“Who Makes The Decisions Around Here?”
By: Brian A. Yeager
On more than one occasion I have been asked this question: “who makes the decisions around here?” My answer is ALWAYS the same. The Lord makes the decisions around here. It does not matter whether or not “around here” means my home. It does not matter whether or not “around here” means the local church. In all areas of our lives the Lord is supposed to be our decision maker (Colossians 3:17).
On nearly every occasion I have been asked this question and gave the right answer, the response of the enquirer shows confusion. For example, some say things such as: “No, that is not what I mean. I mean, do elders or the men make the decisions? Are there monthly men’s meetings? Who decides to fix the hole in the roof?” When it comes to the home you hear: “No, that is not what I mean. I mean, does your wife make decisions or do you make all of them? Aren’t you the head of your home?”
I have no idea at all why telling someone that the Lord makes the decisions is an unclear answer to people. If my mind is on the Lord’s counsel, rather than that of men, I am thinking about the right things (I Corinthians 4:6). The Scriptures teach us that the Lord’s counsel stands (Proverbs 19:21) while the counsel of men is not so dependable (Job 32:8-9 and I Corinthians 2:5). When you read God’s word you cannot miss the fact that Christ is the head of the church and He should be the head of our lives in all areas as well.
It Is His Church!
We, as a collective body of Christians, are known as the “church of Christ” (Romans 16:16). You would think that this would make it clear who the head of the church is. However, based on questions we frequently hear, this is not clear enough. We show people that Jesus promised to establish His church (Matthew 16:18). We show people that Jesus paid a hefty price to establish His body, the church (Acts 20:28 and Ephesians 5:25). We show people that the Scriptures plainly state that Jesus is the head of the church (Ephesians 1:20-23, Ephesians 5:23, and Colossians 1:18). Still, after all of that, there is confusion.
Why, among even those within the “church of Christ” are these things unclear? These things are unclear because from the pulpit so-called “brethren” have heard sermon after sermon stating that Jesus is the head of His body the church. They’ve heard that we need authority from the Lord for everything we do (Matthew 28:18-20). Yet, as the April 1st bulletin of the Moose Jaw church of Christ states, they have “men’s business meetings” to make decisions for the work and worship of the church (http://mjchurchofchrist.blogspot.com/).
There is confusion on who heads the church because, from the pulpit, it is stated that money can be collected only on the first day of the week (I Corinthians 16:1-2). Those sermons state that such funds are to be used for the work of the church only. Those sermons state that the work of the church is evangelism (I Thessalonians 1:7-8), edification (Ephesians 4:16), and aiding needy saints (Romans 15:25-27). However, while hearing sermons declaring the truth, they see men making decisions to have erroneous things such as “VBS crafts, games, music, and drama” (http://www.hickmanchurch.com/wp-content/uploads/Hickman%20Mills%202010%20VBS%20Overview.pdf). Now, that same group that has a “VBS” with unlawful entertainment says this about “benevolence”: “There is no example of using the church's money to help anyone other than a Christian. This pattern is just as clear and as important as any other subject. We must respect God's pattern in all things” (http://www.hickmanchurch.com/wp-content/uploads/Helping-the-needy.pdf). Sad, isn’t it? This is why people are often confused about who heads the church. They hear “we need authority”, but see “we’ll do whatever we want”.
Brethren, let’s remember that the congregation here has long taught the truth on the work of the church. However, inconsistencies have been practiced. The Lord’s money, in the past, has been used to mow the lawn, clean the building, etc. Men made those decisions. Thankfully we’ve moved away from that. To prevent it from occurring again, we have to make sure we do not allow men to overrule the Lord. It is HIS church. There is no office higher than the King of kings (cf. I Timothy 6:14-15).
What About Elders, Preachers, Treasurers, Majority Rule, Etc.?
Elders are shepherds of the Lord’s flock, not heads over His people (I Peter 5:1-4). Preachers have authority to preach the truth (Titus 2:15) and make full proof of their work (II Timothy 4:1-5). Outside of that, preachers have no more or less authority than anyone else in the body of Christ. Someone who carries the Lord’s money (i.e. John 13:29 and II Corinthians 8:4-9:5) has no more authority to do with it as they please just as the mailman can’t spend your paycheck. Whether or not the majority of brethren agree is not the standard either. Every good work can be authorized through the Scriptures (II Timothy 3:16-17). Regardless of who you or I are, we MUST only say and do that which we can prove acceptable in the sight of God (Ephesians 5:10 and I Thessalonians 5:21; cf. Romans 14:23). Disciples of the Lord keep (Luke 11:28) and continue in His word (John 8:31-32)!
Yes, Even At Home!
While the husband is the head of the wife (Colossians 3:18), the Lord is the head over the man (I Corinthians 11:3). Remember, God is to be glorified in all things (I Peter 4:11). Such cannot occur if we leave Him out of our decisions.
I have much more I wish I had the space to share. Thus, in conclusion, let me give some more quick points, through questions you can answer, showing that Christ needs to be our decision maker. Who/what is supposed to be first in our lives (Matthew 6:33 and Colossians 3:1-4)? Why do we exist (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 and Revelation 4:11)? What are we supposed to hear and keep (Luke 8:15)? Finally, to wrap up our study, who is the head of EVERYTHING (Colossians 2:8-10)?
Volume 12 – Issue 37 - June 3rd, 2012