Manifestations Increase. Attendance Decrease - Help! I'm a Pastor

Scenario:

Phil U. Moore is the senior pastor of New Wine Church, a church of 150. It Is not unusual for people to “manifest” in church meetings. During a particular season in church life, the manifestations are increasing on Sunday mornings. One person, Lucy Fireball, regularly erupts in loud laughter and cannot seem to control it. It is especially common when she sits by Sally Ignite. Visitors have walked out because of Lucy. Pastor Moore comes to you for advice. What do you say?

Lies Associated with this Scenario:

  • If I speak to Lucy and Sally, I am quenching the Holy Spirit.

  • One of my main goals as a pastor is to make sure there is never anything unusual or uncomfortable happening in our ministry.

  • Freedom in our meetings means that everyone can do whatever they feel like doing, and I if I try to limit certain things from happening, I am a controlling leader.  

  • If good people are leaving church meetings, the manifestations cannot be from God.

Life and leadership core values to consider:

  1. I err on the side of allowing too much Holy Spirit activity, rather than too little.

  2. I pursue relationship with the strong influencers in the places where I am a leader.

  3. I regularly educate people about our ministry’s philosophy and process of decision-making regarding what happens in our ministry.

  4. I help people understand how their behaviors influence others.

  5. I am not afraid to confront wrong and/or share my concerns with people, but I do so with love and a view of the person’s prophetic destiny. 

Discerning what God is developing in your leadership through this situation:

  1. He is helping you strengthen the way you lead regarding the moving of the Holy Spirit.

  2. He is causing you to make sure you understand the hearts of people before making a major conclusion or decision.

  3. He is teaching you how to lead a ministry that is free of unnecessary distractions. 

Questions to ask before taking action:

  1. What has God called our ministry to emphasize?

  2. Am I being reactive or proactive in this decision?

  3. Do I have the support of my leadership team in the direction I am going?

  4. Am I willing to bless people in leaving the church because they don’t feel the direction I am taking the church is for them?

  5. Am I willing to confront people in my ministry who are unnecessarily distracting?

Practical steps to consider:

  1. Clarify your philosophy on the “move of the Holy Spirit” – It is important to proactively establish and articulate the protocols about what behaviors are deemed as “out of order.” Certainly God has been known to bypass man’s guidelines for meetings (ha ha), but the wise senior and core leaders will proactively share their philosophy on these things to the church.

  2. Value the “Holy Spirit” people of your ministry – It is a mistake for the senior leader to ignore or not connect with those who are avidly pursuing more of the Spirit in their lives (even though they at times can be a little “scary”). If the pastor does not feel he connects well with them, then he should have his spouse or a trusted leader in the church to help “oversee” this catalytic group.

  3. Develop a plan to increase “God encounters” and reduce unnecessary distractions in your ministry – Increase God encounters by: 1) Pursuing Holy Spirit as leadership team. 2) Having guest speakers emphasize this. 3) Sharing testimonies about this. 4) Preaching through the Book of Acts. 5) Starting and participating in regular Holy Spirit meetings at church. Decrease unnecessary “Holy Spirit” distractions by: 1) Pursuing relationship with distractors, hearing their story, and helping them see the bigger picture. 2) Teaching the principles of I Corinthians 14 about group edification vs. individuals doing their own thing. 3) Giving “Holy Spirits outlets” for people outside of regular meetings. 4) Enlisting loving but persuasive people to communicate with and redirect the unnecessary distractors in meetings. 5) Erring on the side of letting too much happen (consider Uzzah in 2 Samuel 6:6). 

Declarations:

  • I lead a ministry where people dramatically encounter God.
  • I have great wisdom in balancing the move of the Spirit and creating an environment where people feel safe and protected.
  • I am moving toward greater heart connections with the people and influencers in our environment.

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