How do leaders hear the voice of the Holy Spirit?

20 06 2013

This excerpt of THE AMAZING POTENTIAL OF ONE SURRENDERED CHURCH (p. 91) explores how the Antioch leaders may have “heard” from the Lord.

There are those who say that God has given His full revelation in the 66 books of the Bible, and that any further “listening” to God is not only unnecessary but heretical. Truly, God’s revelation is complete (Revelation 22:18). Yet, our resurrected Savior is the living Head of the Church, and the lead Shepherd of each local church. We should pursue a closeness and immediacy with Him such that we receive guidance for each and every step of our ministry. In this sense, the Spirit of Jesus willingly leads the church that is united in prayer and humble before God, eagerly seeking His direction.

How did this happen at Antioch? Was the Spirit’s voice audible to all or even one? Was a prophecy given by one of the leaders? We don’t know. But we do know the Spirit worked in all of their hearts until His directive was evident to all of the leaders. It may be that as they prayed, the Lord brought to mind the grace of the gospel that had come to them as Gentiles. The Spirit brought to mind the Lord’s commands to “make disciples of all nations,” and the promise that He would make them witnesses “even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). God had shown them that Barnabas and Saul were a compatible and trustworthy ministry pair, for they had faithfully dispatched the gift to Jerusalem. And just as importantly, the church had seen that they could continue in ministry even when their two founding leaders were gone.

Out of the melting pot of these realizations, the Spirit began to burden Barnabas and Saul with the thought of thousands of Gentiles who had not yet heard of the cross of Christ. A new “calling” emerged within them. The other elders, realizing they had received this grace, knew they were now responsible to convey that same grace to others. So, by mutual understanding, the elders knew the Holy Spirit was asking Barnabas and Saul to launch out in a new ministry. “Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away” (Acts 13:3).


How would you describe the listening capability of your leadership team? What conditions are right for the Holy Spirit to clearly guide you as a church and leadership team? What obstacles might block the Spirit’s guidance within your leadership team?



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