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Spirit Empowered Ministry

When it comes to leadership a lot of attention is given to strategies and principles. There are literally hundreds of books written about how to lead more strategically.  You’d be hard pressed, however, to find many good books about Spirit-empowered leadership and ministry.

Such a neglect of the Spirit in ministry would have been entirely foreign to first century believers. I don’t think they would have disagreed with the importance of strategies and planning, but they would have always subjected their strategies and plans to the influence and direction of the Holy Spirit. The first Christians understood that no strategy would ever be enough to turn someone’s heart toward Jesus or to overcome a person’s resistance to God. They knew that only the Holy Spirit could do that.

The Spirit Trumps Strategy

The Lord’s final instructions before ascending into the heavens was for his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they had received power from on high. (Acts 1:8) At this point Jesus has already been crucified for the sins of the world, buried and resurrected.  He’s given his followers their disciple-making strategy, their leadership lessons and the essential truths they would need to teach new converts.  Even with all of this good teaching Jesus knew that his disciples lacked one thing, power.

The disciples weren’t short on strategies and principles, they were short on the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. These would-be world-changers had learned all the best disciple-making techniques from the best disciple-maker that ever lived and they still needed something more. Certainly leadership strategies, disciple-making methods and ministry techniques are important (Jesus had them), but that doesn’t mean they’re enough to actually get the job done. We need the Holy Spirit for that.

Power From On High

Shortly after Christ’s ascension, the disciples did what they were told.  While prayerfully waiting for what Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit descended from heaven, rested upon each of the disciples and then empowered them to preach the gospel with great effectiveness.  Their preaching was so powerful that 3,000 people became disciples that day. (Acts 2)

Image via hopesingapore.org

Image via hopesingapore.org

Throughout the rest of Acts, the Holy Spirit works in and with the early Christians to make converts, establish churches and fulfill the Great Commission. Their ministry had both strategy and power.  The results were nothing short of world-changing. (Acts 17:6)

Imagine a military vehicle rigged with all of the latest technologies.  It’s got the most comprehensive GPS system, a top-of-the-line radio, the best off-road tires a person can buy and plenty of artillery.  This vehicle might have all the potential in the world, but if its tank isn’t filled with gas it will be significantly limited in its effectiveness.

In the same way, we can have all the right doctrine, the best apologetics, world class leadership techniques and the most simplified disciple-making strategy, but if we aren’t filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit we won’t be accomplishing much. We need power for ministry, not just equipment for ministry.

Extraordinary Power for Ordinary People

The difference between a Spirit-empowered leader and one who is not is the both the effectiveness of his ministry and the orientation of his heart, the latter leading to the former. With his death and resurrection Jesus not only gave believers access to the Father, he also gave them access to the Spirit.  Christ followers not only have power to know God through Jesus, we also have power to make him known through the Holy Spirit.

If we want to have truly effective ministry, then we must be empowered by the Holy Spirit.  Like a military vehicle, it’s not enough to have all the right equipment, we also need to be filled with gas. Practically speaking, this means that the effective minister plans, prepares and strategizes to position himself to be used by the Holy Spirit, but that in his heart he completely relies on the Holy Spirit to do work in peoples lives. Don’t hinder your disciple-making efforts with self-reliance.  Daily ask the Holy Spirit to empower you for effective ministry.

For more on the Holy Spirit check out this series of videos from the Living Hope Church- Maryville Campus. 

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  1. October 20, 2014 at 8:22 AM

    Reblogged this on thechristianrant and commented:
    What an awesome Blog, the detail of not just principles but the scripture and text behind it to back up the understanding and instruction. Read this Blog definitely a individual after pleasing God…no ego all spirit

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