Forgiveness or Permission?

It’s never better to ask forgiveness than permission. It’s usually the last resort of the desperate—something we do when what we want to accomplish means more to us than our integrity or relationships. That doesn’t mean I don’t understand it. I’ve been there…many, many times. I’ve just never found in my experience, or that of my colleagues, going ahead and doing something you know those to whom you’re accountable wouldn’t approve of helps one’s cause in the long run. I have seen it set back trust immensely between colleagues and leadership teams, though. Permission getters earn the trust of permission givers by not surprising them and doing commendable ministry.

However, here’s something for the “permission givers” out there to ponder: Why would they need my permission for what they just did? Or, what culture have we created that would create such desperation to get something done no matter what the cost? Are we that rigid? Permission givers should strive to give permission to do all sorts of things without being asked. When asked, the default answer should be set to “Yes,” not, “No.” Permission getters come to trust permission givers that way.

Yes, trust needs to work both ways for your church to function well.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Pastor of New Vintage Church in Escondido, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on numerous websites, including:, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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