Authority of Church Leadership – How Much Authority is Delegated?

Abstract

It is clear in the Word of God that there is such a thing as delegated authority.  We see it clearly represented in some of our relationships such as:

  • Parents with Children
  • Government Authorities with Citizens

There are other relationships where delegated authority is present.  Only two examples are given because they are the clearest and most obvious in the Word of God.

Additionally, we can see in many different human organizational structures the presence of and need for delegated authority.  Humans are finite beings who can only manage so much without needing to involve other humans to ensure that the human activities within a given sphere (a business, a social organization) is guided and directed in a manner that fulfills its purposes.

When we come to the Church (i.e. the Body of Christ) we find some differences and we must re-examine the needs for and operation of authority in the sphere of the Church.

This article will explore the following:

  1. Does authority in the Body of Christ work the same as authority in other realms and relationships in life?
  2. What are the similarities and differences between authority in the Body of Christ and how it operates versus other human organizations?
  3. Since God is an infinite, omniscient, omnipresent being does he need and/or want delegated authority to operate in church environments the same way it does in other human organizations?
  4. What concepts should ones leading in church environments explore to ensure they are properly trained to represent God among His people?

Note: For practical purposes, the Church is referred to singularly, but it is acknowledged there are many congregations of believers who are organized into churches.

Working Definitions of Delegated and Authority:

  • Delegated
    • The transfer of responsibility, authority and tools (i.e. resources in various forms – money, goods, mental capacity, etc)
  • Authority
    • The right to choose on behalf of another and expect others to respect this right to choose on their behalf
    • The power to act within the given scope of authority

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