesn’t spend any significant time with you and therefore doesn’t really know you, then it is reasonable and logical to ask how they can possibly help keep watch over your soul and point you to what the Bible teaches specific to your needs in various areas of your life. This is a very good question that few Christians ever ask.
Pastors / elders should already be skilled in the Word (not novices) serving the church in love and not so as to try and impress or showboat in order to gain some kind of a personal following. These men are not suddenly appointed to some unbiblical position that they have no clue about, set on a course to learn by trial and error as they experiment on the body of Christ like mad doctors.
No, these are men who already meet the requirements of 1Tim3, 1Pet 5:1-3 and many other Scriptures and they are already humbly doing the work of a servant (a real one – not one of these phony lips service “servants”). They are already doing this kind, caring, loving work among the people before ever being recognized by the church as an elder.
The church recognizes this and because of an elder’s sound doctrine and resulting genuine love and good example, the church gives them some additional respect (as far as giving even deeper consideration to whatever they might have to say compared to a novice or young believer for example), but these men are never to be given control over the congregation.
Christ must remain in command and His Body must remain in direct submission to Him with no false mediators in between or in the way. The Bible teaches that there is One Mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus. We know that there is no mediator between Christ and man known as a pastor. But we have a lot of false mediators today undermining the written Word and getting in the way of many Christians’ walk in Christ.
I am certainly not saying that this recognition of an elder is in some kind of pompous “official” sense. No, I am speaking of simple roles and function not offices or positions of power. In the couple places in the New Testament where we see the word “office” in regards to what many Christians often incorrectly think of as “leadership”, we need to realize that this word (or any equivalent) is not found in the original Greek. The word “office” was incorrectly added by the translators.
Today’s modern “office” dwellers, who claim to be pastors and yet hardly know most of the people that they claim to care for, should go get a job. Well, actually anyone who tries to make a living off of a church congregation should seriously rethink what they are doing. We are plagued with CEOs disguised as shepherds running businesses disguised as churches.