Good Thoughts: The Spirit Of The Moment Is The Spirit Of Planning

A number of years back I was talking with a friend about my desire to develop in my ability to lead spontaneously in worship. I longed to pray prayers, sing songs, and speak words that were given in the moment by the Sprit. Because that's the only way the Spirit works, right? I'll never forget my friends response. He looked up at me and said "Dan, the same Spirit that leads in the moment leads in the planning."

Over the years I have grappled with my friends statement and the role of the Spirit in my life and ministry. I have learned that the Spirit is the dynamic influence of God in the believer's life. He affects every aspect of our lives. When we work, He leads. When we play, He leads. When we celebrate, He leads. When we grieve, He leads. When we plan and worship, He leads. As a worship leader I must follow the Spirit in all situations—both in planning and spontaneity.

Here is a good thought from Bob Kauflin who throughly addresses this issue in his book Worship Matters.

"Some of us believe in the Holy Spirit's empowering presence theoretically, but we don't seem to believe God is active when we meet. He is the Spirit of empowerment in name only. Our focus is more on the execution of our plan then expecting God to do anything through His Spirit. We move through a song list without considering what the Spirit may want to accomplish as we sing.

On the other extreme are those who expect the active presence of the Spirit but assume that it will always be spectacular or unusual ways. If certain spiritual gifts aren't exercised or people don't appear physically effected, then they conclude that the Spirit "hasn't shown up" or that He has been quenched or grieved.

The Holy Spirit is indeed present and at work every time the churches gathers. We just need to understand Biblically what that means. When people grasp something of Gods glory, the Spirit is at work. When people are convicted of sin, the Spirit is at work. When people receive hope and strength in the midst of a trial, the Spirit is at work. The Spirit may also demonstrate His presence through a prophetic impression, a healing, or heightened awareness of His presence."

He continues...

"I believe in Spirit-led planning. I plan every time I lead. And I've been deeply effected, and God has been honored, by meetings that we've organized down to the last detail. We should expect the Spirit to work powerfully through the normal means of preaching, sharing the Lords supper, singing, and other means of Grace. But He can also intrrupt our meets with exortation, a Scripture, a call to prayer, or a spontainious impression that has had an effect similar to what Paul discribes in 1 Corinthians 14."

While I'm not charismatic, and therefore don't agree with all of Kauflin's theological conclusions, I do whole heartily agree that the Spirit indwells and leads all believers in all situations.

Views: 12

Comment by Worship The Rock on October 29, 2009 at 12:13pm
Hi Daniel,

Thanks for this - really helpful!

By the way, when you say you're not charismatic do you mean you don't believe in the gifts of the Spirit today or something else? Hope you don't mind me asking, i'm just always confused when people use this term as I never quite know what is meant by it (people seem to use it to mean different things all the time).


Comment by Daniel Lyle on October 29, 2009 at 1:33pm
wow definitely agree with that... It's a very ambiguous term and there are people all across the board. For the sake of unity and my relationships here at WTR I'm going to let my answer be equally ambiguous.
Comment by Lorraine Doswell on November 1, 2009 at 3:48pm
Thank you for posting Daniel, very thought provoking indeed. I think of myself as charismatic and I have read definitions of the term charismatic, but like Phil I am never quite sure......just a thought, it could be opened to discussion 'What it means to be charismatic' it would be interesting to see how others perceive it. God Bless. Lorraine
Comment by Daniel Lyle on November 1, 2009 at 8:14pm
Lorraine, that sounds like a good idea. Maybe someone could start one up in the forum.
Comment by Joe Stuart on November 8, 2009 at 6:45pm
Thanks Daniel, I am in a similar situation at my church. Planing and scheduling is very important to the senior pastor so I have pretty tight structure to work within. I know the Spirit does work in that situation. The Spirit is at work in and on behalf of all true believers and certainly planing for worship is no exception. I have often seen God put together details in the service that certainly were not intentional on my part. The Spirit knows what is needed much more than we do in planning. Ultimately, planed or not the Spirit must be at work doing the heavy lifting of changing hearts, drawing men to God and inspiring true praise and worship. All we can do is pray, plan and rely on the Spirit.
Comment by Carri on December 28, 2009 at 9:55pm
Through the years I've encountered Christians who are on either extreme of this thinking. But the one extreme that has frustrated me the most are those who think you throw out all work and planning and let "the Spirit lead". That is a bunch of rubbish! God is a God of order. He doesn't bless sloppiness, laziness or poor planning. The principle is the same for this subject to "Study to show yourself approved, a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth". The point being, God will bless hard work and effort on our part in doing His work. The Holy Spirit works from and with the diligent preparation we have given His work. I like what Elisabeth Elliot says, that God is at work in the mundane things of life not just the spectacular. We need to trust that God will work when we have given it our best efforts. But we may also experience being left high and dry when we do not. I think today we attribute way too much to the Holy Spirit that is NOT Him.


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