Jesus is the author of the church and the foundation of the church. He is the bedrock on which the church is built. His death and resurrection is the work which created the church and which continues to build it. Jesus is the church’s foundation, origin, life, strength and success. God has made Jesus all things for the church so He will have the preeminence in all things. (Colossians 1:18) If Jesus is preeminent in the church what will that look like? How will we do ministry when we recognize the supremacy of Christ and make Him most important to us? The preeminence of Jesus in the church is evident in the church’s prayer, reliance and confidence.
A church with Christ as preeminent is a praying church. No one can deny the New Testament’s intense emphasis on continual prayer. Paul models this commitment to prayer in his letters to the churches. Pauline prayer is God centered. For example, in Colossians 1 he prays for the Lord’s supernatural work to be evident in His people. He prays for the church to be filled with knowledge of the will of God, for them to live lives worthy of the Lord, for them to be fruitful in every good work, for them to increase in the knowledge of God and for them to be strengthened by the power of God. Paul prays as if Jesus is most important and as if Jesus is the source of all the church needs. A church that makes Christ preeminent will have a similar prayer life. When Christ is preeminent His people will constantly look to Him to supply all they need to grow and prosper in Him.
A church in which Christ is preeminent will actively acknowledge He is the source of everything needed. This moves beyond prayer to affect the attitudes and approach to ministry. When Christ is preeminent His church will boldly acknowledge He is the only source of everything the Christian needs. Christians will walk in Him because we are complete in Him. The church in which Christ is preeminent will not act as if its growth or success is based upon its rules or its rituals. It will not rely upon the novelty of its teaching or the attraction of its programs. It will not attempt to appeal to the religious sensibilities of the age. The church in which Jesus is preeminent will promote Him.
The church that makes Christ preeminent will trust Him to do the work of transforming people. This kind of church will not imagine any person is responsible for making others like Christ. It will not measure spirituality by a person’s adherence to tradition and extra-Biblical rules. Because this church knows Jesus to be the only source of all strength for the Christian life it will trust Him to do the transforming of others. The church in which Christ is preeminent will not despair when people do not grow or change in the way we think they ought. It will not search for new methods when the results we desire are not forthcoming. It will remain confident that Jesus is working in His people through His Word and it will not abandon the Biblical means for methods which promise immediate results.
The church in which Christ is preeminent will be faithful to do all He says and it will have rest in the knowledge fruit, results and growth are not produced by their effort. If people grow and change, God get’s the glory. If the church is obedient but fruit is not yet evident, then there will be a quiet resting that waits patiently for the work of God to bear fruit. The church in which Christ is preeminent is diligent to plant and water and is content to wait on God to give the increase.