About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetmam

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Authoritative Freedom Within Community Accountability   


The term "authoritative freedom" is in reference to the process whereby one who has been authorized to accomplish a task is free to administrate the details of the task without being micro-managed by the one who authorized the task.  The term "accountability" means that the one authorized to freely perform the task is answerable to the one who authorized him or her to accomplish the task.  The word "community" implies a body of people existing in supportive and functional relationships whereby one who authorizes the completion of a task and the one given the authority to freely facilitate the task exist in an ongoing supportive and functional relationship. 


1 Corinthians 12 describes the community of people belonging to Jesus as the present-day Body of Christ.  Paul, therefore, compared the church community to the human body.  Despite the fact that you may need to flatten some of your curves, think about your body. 


Your body is a community of body parts that were designed to support each other as each part functions with other parts to maintain a productive healthy body.  Each body part has its unique responsibility to perform on its own, and, also in conjunction with other body parts.  That being the case, it could be said that each body part exists in a kind of relational accountability with other body parts as it performs its unique task as it is meant to do, and if not, the body would suffer.            


In like fashion, in the church, each believer is a unique functioning body part, and thus, exercises his or her ministry responsibility on his or her own, and, also in conjunction with those to whom he or she has been placed alongside in Christ's body.  That being the case, each believer exercises his or her ministry responsibility with authoritative freedom as he or she exists in relational accountability with those to whom he or she has been called alongside, and if not, the church will suffer.   


This isn't complicated, but it seems difficult to implement in our western-world, highly individualistic, and non-participatory, church.  Some like the authoritative freedom but dislike being accountable for the way they exercise their freedom.  Others like to be micro-managed because they don't want the responsibility to work out the ministry details.  Still others simply sit in pews and lazily let the rest of us do the work of ministry.  None of these is Biblical.  Authoritative freedom within community accountability is basic to the nature of Biblical church.   


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