Most business organisations are authority organisations. The Roman army was the epitome of an authority organisation. The centurion that came to Jesus understood this well. He could tell a soldier what to do and he would follow the instruction without question (Matt 8:8-9). He knew that if he disobeyed his commanding officer, he was dead.
In a business organisation, the directives of the CEO are followed without question. A few people may ignore the wishes of the CEO and do their own thing, but they will not last long in the business.
In an authority organisation, it is normal for the people to implement the directives of the CEO. He may delegate some decisions, but these will always be made within the policy boundaries that he has already established.
An authority organisation is very efficient at getting things done, because everyone in it is on the same page.
The church is a relationship organisation. Members are commanded to love one another. They are required to submit to each other. The only authority comes from the outside, from Jesus, through the Holy Spirit.
No member of the church has authority to tell others what to do. If elders want other people to do something, they must persuade them. For example, Paul wrote letters that gave advice to many people, but they were free to ignore it, and sometime did. He often suggested things that other leaders should do, but he did not have authority to make them do what he wanted. The people that Paul wrote to trusted him, because he had watched over them when they were young Christians. They respected his wisdom, so they took his words seriously. However, Paul never controlled anyone else in the church.
A relationship organisation finds it much harder to get things done, however that does not matter, as getting things done is not the primary objective, because loving one another has eternal significance.
Thursday, August 16, 2012