4 Essential Ways the Pastoral Leader Should Rely on the Holy Spirit in Church Revitalization and Realignment

Photo by Daniel McCullough on Unsplash.
Since 2018, I have tried to hold events for small churches as a way of being a continuous conversation with resources and events to encourage, equip, and empower regional church communities and leaders. Through our conversations, events, studies, and small groups - I have come to believe that any pastoral leader called to do the work of church revitalization and realignment needs the Holy Spirit leading the way. Additionally, despite the Holy Spirit, the leader can only lead as far as the church community is willing to go. 

As a pastor working towards church revitalization, I know that the role of the Holy Spirit is vital to the success of ministry. Without the guidance, support, and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, your efforts may fall short or even fail altogether.

Let us not lose sight that the scriptures reveal to us that it is the Holy Spirit that is the source of all spiritual power and revelation. The Holy Spirit is God's rule and reign, God's power and presence. It is the authority by which God's best and righting of wrongs, breaks into the present moment. As we seek to lead our congregations through difficult times, realigning them to greater mission and evangelism, or looking to just reinvigorate their faith, we will need the Holy Spirit to empower our preaching and teaching, our methods and practices. The Spirit of God brings about God's wisdom in a way that will help us discern what God is doing, and not doing - and what transformative needs to be communicated and how to communicate it effectively.

I think that there are four essential ways the pastoral leader(s) in a church context should rely on the Holy Spirit in the calling and work of church revitalization and realignment.

  1. The pastoral leader must rely on the Holy Spirit when it comes to discernment. A pastoral leader should depend on the Holy Spirit for discernment, to understand what needs revitalizing in the church and what direction the church needs to take. The Holy Spirit can help the leader to discern the spiritual needs of the people and guide them in the right direction. A pastoral leader should depend on the Holy Spirit to reveal the hidden problems and issues in the church. The Holy Spirit can reveal the root causes of problems that may not be visible on the surface, and help the leader to address them effectively.

  2. The pastoral leader must rely on the Holy Spirit as the sole mover of transformation in the lives and church community. The Holy Spirit is the agent of transformation. A pastoral leader should depend on the Holy Spirit to transform the lives of the people in the church. Only the Holy Spirit can bring about true, lasting change in the hearts and minds of people.

  3. The pastoral leader must rely on the Holy Spirit for their own development of character, calling, capacity, competency, capability, and commitment. Pastoral leaders should seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to cultivate their personal traits, fulfill their calling, hone their skills, increase their knowledge, and strengthen their dedication. Only by relying on the Holy Spirit can the pastoral leader fulfill their potential and serve their congregation with humility, compassion, and grace.

  4. The pastoral leader must rely on the Holy Spirit to empower others and the church community beyond their current capacity. A pastoral leader should depend on the Holy Spirit for empowerment, to carry out the work of church revitalization. The Holy Spirit can provide the leader with the strength, wisdom, and guidance needed to overcome obstacles and lead the church toward its goals.

One final note, only take comfort from God is speaking into your identity through the Holy Spirit. Never let failure or success guide you, nor let it provide identity or comfort for you. The Holy Spirit must be allowed to solely provide comfort and guidance as you face challenging situations. Church revitalization is not an easy task, and you may encounter resistance or opposition (most likely you will). But the Holy Spirit will give you the peace, strength, and direction you need to navigate these obstacles.

In conclusion, the Holy Spirit plays a crucial role in the life of a pastor working towards church revitalization. Relying on the guidance, comfort, and wisdom the Spirit of God brings, you can lead your congregation through this difficult process with confidence, knowing that God is working powerfully behind the scenes.

It is essential we start, maintain, and finish our work with the same prayer, "Come, Holy Spirit..."

Where have you found this true in your work?

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