Single pastor churches vs collegial eldership
Before I get into some specifics, let me first state that there are indeed many wonderful, God fearing, and capable men who serve in the role of pastor/leader in our churches today. And there are many men who serve as Senior Pastor with helping ministers and their churches are thriving, viable, and effective. So what could be wrong with this? Just because something works does not mean that it works the way it is intended to work. We are very careful to allude to the tabernacle plan when we think of the plan of salvation and the scripture that says, "for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount." (Hebrews 8:5). It is very important to the Apostolic Christian that we follow the patterns, models, and examples given to us by scripture, and that these are in keeping with specific instructions, commands, and ordinances that are laid out in scripture.
Do we have a "plan of salvation" explicitly stated in scripture? Yes we do. And do we not also have explicit scripture laying out church government? Yes we do. How is that we say we want our plan of salvation to "match up" with the plan in scripture that is then illustrated by example. And we want our Holy Ghost experience to "match up" with the patterns and examples in scripture. But why do we ignore the pattern and example of church government and replace it with a form that is not Biblical?
The first obvious problem with a single pastor church is that it does not conform to Scriptural teaching nor the practice of the first church. In my book, "Restoring the Five Fold Ministry", I have addressed part of the problem is not understanding the ministerial gifts. But as far as church leadership, the Bible teaches that churches are to be ruled by several elders who work together in equality. Jesus did not start the Jerusalem church with one person in leadership. In I Timothy 5:17, the Bible says - "let the elders that RULE well be worthy of double honor." It did not say, "let the elders that PREACH ONCE IN A WHILE". The scripture declares "Obey THEM that have the rule over you" (Hebrews 13:17)" and again "ordained them elders in every church" (Acts 14:23).
What problem is the church ignoring then? We have to be honest with the fact that the local churches for the most part have developed preacher religion. Local congregations are referred to by their pastor's names as if they owned the church. We speak of "who's church we attend" rather than the actual church name. More than that, saints are being taught that "anything with two heads is a monster" when referring to the idea that a church cannot have more than one leader. We admit that a local church can have more than one apostle (Jerusalem did), more than one prophet (Acts 13), more than one evangelist, more than one teacher, but only one pastor. This is falsehood and any honest man of God should recognize this statement for its lack of truth This of course would be contrary to scripture. When Paul speaks in Acts 20:28
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
He is not speaking to pastors of several different churches. He is speaking to the elders of the church in Ephesus (v17). Some might say that means there were several pastors in Ephesus in several different locations. I argue - does that mean then when the Bible said that we are to call for the elders of the church to pray over the sick, that we request those several pastors from several parts of town to come pray for our sick?
There are actually several problems with having a single pastor church and again several of these have been addressed in the books "Restoring the Five Fold Ministry" and other links on the Apostolic Forum website. I would encourage you to read the book and broaden your understanding. Again, this short answer here is not intended to cause anyone to question pastoral authority (or the authority of the elder), because if a church only has a single pastor, and that pastor is the only elder in the church - God honors that authority. But the elevation of "pastors" over the other ministerial gifts is evident. The single pastor concept has all but destroyed the ability for a five fold ministry to work properly. The average apostolic church in America is a little over 100 saints. Saints have become "preacher" focused rather than Jesus focused.