#339 Serving with Authority: Release It

December 7, 2022

Serving leaders don’t keep authority, they release it! They follow the example of Jesus whose final words were about authority.   

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20, NIV).

 Jesus was able to say truthfully, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”  But as soon as He said these words, He released His authority to the disciples. As He released authority, He provided a powerful example for all serving leaders.

Releasing authority implies trust.     

For Jesus to release His authority to this small group of people implied a deep trust in them and in His own investment in their lives. We are certainly aware of the weaknesses and failures of this team. Jesus did not overlook their faults. Yet, He trusted them to carry out His mission in the world. Some leaders see their authority as something to be leveraged but not released. They insist on doing all the work themselves. They don’t invest in the growth and maturity of their team. They expect perfection in their followers before releasing authority. But serving leaders begin with the desire to release authority as quickly and fully as appropriate. They look for opportunities to help their team grow up and assume more and more responsibility. They expect some mistakes along the way and address failures. But they serve by trusting those they lead. They see potential and desire to see that potential developed and released.  Serving leaders serve by trusting those they lead.

Releasing authority involves includes accountability.  

Although Jesus spoke these words as He was leaving the earth, He also reminded the disciples “I am with you always…” This was both a comforting presence as well as a reminder that while His authority was released, there was also accountability built into that release. They were expected to go and “make disciples…baptizing…teaching.”  Jesus did not release authority for them to do whatever they wished. He provided clear instructions and would hold them accountable. Some leaders release authority with no accountability and see this as the highest level of trust. But serving leaders include accountability as they release authority. They make clear the expectations of what authority is being given and what accountability is expected. They serve by releasing authority but including accountability.    

Releasing authority insures multiplication.  

The way Jesus released authority made it possible for His followers to “go and make disciples of all nations.” He built multiplication into his delegation. Some leaders work harder to grow their organization. But serving leaders ensure growth and multiplication by releasing authority to those they lead. They recognize that if they insist on doing all the work, all the work will never be done. Serving leaders insure multiplication by releasing authority.

For further reflection and discussion:

  • What level of trust do I have in the key leaders on my team? What do I do to demonstrate my belief in them? Am I able to delegate authority as quickly as possible to those I lead?
  • When I delegate authority do I clarify what level of accountability is also expected? Do I appropriately adjust the levels of accountability as my team members grow and mature?
  • Does my leadership provide maximum multiplication potential for my organization? In what ways am I leading to encourage growth and multiplication of leadership roles?
  • Reflect on this series on authority (issues 336-339). In what way can I share these principles with those I lead? Click here to download a PDF of the entire series.

Until next time, yours on the journey,

Jon Byler In the next issue, we’ll reflect on the Christmas season.