And he is the head of the body, the church. –Colossians 1:18
Is Jesus the Senior Pastor—the “chief Shepherd”—of your church? (1 Pet. 5:4)
It may be easy to acknowledge his supremacy in theory, but how can you tell if your church is following Jesus’ leadership and not simply acknowledging him as a figurehead? Here are some key indicators:
1. Where does authority reside?
The Bible is the Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16). Jesus is Senior Pastor when the Bible is preached and valued as the ultimate authority for life and knowledge.
2. Is submission taking place?
Human leadership must reflect biblical submission which is humble, mutual, and without exceptions. Everybody must submit to somebody—not only to Jesus but also to the earthly authorities he’s appointed to govern (Rom. 13:1; Eph. 5:21; Heb. 13:17). Jesus is Senior Pastor when no one else wields absolute, infallible authority.
3. How do you organize your leadership teams?
Strive to include Jesus in the way you organize leadership teams. Jesus is Senior Pastor when church governance reflects something deeper than the latest management fad or corporate structure.
4. What is your mission?
As a church, where do you focus the bulk of your effort, money, and attention? Does this focus align with Jesus’ Great Commission for his church (Matt. 28:19)? Jesus is Senior Pastor when the church cares about evangelism and reaching new people with the gospel.
5. Is there fruit?
Fruit isn’t measured solely in numbers, but Jesus said, “I will build my church.” (Matt. 16:18) If there is no evidence of progress, if nothing’s being built, Jesus may be absent, or even “against you.” (Rev. 3:3)
Is Jesus the Senior Pastor of your church? It’s a question worth asking, discussing, and honestly answering on a regular basis.