Spiritual Headship in the Church and Home

(from Rev. Mark Hein) When I was first approached to write a column for this website, I was more than just a little hesitant. With a busy ministry, I wasn’t sure if anything more would fit on my plate. That is, until I was told the topic that was being considered.


To say that there is great confusion over spiritual headship, be it in the church or home, would be an incredible understatement. There is both confusion about it as well as an all-too obvious absence of it. True spiritual headship, biblical headship, is rarely seen anymore. What this has caused is nothing less than great “spiritual hardship” both in the church and in the home (we will get into some horror stories later).


The fact of the matter is, we now have generation upon generation of men (and women) who have little or no idea as to what spiritual headship is all about. Consequently, we have a countless number of families and congregations who are running around “like chickens without their….”


In some cases, you have men who have abandoned their post (if they even ever assumed it). They have willingly abdicated their responsibility as spiritual heads, avoiding it like the plague or conveniently claiming it when and only when it is beneficial. These individuals, for whom we fervently pray, fall under the categories of the spiritually spineless and the cowardly.


In other situations, you have men who would genuinely like to carry out their divinely given headship roles. The problem is, they simply do not know what to do. They do not know what is indeed required and expected of them, but also what they have the great joy and privilege of doing… of BEING!


A third group of men would be those who have assumed spiritual headship in the church or the home, but truth be told and if they were honest with themselves, they would admit that they could be better at it – far more consistent and diligent.


So where do you fit in with all of this? Thanks be to God that we do not live in a past that is, for all of us, filled with shortcomings. Rather, by faith, we live in the present reality of the forgiveness that is ours in Christ Jesus and the divine assurance of the Spirit’s power to help us walk from this time forth and forevermore in the way of the Lord.


Of no surprise, our discussion of spiritual headship begins with Christ, He who is our ever-living Head. In the weeks to follow, we will consider spiritual headship defined by Christ and lived out in Him and through Him. As always, Holy Scripture and our Lutheran Confessions will be our guide.


Our first setting will be the home… your home… and then we will move to the church… your church. Yes, this is going to get personal. This series of articles will be evangelically “in your face,” but all for the good, right and salutary purpose of helping you “get your head on straight.”


In Christ, Pastor Hein, St.  Pauls Lutheran Church, Lockport, Illinois

About Pastor Mark Hein

Articles can be found here The Rev. Mark Hein is pastor of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lockport Illinois, and also fire chaplain for the Lockport Township Fire Protection District. This year, he will celebrate twenty years in the ministry in addition to previously serving ten years in hospital administration. St. Paul's, Lockport, hosts the monthly meetings of the Northern Illinois Confessional Lutherans (NICL) for their ongoing study of the Lutheran Confessions. St. Paul's has a very active chapter of the Brothers of John the Steadfast. Pastor Hein hopes to work with the women of his congregation to establish the first chapter of the Society of Katy Luther (BJS sister organization) possibly to be launched during the 2012 Festival of the Reformation.


Spiritual Headship in the Church and Home — 5 Comments

  1. This is one of the main things I have been waiting for. With the feminization of both society and the Church as well as those of us that grew up with radical feminist mothers I think this may be the single most important aspect of BJS.

    So Pastor feel free to get in my face and get my head on straight.

  2. I believe this is one of the bellwether issues of our times – probably for all time. From Adam, men have always abdicated their role ordained by God. In the spirit of unity, peace, etc. they – we – have all done this from time to time.

    Many now do not have the education, and/or are unwilling to submit to sound teaching so that they know how to be the spiritual head of their house. I am looking forward to receiving this teaching in the hopes that I can be faithful and bring up children strong in the faith themselves.

  3. Rev. Hein,
    Thank you for writing this column for BJS. I look forward to your future posts.

  4. Bring it on Pastor! Let the law convict and cut like a knife. Christ’s forgiveness will heal every wound, and make our families and churches the stronger for it.

    I am eager to hear what you will present. I am helping to start up a men’s ministry to address this very thing in our congregation. We have started with a monthly father/children breakfast for all ages not just little kids at home). It has a “teaching and table” approach. With time focused on fathers in conversation with their children on the topic presented. It fosters men relating to their children directly not mediated through mom; men bringing their children to church and leading them in some study; and we speak a lot about men’s vocation as husband, father, and spiritual leader in home and church.

    We’ve had about six meetings and the feedback has been very possitive from both fathers and children. The only problem so far is that those coming are already pointed in the right direction. It is those that really need instruction and support who don’t come. Those that don’t realize the benefits of course don’t take advantage of the opportunity. But we press on.

  5. You got my a my attention Rev. Hein. I’m not expecting it to only be a in your face, but also bloodshed. Looking forward to sound biblical teaching on Spiritual Headship in the Church and Home.

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