Wednesday, January 25, 2012
A BIG Difference
As a pastor, I have authority in my community. But authority is not really what I want. What I really want is influence.I really agree with this - but then I am a highly literate American with my own leadership capabilities. Many people crave someone to exercise authority over their lives.
Authority is the ability to get people to do what I think they should do. Influence, however, is the ability to move people to want to do what they need to do.
I’ve come to realize something about the difference between my pastoral authority and my pastoral influence. When I get to a place where I have to lean on authority, because my influence just won’t get the job done, I’ve probably already lost. I may be able to get what I’m after by saying “Because I’m the pastor!” or using phrases like “executive decision” and so win that particular battle. But I’m almost certainly losing the war for maturity, for the strengthening of others in my community, and in my own soul.
Not to mention submitting to authority is a large part of learning humility - something each and every one of us needs to learn more and more each day.
No one has more authority than God and He used that authority to die for us.
It's not that authority is bad - it's how we use authority that matters. It's that we earn authority as opposed to demand it. It's that as gain authority we also submit to higher authority.
Some people need someone to tell them what to do. Some people need to be enticed to do something. Some people need to be accompanied on some task. Each of those is an exercise of authority and leadership. Each of those should be exercised not in what will "get the job done," but in what will help the person we are dealing with take one step closer to having their own humble authority.
And that in fact describes the real authority in such a relationship. When you are leading someone are you submitted to them?