Leadership strife can often be empowered by unclear boundaries of responsibility and authority.
Someone accused Paul of overstepping his boundaries of authority. He responded by clarifying boundaries:
We stayed within our “boundaries” ‒ translated from the Greek word: “metron.”
Metron refers to a “measure or limited portion.”
For example, a farmer’s metron includes his or her own fields. He has authority to decide what to plant in his fields, but doesn’t have authority to decide what to plant in another farmer’s fields, or metron.
Read Paul’s statement below, with the English word replaced by metron wherever it occurs:
We, however, will not boast beyond metron, but within the metron of the sphere which God appointed us ‒ a metron which especially includes you. For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you) … not boasting of things beyond metron, that is, in other men’s labors … 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. (2 Corinthians 10:13-16 NKJV)
What principles of authority does Paul imply in this passage?
- God had given him a metron, or sphere of authority, and he understood exactly what that area was.
- It was right to take responsibility within that metron.
- It was wrong to take responsibility within someone else’s metron.
We’re not to “think of ourselves more highly than we ought, because God has given everyone “the measure [metron] of faith,” and we’re to stay within our own measure. “We have many members … but all the members do not have the same function …” (Rom 12:2-4). Christ delegates to us the authority to follow His call within our own metron, but not outside those boundaries.
We can help avoid misunderstandings, and enable Christ’s peace to reign in our leadership teams (families/ ministries) by clarifying metrons of authority and responsibility.
- First, understand and take responsibility for the metron God’s given you.
‒ What are your areas of responsibility/authority at home, work or ministry?
‒ Do you clearly understand your responsibilities and walk in the authority given to you in those areas? For example, if you’re head of the small group’s ministry, and one group leader is cancelling his group most weeks, you can’t just “let it go.” You need to take responsibility to handle the situation as you discern Christ’s wisdom.
‒ What areas of responsibility do not belong to you because you delegated them to others? Do you honor those people in the authority of their delegated roles?
- Stay within your own metron, i.e., don’t micromanage or overstep boundaries.
‒ For example, If you’re organizer for a conference, and you delegate to Sally the responsibility of meal planning, you can’t go in and change the chosen menu without first honoring Sally’s direction.
‒ Needless to say, only delegate responsibility/authority to someone you trust, and/or spell out specific expectations and boundaries beforehand.
- When conflict arises on your team, check to make sure the metrons are clear and honored.
Taking these steps to clarify metron can avoid misunderstandings and confusion, making resolution less difficult and discernment more clear.