Who is really the head of the church?
And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be the head over everything for the church.
If you grew up in a Catholic family, you may expect that the head of the church was the Pope. If you grew up in an Anglican family, well, maybe you would think that the Archbishop was the head of the church. Or at the very least, you would think that the Senior Minister was in charge; the one who had the last say on what happened day to day in the life of your local church.
Now, of course, there is some truth to this. Each one of these roles is a leadership role and is responsible for the oversight of what happens in the church today. However, none of these roles are the ‘Head’. This belongs to Jesus, and Jesus only. For the church belongs to Jesus. He purchased it with his own blood when he died on the cross. Indeed, the word ‘church’ simply means a gathering. It is not a fancy building, or a club. It is a gathering of those purchased by Jesus. Indeed, so integral is Jesus to the church, that the Apostle Paul speaks of the church as being a body, with Jesus as the head (Col 1:18).
But what does it mean to be the ‘head’ of the church? Well, headship in the Bible comes with the idea of both authority and responsibility. To be the head, you are ultimately in charge, and it’s your role to set the direction and purpose of the entity that you lead. Jesus does this through his Word, the Bible. But it is also Jesus’ responsibility to lead the church, and this he does through the work of His Spirit, who gifts the people of the church with spiritual gifts to edify and build the church. And so, if Jesus is the head – the question is – am I following his lead, and seeking to use the gifts he has given me to build his church?