Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, He is the One who created it as well as the One who stands in supreme authority over it. Jesus
established the Church and prescribed the way in which His Church is to be led. Our responsibility as Elders within the Church is to do
things His way and not attempt to re-make His divine prescription for Church leadership. Proper leadership in the Church is an important
key to the fulfillment of the plan of God for the Body of Christ.
The Church of Jesus Christ is led by a plurality of leaders; namely, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. (Ephesians 4:11)
For the Church or for a church to be truly effective, constantly fruitful, and ultimately lasting, it is necessary for it to operate under this
model of plurality of leadership; no other model will stand the test of time and fire. When the five ministry offices work in cooperation with
one another as a single unit, the whole ministry of Jesus Christ is manifested and Jesus is glorified. This doctrine of plurality of leadership
has come to be accepted by many streams within the Church; however, in the local churches (and in some cases within the broader scopes
such as within apostolic spheres) this concept of plurality is taken too far and confusion arises usually resulting in destruction. The missing
piece to this puzzle is the truth that in any unit there can be only one head; this is true regardless of the size or scope of the unit, whether
it is a family, a Bible study, a local church fellowship, or an apostolic sphere. Leadership is plural; headship is singular.
This paradigm is revealed to us in the Godhead. We know God is three Persons yet They (He) are One. Through the teachings of Christ
while on the earth, He reiterated many times His own submission to His Father in heaven, recognizing His Headship over Him. He went on to
teach us that the Holy Spirit is in subjection to Him [Jesus] as it relates to the Church because the Father has entrusted the Headship of the
Church to Jesus. The Three Leaders, if you please, work in wonderful harmony and unity in a plurality of leadership; in this paradigm we
also see how singular headship operates within the plurality of leadership. So it is with the leadership of the Body of Christ. The five
ministry offices function as the leadership (Eldership) of the Church yet within distinct measures of sphere there will be only a single head,
other leaders are in submission to that one who is head of that particular sphere. For example, within a local church the pastor stands as
the head of that church even though there may be apostles, prophets, teachers, or evangelists who are assigned there. Their particular
spheres extend beyond the walls of that local church in which their headship is recognized.
It is important to understand that headship does not necessarily equate to being “the most qualified” or to “the most mature” or certainly
to “the most anointed.” Headship over any measure of sphere exists solely because Jesus sets in place who He desires. That is why all
other Church leaders readily discern his/her headship by the witness of the Holy Spirit within them. At times and in certain situations
guidance by the Holy Spirit is critical. For example, an apostle may be assigned to a local church fellowship. He is subject to the pastor
within that measure of sphere. The apostle understands his own measure of sphere and recognizes that the church he attends is not within
that sphere even though the pastor of the church may be. He has no authority to direct the affairs of the church or rule over it; the pastor is
called by Jesus as head there and given that authority by Him. The wise pastor however will seek guidance and assistance from the apostle
[and the other fivefold ministers] utilizing the anointing that is upon him to further the God-birthed vision for his church.
Headship carries with it the responsibility for final judgment. Study Acts 15 because this is a good study of headship. Here we see the
leadership of Church come together so they can decide on several very important doctrinal issues. After the debates and discussion have
ended, James stands up and declares by final judgment what the truth is concerning the pressing questions. By virtue of his headship, final
judgment came. The other leaders present as well as the saints all submitted themselves to his final ruling, respecting the calling of God on
his life to his headship over the Church. James was an apostle who also functioned as the senior pastor of the church at Jerusalem.
Whether his headship came about as a result of being the ruling apostle or because this grand meeting of Elders took place within his
church, we are not certain. In either case, it is apparent headship existed within the plurality of leadership in the Body of Christ. This truth
gives rise to the term first among equals.
What we are talking about here is divine order. Divine order exists at all levels in God’s creation; divine order is how God has always done
things. We see even in creation God’s plan for divine order: planets are given prescribed orbits; wild animals have territories; the seas
have boundaries; and mankind from earliest times have realized the need for order within their villages and regions. Divine order exists to
fulfill the plan of God. Divine order is good. It makes good sense. This is why it also makes good sense for the Church of Jesus Christ to
maintain divine order in its structure and operation. Divine order facilitates ease in the advancement of the Kingdom of God, as well as,
helps to avoid confusion, self-centeredness, and jealousy in church leadership.
Divine order recognizes and accepts measures of sphere within the Body of Christ. A measure of sphere is simply the assignment one has
been given by Jesus. That assignment may be a group of believers within a small group or in a local church fellowship; it may be
geographic in that a leader is assigned to a particular city, region, or territory; or the assignment can be to a certain teaching or doctrine to
the Body of Christ. Regardless of the scope, size, or perceived significance of the assignment, the one whom Jesus calls must fully
understand his assignment and the vision associated with it. All other church leaders are required to respect that leader’s assignment
realizing it is God-called and in His divine order.
As the Body of Christ rises in this revelation truth of headship we will see fewer and fewer problems arise in churches and ministries.
Church splits and acts of rebellion and spiritual mutiny will have thinner soil in which to grow and manifest. Churches will be stronger and
more fruitful, not to mention, they will be more pleasing to Jesus the Head of the Church.
My final admonition is this: I encourage you fivefold ministers to genuinely seek the face of God to determine your own God-given measure
of sphere. Once you have this identified, you will also discover your own headship. Then, dedicate your headship to the glory of Jesus
Christ and make a solemn vow of stewardship over that headship. Also, I encourage you to seek to identify and distinguish the measures of
sphere of other leaders. Vow to never attempt to challenge the headship of a fellow leader who is co-laboring with you for the sake of the
Kingdom. In the case of those leaders over whom you have direct spiritual authority, I also suggest strongly that you allow each one to
operate his ministry under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and not yours. This is particularly important for apostles who have authority over
pastors and other fivefold ministers. Your task is not to dictate how these ministries are governed or led. In the case of severe, overt, and
continued grievous sin, other measures of authority will be taken. This lesson is not intended to deal with this issue.
Receive my blessings as you continue in the work to which God has called you. Amen.
|The Principle of Headship in the Church