Authority in the Local Church

Nov 28, 2016   //   by Nel Sewraj   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Every saint must understand the chain of command in the local church. It is critical for accurate Kingdom living. In fact, aligning to the authority chain in the church is the antidote for most problems, weaknesses, challenges and disappointments in the life of the Christian.

You may have received Christ as Lord, and you may be a long-standing member of a church. But how is it that you still experience lack, bondage, areas of undoneness, sickness and sin habits in your life? Mere church attendance and religious disciplines are insufficient to sort these out. You require divine authority and power to destroy these cycles of defeat in your life.



God has made His authority available for you within His church. When you connect to His authority structure in the local church you will literally set yourself free for the rest of your life.

The following diagram illustrates how authority flows in God’s Kingdom:

There are different opinions, as there different denominations, about the authority structure of the local church. But the Bible is clear. There is only ONE authority structure in the local church. The senior minister or pastor (the father of the house) is the source of divine authority in the local church. Authority flows from God to the senior pastor. The senior pastor delegates this authority to others (lay-leaders or sons). The following diagram illustrates this dynamic:


Every person has an authority in life that he submits to as a subordinate. And this not by constraint but by conviction. God has created humans to live under His authority (as illustrated above). But when they choose to live under a different rule, they sin and consequently expose themselves to demonic infiltration.

It is imperative for every saint to discover the structure of authority in the church and submit their life, gifts & talents to it before any opportunity for ministry can be made available for them. Why is this protocol proper and necessary? In his book Apostolic Strategies Affecting Nations, Dr Jonathan David says:

A person who has not submitted to the apostolic structure of authority has already violated God’s authority chain and that person is now ministering without a spiritual covering of protection.

When Christians Operate Outside

The Chain of Authority

1. They will override the senior pastor’s authority, vision & burden for the church.

They side-line the divine flow of authority that flows from the senior pastor or spiritual father. Thus they contaminate and confuse the frequency of the house and the rest of the members.


2. They allow the enemy to come into the work of the Lord.

Because they are disconnected from the spiritual father or senior pastor, they are outside his authority & covering. They are subject to “another” rule. That’s why they become an access point to the enemy opening the church to demonic attacks. One must submit to the local church authority when ministering within a local church. Though your giftings and callings carry with them an authority from God, yet you need to be under the authority of the local church pastor to function within the local church that he/ she oversees.


3. They open their own lives and families to demonic attacks.

 Why? Because they choose to be outside “covering” and spiritual protection.

Spiritual covering is a mantle of God’s protection & presence over a person’s life because he is submitted to God’s chain of command & authority. This protects him from demonic attacks, deception and diseases.

(Dr Jonathan David – Apostolic Strategies Affecting Nations)

4. They diminish the strength of their own gifts & ministry.

Christ showed that to have authority one must be under authority (Luke 7:7-8). When saints do not subject themselves to the divine flow of authority, they themselves will lack authority for ministry and personal breakthrough. They will be like fully functional appliances that are unfortunately unplugged. Remember the prodigal; after disconnecting from his father he lost his inheritance, albeit after some time.

The senior pastor is that source of divine authority in the local church. Without submitting to his authority, you do not carry any spiritual authority in your ministry. So every minister & ministry in the local church derives their spiritual authority from the senior pastor. Every ministry or leadership in the house must be delegated by him. The first thing you need in order to function effectively in your ministry is to receive the senior pastor and his headship authority over your life. Proper relating and living in accountability to him is the key. Your gifts, grace and ministry must assist the spiritual father fulfill God’s call and vision in his life.


5. They become victims of their environment (& negative experiences).

In Genesis 35:16-18 Rachel, agonizing in the aftermath of labour pains, names her son “Benoni” which means “son of my sorrow”. The child became a victim of negative circumstances. Rachel’s husband, Jacob, was away on a journey. However upon his return, Jacob reversed this curse upon the child when he renamed his son “Benjamin” which means “son of my right hand”. In the same token, spiritual fathers have the grace and authority to reverse adversity in the lives of the saints.

The book of 1 Corinthians introduces us to a church that became a victim of its environment. Corinth was a major first century city in Greece. It was known for its moral corruption.The church at Corinth faced numerous problems because of the culture with which it had to contend. Consider the fornication (5:1), the infighting & factionalism (3:3-4), the spiritual immaturity and  worldliness (3:1), the carnality and selfishness (11:17), the abuse of spiritual gifts (12 & 14) and so on. But a closer look at the Corinthian Church reveals that the real problem of the church was fatherlessness. This church had a problem when it came to connecting and relating to the one who begot them, Paul (1 Cor. 4:14-17). They failed to recognize the grace and authority that Paul carried for their lives.

6. They cut short the wealth and increase due to them.

 Lot prospered as long as he stayed connected and related to Abraham. The prodigal son had more than enough as long as he operated within his father’s house and estate. In the same way your accurate connection to spiritual grace carriers has the potential to unlock wealth increase and financial resources in your life.

Deut.8:18 says:

But you shall remember the LORD your God: for it is he that gives you power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he swore to your fathers.


The reason God gives you the power to get wealth is so that He can continue the covenant he swore to your father. Unfortunately many Christians are fatherless. This is one of the reason why many in the church are in financial dire straits.


7. They squander their grace and forfeit their destiny.

Spiritual fathers have the ability to consolidate your grace and accelerate your destiny. They enable you to go further. It is said that Elijah did 16 miracles while Elisha did 32. David took weak and distressed men under his wing, and as they remained connected to David they evolved into mighty men. The senior pastor in the church carries the same grace from God. He is the coach and catalyst you need to accelerate towards your God-given destiny.  However when you despise those in authority in the local church and you downplay their significance in your life, you derail your life and remove yourself from purpose.

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