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Who Is In Charge?: ReTooling Leadership 1 by Ed Waken

If the church is going to expand and multiply on an ongoing basis, there are some issues that must be faced, admitted to, repented from and transformed to become more like Jesus.  The cornerstone issue that faces the church today regarding stunting its growth is our understanding of leadership in the church.  I've put together 7 posts on ReTooling Leadership that will address this topic. I would love engaging with you in a conversation about this very important issue.


Leadership can be a bottleneck towards creating a culture of rapid kingdom expansion.  There has been a disconnect between our theology and our orthopraxy (correct action correlated to our theology).   To begin this discussion, we must briefly revisit the fact that Jesus is the only Head of the Church. 

Colossians 1:17-18 teaches us that Jesus is before all things and that He holds all things together and that He is the head of the body, the church.  Here is that passage...

"[Jesus] He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy."    Colossians 1:17-18

Jesus, as Head of His Church, is not just an idea, it is a reality that has implications.  Some may view Jesus as Head of the Church as a truth but practically, He communicates to the leader/pastor/bishop and they communicate to the people what God instructs.  Leaders need to be careful with this type of thinking.  Usually, without  intending to, leaders communicate that they hear from God differently or better than the common believer.  When leaders communicate that they hear from God in special ways that the common believer is not able to hear, they unintentionally put a filter or mediator between God and man - at least when it comes to things pertaining to the church function/structure.  But this type of interaction between Jesus and His Body, with the leaders being filters, is not found anywhere in the New Testament.  You may well say that teaching of all kinds is a mediator between God and another - yes, but the best teachers will be pointing people to seek out God on their own so they can feed themselves - not remain dependent upon a teacher.

Jesus is the Head of the Church and as Head, He directs the body as He wills.  He directs the arm or leg to move, He directs the heart to keep pumping or the hair to grow.  The head of the church intimately directs the newest believer and the most seasoned believer; He directs an individual, a family and an entire group of people.  We must always remember that there are not 'two' heads of the church.  Jesus is not the only the Head of the Universal Church but of each and every Local Church for there is no actual distinction in the Scriptures.   We see examples of Jesus speaking to the people and leaders corporately in the New Testament. 

We may look at how Jesus moved people in the church in Antioch in Acts 13 where Paul and Barnabas are sent out.  Here everyone present knew the will of the Lord and they were in agreement.  It is also interesting to note that the church in Antioch was begun by common (lay) people after the dispersion in Acts 8:1-4. 

In Acts 15:22, 25 & 28 at the council of Jerusalem, everyone heard from the Lord and together they made some vital decisions on what to tell the Gentiles concerning circumcision.  Jesus is certainly capable of directing His body in unison as we all listen to the Head of the Church.

Because Jesus is the Head of the Church, we must realize that there is only One Senior Pastor...Jesus Christ.

The church is an organism, not an organization.  Jesus the Head of this organism and therefore the church will function more like a human body and not like a business leadership chart would be diagramed.   Because Jesus is the head of the church, He is clearly directly connected to each person in the body.  Jesus is in charge of His church.

Diagrams to communicate two way of thinking about who is in charge of a local church.

Here is an example of what leadership typically looks like in a church;

Here is an example of what it may look like if Jesus were in charge of a church;

I would love to hear your thoughts about "Who Is In Charge?" Let me know if this is helpful to you and your church.

©2011 Ed Waken

Originally posted on Ed's Blog here
Ed tweets @EdWaken
Used with permission.

See also:
Who Is In Charge?: ReTooling Leadership 1
Jesus' Example: ReTooling Leadership 2
The Leader's Priority: ReTooling Leadership 3
Equip to Gather or Scatter: ReTooling Leadership 4
Leading People to be Scattered: ReTooling Leadership 5
Releasing People Immediately: ReTooling Leadership 6
Leadership Transparency: ReTooling Leadership 7
Organic Evangelism Principles
The Deal on Disciple Making - Video

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