Authority: Working Under the Top

I’m trying to add some new things to the site. Last night I procrastinated from my work and spent sometime learning some new scripts and the result: a random quote generator. I get to add my own quotes (which I lost most of them when my computer crashed a few weeks ago), and thought there are few now I will constantly be adding to them. ALso, since I’m almost at 200 posts now I decided I should start organizing them in some sort of order to make this easy to find. So there is a catagory section, they are still in the midst of being organized but hopefully what is there will help you, that is right above the search bar.

There are times where submission to authority of a pastor needs to take place, and if not then you need to step down from where you are. A pastor is given a responsibility of running a ministry and shepherding a people. Spiritually, I don’t think that a pastor ever has ever kind of authority over anyone’s life: only Jesus Christ does. In a whole other realm, I can’t see any other way but than to obey those that are put over you.

When I was around seventeen and eighteen I was asked to come on board as the interim youth pastor of my home church. It was weird at time, but really I was pasturing not by myself but with a leadership team of four others. I got to speak, hang out with kids, plan events and do all that other ‘youth pastor’ stuff. After a while, as young as I was, I started seeing things that I wasn’t expecting to see. It was all the typical stuff that goes on in churches: church politics, things I disagreed with, questions no one could answer. The longer I was there the more disconnect I could see between me and the pastors and their vision. This wasn’t to say I was right and they were wrong in any specific case. They were just different.

There came points in working there where I was asked by the senior pastor to encourage or do something that I wasn’t comfortable with (any more). I tried to make them see why for a long time, but eventually it just ended in us seeing things very differently. In a case like this; I needed to submit to authority or leave authority. When someone is hired by someone (church or not); they are hired with the expectation that you are going to do what the boss (senior pastor) asks. This goes the same with volunteer jobs in churches, ministry heads etc. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing, stating your case, trying to make people understand where you are coming from. When it comes down to it though, the pastor has to have the final say; and you have to listen or get out.

This isn’t one of those things where someone says “I don’t like what the pastor is doing so I’m quitting and checking out another church.” No matter what church we go to you aren’t going to like some things that a pastor does. I’m talking about when you are operating underneath the vision and mission of a particular church and the pastoral team does not think you are doing that right; it is your responsibility to fall in line with it or remove yourself from it. I don’t think its wrong to do either necessarily, I’m sure it would depend on the situation.

This is why commitment and possibly church membership I think holds some value (though I still don’t know how I feel completely about church membership, at leas the way it’s seen today). It creates a people that are operating underneath a certain mission and vision instead of random people all over the place trying to carry on the Kingdom’s jobs by themselves. It would make no sense for someone to be acting differently than the mission and vision and stay with the community; it would cause dissension all throughout.

So while I think that it is not a pastor’s duty to exercise authority (especially spiritual authority) over anyone self-willed. I do think that we need to come under authority of a pastor (or someone) voluntarily to bring unity to a group. This is a hard balance to come by for the leader and the follower. While the leader needs to learn to act as an authoritative leader without demanding authority and the follower needs to learn to submit without compromising what they believe to be the authority of Jesus Christ.

So this post may only relate to a select few people (unfortunately) who actually find themselves working in a church, running ministries and doing stuff underneath a specific church but I still think that it needs to be understood because there is no point in doing anything in the church if you are not willing to come under some kind of submissive authority (which is still to be defined) of someone that oversees you.

4 Comments

  • Interesting subject and a tough one at that. The reality of it is, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you want to do for the Lord. You will be tested to see if you are worhty of further responsiblity. How and why we act towards authority of any kind. In ourselves we ALL have that sinful nature that has to come under authority, to everything. The law, don’t kill people, the police, don’t speed. the church, please do what we ask or please don’t do this or that because we want to show to the community that we have these certain standards so people will trust us with their children.
    Then there is the inevitable at some point and time there will be a conflict, no maybes about it. It has to happen, for both parties to grow. In our sinful nature we don’t want to submit to anyone, because that means we give up part of ourselves to that person and no one deserves that right over us. I guess that just really means we can’t trust God enough to take care of things and we will be in rebellion. We just need to learn to let go and let God. It’s tough. But do able. Lots of people have done it and they have survied. And they have learn a valueable lesson. There is also something here that is also very influential and persuasive that has a very powerful effect on others, weather for good or bad, that we don’t realize it. It’s what we SAY and DO that others watch and are effected by, in the positive or the negative. That is the authority we have over others, and it’s just because we are alive and live next to them in this life God has granted to us. We don’t need to pound our fists, stomp our feet, we will effect everyone we come in contact with. Sins of omission or sins of comission, the same we ALL have to repent of any sin. Not my rules but I have to live by them regardless, but I’m different I want to LIVE by them. Because when it’s all said and done, it’s going to come down to one thing, being obediant to His will not mine, learning to be submissive is one of the teachings of Jesus, submitting to the will of God, the Word of God, the way of the people good or evil. Didn’t He say don’t pervent an evil person. The pastor who is just a man, not perfect by any means, (I wonder how good of a job we would do in his place, probably not as good, and remember that pastor is trying to follow the same God as you, just in a different roll), why not get along side of him and partner with him in the same goals. And get to praying with him, make it your goal to get so close so as to know is he truly a man of God or just someone you don’t understand and don’t care to.

  • OK. This sort of works too, but what if the church is the Pastor’s (insert name here)church and it is very clear that in his decision making, the church is being ripped apart? Our family has come along side the Pastor (we’re leaders in the church) and trying to support him. But what if what he’s doing is not in line with what he said he has a vision for? How long do you wait and try to influence before you just give up? He is a man after all, broken like the rest of us. Fallable. I guess I just don’t get where submissiobn to the will of God starts when we’re busy submitting to the will of men. Yeesh, sorry if I sound frustrated.

  • Ask yourself “Is this the church that Jesus died for?” If you come to the conclusion that no its not, maybe possibly you haven’t been part of a church at all. I won’t advise you to leave, or to stay really, i don’t think i’m in that place at all. Talk with your leadership, pray with people that hold you accountable and make a decision, maybe its time to move to a church where you can fully live out the gospel in comunity, maybe its time to start a comunity like that that or maybe you need to just stay for the long transition, God could use you anywhere.

    You have a good heart though, keep that in mind that he is fallable, like the rest of us. He is misguided maybe, and never be afraid to test yourself, sometimes we are misguided in our thougts of others being that way.

    Submission to Christ ALWAYS comes before any submission to men, submission to Christ just usually encompasses much submission to all men.

  • Thank you. We continue to pray about this stuff. Waiting for after Thanksgiving holiday to start the conversation with Pastor. Have truly enjoyed reading your series as well!

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