God's plan for leadership in a gathering of His people is a plurality of elders functioning as one man underneath Christ. They do not take the place of Christ, or exercise "lordship" over the gathering or any individual, but rather they express the Father's heart and perform the function of a father in the spiritual family. The authority they exercise is not in themselves, but flows only as they move in the grace and Spirit of God. As they submit to Christ and move in grace (the ability of God), God is able to express His mind in His family through these men. If men begin to move in themselves separate from God, they no longer express the Father's heart and become a hindrance to what God is doing. If such a condition is allowed to continue, it will bring a deadening in the gathering and must be corrected.
Because of the difficulties of correcting a leadership that is not functioning under the authority of Christ, many have concluded that the solution is not to have any recognized leadership. Or sometimes leadership is performed by "responsible brothers" but falls short of recognizing elders. While these may seem to be solutions, I do not see any scriptural basis for these approaches. If we follow them, we will see many needs in the gathering go unmet. The scriptures only teach one way, and if we want to enter into the fullness of God's purpose and grow up into all that God has for us, we must go "God's way." While the challenges may seem great at times, we must let God be God and believe that He knows what He is doing. As we obey, we will begin to see why God has designed the body the way He has. God always does things in perfection, and when we create a plan that seems better to us, we do so to our own detriment.
God's method is men--men filled (controlled) with the Holy Spirit. There is no other way. This leaves God fully in control and men fully involved. It may seem spiritual to say "Jesus must be the leader" and leave it at that. Yes, it is true that Jesus must be the leader, but how? How does Jesus lead us? Is Jesus still on the earth in bodily form? Look at the examples we have in scripture. On the day of Pentecost, how did Jesus lead the first gathering? Did the apostles just stay on their knees praying, or do we see Peter standing up and proclaiming the word of God? When the church faced problems with the widows, were men involved? When the lame man was healed, did an angel do it? We know the answers. Men were involved every time and God has not changed His ways. No matter how many problems it seems to create, God's method for leadership is spiritual men who are moving under the control of the Spirit.