From time to time, very important issues will arise in relation to beliefs, vision, values, covenants or relationships. Most of these can be fielded by elders within an Area. (NOTE that there will usually be more elders within an area than just those who are currently on the ACT.) We already have a wide range of very good leadership teaching and resources available online and will continue to make them more readily available and easier to find. These videos, papers and podcasts will help elders cope with matters as they arise.
If an issue is likely to have wide-spread impact, or if it is not being addressed well within an ACT, then it could become a matter for leadership attention at a more international level. We might call those “great matters”; similar to what Moses referred to when he distributed authority to leaders of tribes, but told them to bring to him any “difficult issues”.
Who deals with such matters and who can an ACT call upon, or who intervenes if the ACT is not acting responsibly? In this sort of circumstance, more mature elders can be called upon or can take the initiative to call the ACT to account. We have not done away with authority or accountability in our restructuring! Before we go further with the issue of intervention, perhaps we could make a few comments to clarify how authority works beyond the local level or the ACTs.
What we have done away with is positions and titles that make hierarchy organisational and more likely to be ridged. That is why we have begun to use the term “elder”. But that does not mean we have done away with authority beyond the local. In fact, no one can do away with hierarchy and Jesus certainly did not dispense with the idea. You will recall that when a couple of his disciples were arguing about who was the greatest, he didn’t say, “none of you will be greater than the other”; he said “if you wish to be greatest you must be servant of all”.
It is a simple fact that some people have a lot more influence than others. That is hierarchy. As long as that influence is exercised from a servant heart, we all welcome it. In fact, to try to do away with it is to do away with human nature and that can only be done with tyranny. Hierarchy exists because we respect and listen to some people more than others. Therefore, we have elders who are able to act in leadership roles at every level from teams to global issues.
When an Area Circle Team or other leadership group feels they have insufficient “social capital” or authority to deal with an issue they can appeal to elders with more social capital, wisdom and authority. If it is truly a global issue, it might go to someone in the Founders Circle. (See the paper, Who and What is the Founders Circle.) At that point, it is not really the Founders Circle who deal with it, but rather one or more members of the FC acting as elders and supported by prayer from the others in the FC.
So, although the Lord has led us quite clearly to push responsibility and authority out to Area Circle Teams and local leadership, that does not mean there is no authority beyond the local or ACTs.
In the highly unlikely event that the person or group in error still does not respond, then the name of YWAM can be withdrawn from the offending person or body. The name and trademarks of YWAM are held by the original California Corporation. The board of that corporation is comprised of about 7 senior YWAM leaders, some of whom are currently on the FC and some are not.
Occasionally an issue arises when one of our values is being eroded or violated; or there may be a strong sense the God wants us to add a new value. When such an issue arises it is likely to have wide repercussions so some current members or two of the Founders Circle should be asked to help. Again the Founders Circle would pray for them and support them.