I enjoy training for disciple-making movements. Every time I either facilitate or attend a training, the Holy Spirit speaks. He speaks to me at other times too. He’s shared many themes with me over the years. At our recent training in April, He didn’t mince words.
I noted two things He mentioned as we looked at Paul’s journeys. I just filed them in my heart for later thought and went to bed. Then somehow when I woke up, clarity came. Paul experienced the Holy Spirit speaking to set he and Barnabas apart for their missionary journeys (although they didn’t know it at the time). The Spirit then stitched this passage to Acts 20:28, “the Holy Spirit has made you overseers,” completing the idea and referring to Paul’s perspective. Paul worked out of how he experienced life with the Spirit. Paul experienced the Spirit appointing him in Acts 13:2, and that formed a pattern he followed in recognizing leaders wherever he went in starting communities of Christ-followers. He looked for people’s responsiveness to the Spirit’s influence.
As the morning continued, that word sunk deep into my soul. We don’t appoint. The Spirit does. We recognize leaders because the Spirit has set them apart already. This pattern reflected Acts 6:3 as the apostles looked to recognize additional leaders, “full of the Spirit.” Surrender and familiarity with the Spirit and His ways signal a potential leader.
What struck me most concerned the fact that depth of interactive life with God held more significance than any qualification. Relationship and responsiveness to God take center stage. I had to ask myself, how familiar am I with how the Spirit leads or interacts with me? How well does my life reflect the Spirit’s fruit in both character and witness? How does the aroma of my life reflect the fragrance of His love? What causes me to notice His leading? Where do I resist? Why? How intuitively do I respond to His promptings?
The Spirit speaks. I now wonder how well I listen. Yet the Spirit encourages me, whenever you think you hear Me, just step into it. Even if it is a misstep, my presence and love continue to embrace you. Expect Me to speak and lead. Jesus did. Paul did. They led others. As you listen to Me, you can too.