Types of Authority

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A leader has been defined as a person who influences people to accomplish the purposes of God. The degree of influence we have is greatly affected by the degree of authority we have in our lives. So we should ask ourselves... how much authority do I have to influence others for God?

But what is authority? And how do I increase my authority, and therefore, my influence?

Authority can be defined as
"the right to decide and take action; to influence."

But Jesus taught us that authority in the Kingdom of God is exercised differently than in the world. Read Mark 10:42-45.

However, people can choose whether to follow a leader or not. So, the essence of authority is what a follower recognises in a leader and gives him or her legitimate reason to follow.

Six types of authority

Six types of authority can be identified:

Types of Authority Basis of Authority Scriptures
Based on an organisational relationship to the follower--appointed to a position of authority
Based on the individual's competence, skill and experience in the relevant areas.
Based on the individual's personal characteristics: personality, appearance, charisma, etc.
Based on the individual's quality of character: trustworthiness and harmony of living and believing – Christ-likeness.
Based on the individual's relationship and experience with God, and God's power working through that individual
Based on the individual's relationship skills and ability to influence and work with others


  1. Which of the six types of authority above do you look for most in a leader over you?
  2. What are the most important characteristics of a servant leader? Mk 10:42-45
  3. When you lead a group of people what do you think they recognise in you that influences them to follow you? What is the basis of authority in your life?
  4. In what ways do you need to grow in order for you to have more authority?
  5. Discuss your responses with a small group and pray for each other.