I don’t believe authority figures in the kingdom are supposed to act authoritative with towards other people. All through the bible you see Jesus commending people to be servants, to consider others better than themselves and to put themselves at the end of the line. There is no reason anyone should assume that there should be some kind of structural hierarchal authority structure in the church where there is bosses and all this authority bossing around going on.
I thought I would do a little bit of studying on some of the usual verses that are thrown around as to why we need to obey authority. In Hebrews 13:17 it says “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.” The word obey here in the Greek is peitho. This word doesn’t mean what the English dictionary says meaning to ‘carry out or to fulfill the order of.” Peitho out of a Greek Lexicon means: (I bolded some that i thought stuck out).
a) to persuade, i.e. to induce one by words to believe
b) to make friends of, to win one’s favour, gain one’s good will, or to seek to win one, strive to please one
c) to tranquillise
d) to persuade unto i.e. move or induce one to persuasion to do something
2) be persuaded
a) to be persuaded, to suffer one’s self to be persuaded; to be induced to believe: to have faith: in a thing
1) to believe
2) to be persuaded of a thing concerning a person
b) to listen to, obey, yield to, comply with
3) to trust, have confidence, be confident
Now I’ve said for a long time that influence over authority is the way to go. I’ve heard messages on showing how Jesus lived a life of influence over others and wasn’t just telling them what to do. I love these definitions though, and the author of Hebrews was on to something when he was telling his readers to peitho those that have rule over them.
This word ‘obey,’ takes on completely to meaning all of sudden. It puts responsibility not just in the person who needs to do the obeying, but in the person who is being obeyed. They need to live a life worth believing about. They need to live a persuasive life; they need to be trustworthy. It is up to the one with ‘rule’ to live a influencing, persuasive life. A persuasive life doesn’t need to demand anything, they don’t need to tell people what to do and boss people around. All they need to do is be a leader, lead by example and live a life worth following.
Authority in the Kingdom doesn’t come by authoritative measures. Authority comes from influence, persuasiveness and trustworthiness. If you have to demand followers, or convince someone to follow you; my guess is that you should switch tactics and start worrying more about living the kind of life that influence people to become better people not by spiritually handcuffing them into submission.