Over at The Assembling of the Church, Alan Knox has an ongoing discussion regarding the function of the overseer.
I began a comment there, which I soon realised was getting too long. So I will say what I want to say on my own space.
It seems to me much misunderstanding of leadership, and many other Biblical subjects, comes from our penchant of interpreting Scripture from the understanding of the meaning of words used in our respective cultures, or from an understanding programmed into us by the church culture of our earlier days. Very little of the understanding of leadership congregations have comes from personal Bible study and investigation. There seems to be very few Bereans.
Much misunderstanding comes from not interpreting Scripture by Scripture, especially evading what Jesus had to say about subjects, such as leadership, as if what the apostles later wrote overrules, or even negates, Jesus words.
Even more importantly, the over-riding context of a book of Scripture is not taken into account, which in the case of Hebrews, from which some of the discussion regarding the "overseer" on Alan's blog emanates, is mainly the salvation and perseverance of those people of God being addressed.
Far too many are being appointed to the task of overseer, because they have great "reputation", magnificent oratorical skills, have a good "presence" in the pulpit, have an alphabet of letters after their name, or because a supervisory body has recommended them. It may be that they are regarded as an able defender of a particular theological label.
I humbly submit that the reason the overseer is an overseer ought to be because he has demonstrated to the local body to which he belongs, and that for a number of years, his focus on Christ in his daily involvement with people, his consistency seeking to persuade to be "looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of the faith", rather than haranguing them to obey man-made rules and to perform like trained seals, according to his expectations, rules and regulations, or those of a particular denomination or ism.
He must be recognised as an overseer, because of his love for the Scriptures, his love for his brethren, his example in the community and the congregation, his humility, his ability, and willingness to serve the congregation without recognition, without compensation,without title, without his ego being massaged by fawning admirers. He will be recognised as an overseer, by his congregational brethren, because of his servanthood, his own obvious self perception that he is no more or no less a member of Christ's Body, but personally held to greater accountability to the Shepherd of the flock etc.
His persuasion will NEVER be by virtue of imagined inherent authority in the "position" of the overseer, nor by his denomination spin on what an overseer is, but by the authority of Scripture.