Scope of Authority for a YWAM Leader

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A working document flowing from a discussion here in Brussels.

Disclaimer - under heavy editing!

I cut and pasted this directly from the forwarded email and tidied it as I could. It is hard to understand the exact context of this. I have not heard Stephe Mayers teach this though, although it looks like it is in the LDC training manual! I will ask Stephe for some more on this!



Page 24 of Team Leadership: "4. Senior/Elder leadership team. As a ministry grows those who were leading bases and ministries will pass on the responsibility and no longer be in line leadership. However these leaders are (hopefully) mature, experienced and have much to give to the work and mission. Therefore it can be useful to establish a team that functions more with influence rather than being involved in line leadership decision making. They will be praying for the work, hearing God prophetically, often have opportunity of ministry to the staff, be mentors, spiritual fathers and mothers and be available to help process major decisions and changes as necessary."

Page 27 of Team Leadership:  Leadership team authority. Where there is a leadership team over a base or nation, it is important to know the job responsibility and authority of the team. It is important to have clarity when the leader is away on what matters can be decided and what should be kept for his or her return. It is also important to establish great and small matters in the relationship with a legal board and national YWAM leadership team compared with a base leadership team. The following chart is an example of what kind of decisions could be made when the main leader is away.

Example of Small Matters Great Matters (NATIONAL/REGIONAL/ELDERSHIP TEAM)
Day to day decisions New policy
Decisions within set policies New property
Alteration of schedules Expenditure over a certain limit
Development of curriculum Staff or student discipline
Formation of staff Immorality or major sin
Communication internal and external Appointment of leadership
Networking in the nation New ministry development
Development of systems Closing down a ministry

Page 38 of Team Leadership:  An eldership, influence team job description could look something like this:

  • provide an opportunity to intercede for the nation and the mission
  • create a platform for the prophetic to be shared and processed
  • seek God for the work, praying for the overall ministry, leaders and staff
  • guard the values of YWAM, keeping a critical eye on development
  • have an advisory capacity to the line leadership team in terms of visionary planning and problem solving
  • provide pastoral support, take on mentoring or coaching roles, leadership development and fathering to the work
  • give spiritual leadership through availability for ministry in staff meetings, leadership meetings and national networks
  • each member to function in their own specialised area of ministry

Authority Scope – BASE LEADERSHIP

Authority to direct the work of YWAM in Brussels:

Whatever is needed to do the job well and properly.

This usually includes recruiting, dismissals, initiating projects in local area (inform national leader or other local leadership when working outside of general area), partnering with other organisations, partnering internationally with YWAM, managing finances etc.

This is informed by:

  • The Word of God.
  • Act according and in agreement with the values of YWAM (The four basic documents of Youth With A Mission are The Foundational Values of Youth With A Mission, The Manila Covenant, The Christian Magna Carta and The Nanning Covenant)
  • Act according to best practice understood at the base, national and regional level (this is an ongoing process as best practice is constantly being improved)
  • Act within scope of national YWAM policies and values


  • To engage with YWAM at the National level as fully as possible. To act in a "joined up" way - a healthy synergy and interdependace with the rest of YWAM in Beglium (and WE)
  • To network at the regional level (at least) in YWAM
  • To communicate in a timely fashion YWAM National and International news and to keep a vital connection to the international YWAM movement (regionally and outwards)
  • To keep the National leader/leadership team informed and consult frequently. In particular in boundary areas (e.g between Brussels and Flanders/Wallonia/Other National works.)


  • With prolonged conflict and/or need of reconciliation then help should be requested (by either party) at the next level up.
  • Generally in YWAM we consult and seek approval for senior leadership appointments one level up.
  • For permission to take on financial liabilities of > 1000 (or liquidate assets of > 1000 or very large gifts. The board may well need to be asked: see YWAM Board and Great Matters)
  • Reporting immediately and/or consulting early on on Great Matters such as Legal issues, Press issues, staff immorality, financial malpractice, criminal actions, child protection issues, difficult issues that lead to dismissal etc.

Local Legal Framework

YWAM Belgium is a legal entity (a VZW). This brings an extra interplay between the operatins as YWAM and operations as a VZW. This is not be too burdensome as these issues do not arise on a weekly basis.

  1. Permission is required from the board to initiate legal proceedings
  2. Permission is required from board member to seek a visa for a new staff
  3. Permission is required to request certain financial tools (bank accounts) or to sign certain contracts/permits of Ubanisation etc.
  4. Permission is required to sign a contract of employment to employ someone
  5. Permission to be a delegée/agent to act with the permission of the ASBL (say if a project was agreed but the board needn't directly manage it) needed

(Note: In the case of 2, 3, and 4 above if the base leader is a member of the board then they can act anyway.)

email discussion

Yes leadership and authority is an important topic. One of the things we have to be careful of is the fact that if we use our line authority, it diminishes! I mean if there is no relationship and issues are not talked through with an ownership of decision making resulting, we end up using up some of our trust to push something through. I dont feel too happy about being too detailed about the levels of authority of one over the other in all kinds of situations - we end up with a very thick manual. I think Ywam england did this some years ago but we ywammers arent good at looking at manuals at the best of time anyway, so it might be a lot of wasted time.

My thought is what i have said below, with the idea of great and small matters and keeping the list pretty small. Then anything inbetween if there is relationship there we can talk to one another when we go over the boundary one way or the other and get it right. the problem is that different personalities tend to either go right up to the boundary or slightly over, others hold way back from the boundary. So whatever you come up with doesnt work for everyone.

we often do a practical workshop on authority - i have included it below. The problem usually lies in what kind of authority they are using as well as the insecurities they are dealing with in their lives. If they are focusing on personal charisma to push something through, or position because I am the leader, then we get into trouble. i always encourage young leaders to work on humility - i think thats the best policy. We just have to make sure they can clearly see it in us, if we share with them!!