“When they had ordained . . . in every church . . . they commended them to the Lord.” Acts 14:23KJV In this Scripture, ‘ordained’ is the Greek word chierotoneo meaning to “stretch forth the hand” or “to vote”. So, we see that the early Church chose servants by the worshippers voting for their leaders and evangelists. Other translations of the Bible use the word “appointed” or “chosen” instead of “ordained”. The book of Acts teaches that Christians recommended faithful servants to each other (Acts 9:26-27), “. . . the whole church (sent) chosen men of their own company to Antioch . . . chief men among the brethren: And they wrote letters. . .”. (Acts 15:22-23) The mentioned letters were similar to today’s letters of reference. Believers in one geographic area would praise an elder, perhaps citing a person’s character, scholarship, and teaching abilities, to another church. Thereby, the visiting elder or evangelist could be recognized as faithful and be used in service to that church. The Bible says nothing about anyone receiving a formal certificate.
God through the power and influence of the holy spirit calls men and women and gives them authority to work in His service. Followers, who have faith in the ransom price paid by Jesus and who dedicate their lives to do His will, are “sanctified in Christ Jesus” and “called to be saints”. (1 Corinthians 1:2) These believers have come under the anointing of the promised holy spirit that began at Pentecost and so have full authority to preach. All Christians are to use their God-given talents and opportunities to witness. They do not need the approval or permission of a church. “Now we have received . . . the spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. To each is given the manifestation of the spirit for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 2:12 & 12:4-13 RSV)
In conclusion: Christians should be guided by the practice of the early church. Each gathering of worshippers voted for some among their fellowship to serve as deacons or elders. Sometimes Christian leaders in one church would travel to another locality. When that occurred, a local congregation could write a letter commending that leader as a faithful brother. However, all followers could serve God as opportunities opened – with or without a congregation’s involvement.