So often the conflicts we find in leadership have to do with people not understanding the limits of their responsibility or authority. Prevent some conflict by taking some precautions…
Someone accused Paul of overstepping his authority. His response? We stayed within our boundaries.
Read his statement below. The highlighted words translated from the Greek word metron:
We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us–a sphere which especially includes you. For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment. - II Corinthians 10:13-16 (NKJV)
metron: measure, limited portion, degree (especially that which is measured by a vessel)
Paul’s implied principle of authority?
- First, God had given him a metron, or measure (sphere) of authority, and he understood exactly what that area was.
- Second, it was right to take responsibility within the metron God had given.
- And third, it was wrong to take responsibility within someone else’s metron.
God has given everyone “the measure [metron] of faith” (Romans 12:3). Christ holds us responsible to take authority within our metrons, but not outside those boundaries.
- First, understand what metron God’s given me.
What are my areas of responsibility/authority at home, work, ministry, and personal life? Do I clearly understand my responsibilities and walk in the authority given me in those areas? If I’m a parent, for example, do I understand the appropriate authority God’s given me in my child’s life, and what areas He’s given to my child to handle?
- Second, take responsibility and walk in authority within the metrons God has given me.
If I’m head of the small groups ministry, and one group leader is cancelling their group most weeks, I can’t just “let it go.” I need to take responsibility to handle the situation (appropriately with His love, truth, and direction of course).
- Lastly, don’t take responsibility/authority in someone else’s metron.
Not only do I understand my own metron, but I also know and respect that of others. If I’m organizer for a conference, and I’ve delegated to Sally the responsibility of meal planning, I can’t discuss the chosen menu with someone else and change it myself. I’ve just violated Sally’s metron. Needless to say, I should only delegate responsibility/authority to someone I trust, and/or spell out specific expectations and boundaries before hand.
For more on metron and authority, see:
Keith’s book, Healthy Leaders
Keith’s MP3 series, Healthy Leadership (metron explained in session #4)
I Corinthians 10:8-18; Romans 12:3; Ephesians 4:13-16
- Patricia Tillman