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The Prayer Circle – Who is the Head of the Church?


Thanks for meeting us at the prayer circle.

Struggling churches can find the clarity and focus they need in 8 simple words: Jesus Christ obviously present and actively in charge. When we relegate Jesus to the status of “figurehead” in our churches, we strive in the flesh. In this session we will examine the Scriptures and find that Jesus is the Head of the church – not pastors, church leaders, or even voting congregations.

Who is the Head of the Church?

All the ills that could be listed about the church today could be linked back to this one thing: We have gone our busy and well-intentional ways without the approval and authority of the active headship of Jesus Christ. Any body disconnected from its head will act erratically and eventually be found dead. The proverbial behavior of a “chicken with its head cut off” is too often an apt description of our churches. This, of course, is followed by the cooker. Satan eats us alive when we are intentionally or, more commonly, gradually and casually separated from our Head.

United, humble, Scripture-based praying with Christ present and in charge honors the headship of Christ and keeps us connected and aligned with Him in our corporate behavior.

There is always pain, distraction, and mischief in any congregation where a strong, proud, or uninformed person assumes the headship role. The church is a theocracy and is meant to be ruled by God. Everything is to be saturated in prayer and immersed by the overwhelming presence of the glorified Christ. Even physical matters, such as the spending of funds, need to meet the approval of Christ. Lordship is often thought of as detached, but active and effective Headship only gives life when it is attached (to the body). If Jesus is replaced or relegated to the place of a “figure-head”, the church is immediately cut off from its source of life. Jesus Christ must be obviously present (not an assumed presence) and actively in charge.

Here are some clear Scriptures for us to consider:

“And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:22-23)

“But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16)

“For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.” (Ephesians 5:23)

Let’s put it all together. These passages leave no questions. The church receives resurrection power from her living Head. The Father gave Jesus to be the Head over all things to the church which is His body. His supply as the Head nourishes the fitly-joined members of the body, which in turn edifies itself in love and increases with the increase of God!

I love to ask pastors, “How big do you think your church should be?” We pastors always like bigger. At least, I do. This Bible-based, Christ-centered corporate praying honors the body and her Head, and it is the driving force behind all church ministry. It keeps the life of the Vine in the prayer life of the church. Bigger is not always better and small—“us four and no more”—is not sacred. The perfect size for any church is the size God wants it to be. If we “continue steadfastly” with Jesus Christ obviously present and actively in charge, our churches will increase with the increase of God and that is always right. This is not an endorsement of passivity but rather a pursuit of first love for Jesus in prayer.

One more thing, if we use bride-and-groom analogy in Ephesians 5:23, we will enjoy seeing our Groom Jesus functioning as the initiator of the grace activity and the Church functioning as the faithful bride who responds excitedly to her lover.

Every believer needs to be intentionally involved in the prayer life of his or her church because of who Jesus is (the Head), who the church is (the Body), and what prayer is (the Vital Connection).

Joe Humrichous

Joe Humrichous is the executive director of Paradigm One and Bible Prayer Fellowship. The message of the sufficiency of Christ for both the pastor and the local church was birthed during a time of brokenness in his early ministry. Now after 50 years in ministry, Joe is passionate to share this reality as it applies to corporate prayer and church leadership. He recently served as a pastor at First Baptist Church in Covington, Indiana. He and his wife Teresa have 5 children and 13 grandchildren.

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