Our experience of the Church today is informed by the Spiritual Authority God appoints. Authority is one of the great gifts God has given the Church, and it is also one of the things many of us struggle against.
A number of years ago I taught a leadership class for our college ministry. Working with college students I found that many struggled with the concept of authority – so I crafted 3 basic points to help them better understand Authority:
- God is the Author of Life – the world was originally formless and void (Genesis 1:2) and God decided to create something out of nothing. God is the creator, the originator of life. There is a Latin word that is synonymous with the idea of creator – “Auctor” – and it is where we get the word “Author.” When we read the beginning of the Bible we see that God is the Author of Life.
- The Author of Life works through People – to make Himself known God chooses to work through people. Remember the story of Moses and the burning bush in Exodus 3? God sends Moses and says, “tell them ‘I AM has sent you.” He works through human hands. All throughout the Old Testament we see a pattern emerge – God picks a person to work through. God works through people by allowing us to leverage two divine things: His Purpose and His Power. He literally gives individuals power to command, make decisions…He gives them authority – the power to act on behalf of the author. To be in authority means to carry power and responsibility given by the author.
- God uses those with Authority to raise up others – Through God’s Holy Spirit, He has given us the ability to carry spiritual authority and ministry weight for the Kingdom. Additionally He has given those in authority the ability to raise up others. One of the best examples of thing is found in Acts 7 where the disciples have authority and they give authority to 7 men “full of the Spirit” to help carry the ministry weight. Later on in the New Testament we see people like Paul and Timothy raised up to authority by those in authority.
Why is this important to us in the world of volunteers? Three statements to remember:
- God is the Author of Life – no matter how much influence or authority I have, remember it all came from Him.
- God works through people by allowing them to leverage His Purpose and Power, so it matters that I stay connected to Him.