Two of the biggest needs in the church today is for a clear understanding of both Protocol & Delegated Authority. Much of what occurs in our Meetings, Fellowships, Networks, and Churches lacks proper Biblically Balanced Submission and is clearly out of order because of these foundations are not understood.
Let me first deal with Protocol. Webster defines Protocol as: "A system of rules that explain the correct conduct and procedures to be followed in formal situations." I teach about Protocol quite often when teaching on Prophetic Ministry. Every church or ministry has their own Protocol. There are general Biblical guidelines for how things are supposed to function and operate…but not specifics. Each church or ministry Set-Man or Set-Woman must determine what the rules of correct conduct and procedures will be for the work they are set over.
It is up to all the followers to play the game we played as kids in school: “Follow The Leader”. Quite often, folks get used to a Protocol in the house where they fellowship on a regular basis. Then they go visit another work that has a different Protocol. If said person begins to operate the way they do in the ministry they normally attend in the other work with the different Protocol; then they are out of order because they are not submitting to the Protocol of that house they are currently in.
It does not matter what you normally do, it is your job to submit to the house you are in and follow the Protocol that has been set out by the Set-Man or Set-Woman. You also cannot get upset at another Man or Woman of God if they have a different Protocol to the one you are used to. If we understood this we would have less folks out of order and less folks with their nose bent out of shape. (I hope you understand my expression)
Now let me deal with Delegated Authority. The Free Dictionary defines Delegated Authority as: "The action by which a commander assigns part of his or her authority commensurate with the assigned task to a subordinate commander. While ultimate responsibility cannot be relinquished, delegation of authority carries with it the imposition of a measure of responsibility. The extent of the authority delegated must be clearly stated." The church totally operates by this principle.
Jesus is the Head of the Church and as such is the Final Authority and ultimate holder of authority. He delegates or gives a measure or a part of His authority to a Set-Man or Set-Woman in a church or ministry. Then that Set-Man or Set-Woman in turn will delegate authority to various staff members, department heads, and leaders. Closely related to Delegated Authority is the understanding of Spheres of Authority. Allow me to illustrate the difference between the two from my life and my role as a Set-Man in a local fellowship.
My Mother and Father who are both Apostles, happen to be members of the local fellowship that I am the Set-Man of, it is their home church when they are not out on the road ministering. When we are not in church, they are Mom & Dad and I submit to their authority as both my Natural and Spiritual Parents. But once we come into the church, they tell everyone that Michael is the Set-Man and what he says goes. In fact, this past Sunday morning when my Dad spoke he got up and said the boss said to speak now and that we would do the announcements and offering after he spoke. He said this because I whispered to him to go and speak now. Now they are still my parents, but in the church, they are submitted to my sphere of Authority as the Set-Man.
Now let me contrast that with Delegate Authority. In the church that I am Set-Man of, I have an Associate Minister who I have been friends with for some 25 or so years. He is really the one with the Pastor’s Heart and is the most gifted Psalmist I have ever met. When I turn a service over to him to either speak or lead worship, I am no longer in authority because I have Delegated my Authority to him. Once he is exercising that Delegated Authority, if someone wants to share or say something, they need to go to Pastor Mike, not to me, because he is operating in authority at that moment. Both Spheres of Authority and Delegated Authority are critical for us to understand and walk in.
If we could get these simple things right…oh how much better things would flow. Imagine how much less strife we would have in Ecclesia if these things were understood and practiced. Let us make this our goal that we understand and walk in Protocol and Delegated Authority.