I recently heard someone in a meeting refer to “the heads of ministries and churches.” Unfortunately, this is not just words. Many people actually believe that a pastor is the head of a church, sort of like a CEO. However, the New Testament is clear that there is only one Head of a church and that is the living, resurrected Jesus Christ. The role of church leaders is to facilitate connection with and radical obedience to the living Jesus among all the people.
Leaders in church serve under the Head, Jesus. He is the CEO and leaders are called to be His humble assistants, keeping the focus on Him and His presence, not on themselves and what they have to say. According to Ephesians, apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers are supposed to train, empower, and release ordinary people to do the work of the ministry.
There was a popular book entitled Jesus CEO. The book looked at Jesus’ “management style” and presented Him as a leadership example for CEOs and other leaders. However, I believe that the New Testament concept of Jesus as Head of the church is not merely intended to be an analogy but an actuality. Jesus needs to be more than a figurehead, like the Queen of the United Kingdom. He needs to be the actual, factual Head — the literal CEO — the decision maker of His churches.
You see this through out the book of Acts. There, the living, resurrected Jesus, often in the person of the Holy Spirit, gives specific instructions and directions to the church. Here’s an example from Acts 13:
“Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”
I wonder why we don’t regularly allow Jesus to make decisions like that for us like that in the 21st Century. Perhaps, if we did, we would see God do amazing things in and through His people.