In his book Organic Leadership, Neil Cole makes a distinction between delegated authority and distributed authority.
Delegated authority is when you lend authority to others down the chain of command to fulfill your own will. The authority doesn't actually leave the people above; it is simply lent downward.
Distributed authority is when power is given to others without regard to their position. They don't need permission from someone else to have it. They have access to the source itself, rather than simply from the next person above them.
I believe it's critical for authority to sometimes be delegated and at other times to be distributed. Wisdom is not choosing one or the other but knowing where each of these ways of following Jesus needs to show up in the life of Christ Church.
- We believe that authority is delegated in our Sunday gatherings and community groups. The elders are responsible for the oversight of both of those environments.
- We believe that authority is distributed everywhere else in the life of the church. The responsibility of the elders shifts from a position of oversight to a posture of encouragement and equipping.
Understanding the difference between delegated and distributed authority means that you don't need to get a permission slip to love people. Jesus has given you the power and the privilege to help people become family and follow him. Instead of waiting for someone else to make something happen, you can do something right now and know that there are people available to help you when you get stuck.
So what do you want to do? How can you help someone feel like family and follow Jesus? If you get stuck and need help figuring out what this looks like or how to make it happen, our elders and deacons are ready to help you.