Leadership, Real Church

Who Calls the Shots (Decision Making) in the Body of Christ?

I really can’t believe, nor see it written, that the Lord would have left His deity, become a man, suffer as much as He did and die for us only to give the running of the church into the hands of a few decision makers who could get it right or wrong. Just imagine, “Oops, I (we) led you astray for the last 16 months, I’m (we’re) sorry!” This type of scenario was avoided in the early church because the structure was without rank. We so easily read hierarchical leadership into texts, but it never existed. Respect for experience and roles (not rank) play a part, but mutual submission to all, under One Head, is how things were done in the New Testament. His body doesn’t have many heads. Such imagery belongs to the dark side. He alone is the head!

The early church respected that we can all hear the voice of the Lord and that all need to participate in decision making. In Acts 15:6, 22, 28 we see that all in the church were drawn into the process to achieve consensus in hearing the Spirit before a decision was made. Peter and James had roles to play, and the elders too; nevertheless it never outweighed the Spirit and the Lord’s headship over every member. In Acts 15:22 we see how all were involved: “Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to…”

There is love, respect for one another and God, and safety in involving everyone. Jesus made it clear, when speaking against attitude and rank that “Ye are all brothers” and when speaking of having authority over one another “it shall not be so among you”. Jesus alone calls the shots and He is well able bring about consensus through the His Spirit.


Leadership, Real Church

Starfish Characteristics in the Body of Christ

Here are some of my thoughts on starfish characteristics in the body of Christ and leadership.

When Jesus exercises His leadership through individuals in His body, this leadership has the characteristics of being multiple in nature, catalyst in style and temporary in existence. Any other form robs the head and the body and takes on a worldly, controlling, lording it over, Papal style. Unfortunately this is seen in Christian leadership throughout the body of Christ and is all too common the default setting in our lives.

Multiple in nature:

Everyone is a leader simply by their example in all that they do, either for good or bad. Sobering thought! This is lifestyle leadership and it ideally shows and encourages each other in:

1. the need of dependence on Jesus

2. the outcome of dependence on Jesus

However, besides this lifestyle leadership, the group should give room for anyone at any time to be a catalytic leader.

Catalyst in style:

Anyone may be required or called upon to lead at any one time in a specific area, as a catalyst to bring about change/movement/direction. We know that the head is the real leader of the body, but it is not uncommon for a body part to be chosen by the head to lead the body at a particular time. For example, when marching we lead off with our left foot, or our hand might lead the way forward in the dark, etc.

Temporary in existence:

A catalytic leadership serves a brief time of existence and exists solely for sake of the body, ready to be called on again in the same or another capacity.

Imagine the impact of a people who are both individually and corporately solely dependent on Jesus and who help each other grow in this dependence on him (the role of elders).


I would like to suggest that the slideshow The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations (Marina Noordegraaf’s  visual adaptation of the message and content of the book “The starfish and the spider” by Ori Brafman en Rod A. Beckstrom) that I found on the internet shows some of the traits I have mentioned. I think we can learn something from the starfish on how we as a body (the Body of Christ) can function in lifestyle, only we’re even better off in that we also have an indestructible Head in Jesus who will lead us.

Make room for each other. We can all hear the voice of the Lord!

Rob Morley