Today I was sharing with a friend and community organizer. We talked about some of the issues we've been having at the church in the last few months and she mentioned my "spiritual authority" and asked if anyone in the church had similar authority. I mentioned some prayer warriors and she explained that wasn't what she meant...she meant like in hierarchy or ranking that those who are higher have greater spiritual authority.
I could follow what she was saying, but to be honest the language and idea is pretty foreign to me. In all honesty, spiritual warfare and spiritual authority is not something that came up much in churches growing up. It wasn't really until I was in ministry and working with my spiritual mentor that I began to touch on some of these things. That's only been within the last 4 years.
And while I'm good on some fronts, there are others that are very strange lands to me.
After our discussion this friend prayed for me, something for which I am super grateful. But I also walked away with a lot of questions. Do I have greater authority in spiritual matters than others in my congregation? I would say I have more training, more learning, and often more understanding about the Bible, or prayer, or theology, but power? Do I have more power than another? Does the DS or the Bishop have greater power still? Would my prayers actually be more efficacious in matters pertaining to my church than someone else's? If so, would the converse (or evil side) be true? As in, would the consequences and repercussions for my sins be greater than those of another? (Not that I'm trying to sin, but I have a guilt complex as it is....)
I asked R what his thoughts are (he comes from a more charismatic tradition) and he said I absolutely have more authority at my church as it is a divine appointment--I'm not willy-nilly there (now, I believe God truly placed me here, but I have to admit that the skeptic in me has to wonder about ALL Methodist appointments...I know God uses us regardless, but I am not always convinced that each appointment is THE one God had in mind...) And as such, I have full authority over my flock. Not that they don't have responsibility in praying for the church and the church people, but that somehow I have more spiritual power. Now, he doesn't agree that the DS or bishop have more spiritual authority than others--simply that they are pastors too and would have equal power. And he definitely wasn't ready to jump on board that *Name* has full authority over all of Riverside county.
To be honest, I don't know how to think about all of it. Like I said, it's a new conversation for me. I REALLY want to call my spiritual mentor and get his input and wisdom but he's taking a move this year and I don't want to disturb him, but I might have to send a note for "when there's time".
I don't know, what are your thoughts?