Health and Growth

4 Ways the Holy Spirit Works in the Life of a Church Leader

As a church leader, it’s easy to feel ill-equipped for your work. From handling pastoral care, sermon preparations, and spiritual attacks, there’s never a dull moment or a moment of rest.

4 Ways the Holy Spirit Works in the Life of a Church Leader

Jesse Wisnewski

As a church leader, it’s easy to feel ill-equipped for your work.

From handling pastoral care, sermon preparations, and spiritual attacks, there’s never a dull moment or a moment of rest.

To improve upon your areas of weakness or maximize your strengths, you can do many good things, like listen to leadership podcasts, read the latest management books, and lean to the support of your staff and volunteers to help you with the work of the ministry. These things are good and have their place. But they cannot replace what the Holy Spirit can do in you.

Below are four ways the Holy Spirit works in your life.

1. The Holy Spirit will guide you

The Holy Spirit will call you to faith in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:26; Eph. 1:18), and he will call you to a specific vocation or task.

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. (Eph. 1:18)

Now, don’t mistake the Holy Spirit for a telephone operator working at a call center. The call he makes isn’t the type you receive on the phone. His call is one that is internal (Rom. 11:29; Eph. 4:1).

If you have lived long enough, then you know there are times in life when things don’t seem to make any sense. You’ll feel as if the events in your life have no meaning or that you’re wandering. But this isn’t the case at all. God is directing your steps and guiding your life—even when it comes to your work. Here are just a few examples:

  • The Holy Spirit asked for Barnabas and Saul to be set apart “for the work to which [he] called them” (Acts 13:2)
  • The Holy Spirit led Philip to help an Ethiopian eunuch understand the Old Testament (Acts 8:26-40)
  • The Holy Spirit even forbid Paul from entering specific regions to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 16:6-7)

Sometimes the Holy Spirit will supernaturally guide you in the decisions you make. But this is the exception; not the rule.

Typically, the Holy Spirit will guide you through the normal ebbs and flows of life. 

As you trust God (Prov. 3:5-6), read the Bible (Rom. 12:1-2), and seek godly counsel (Prov. 11:14), the Holy Spirit will guide your steps.

2. The Holy Spirit will empower you

The Holy Spirit will empower you for service. In other words, the Holy Spirit will enable you to do what you’ve been called to do.

From the pages of the Old Testament we observe the Holy Spirit’s empowering presence in the lives of Joshua (Num. 27:18), Saul (1 Sam. 11:6), David (1 Sam. 16:13), and many others, to accomplish what they were called to do.

In the New Testament, we see that he empowered Jesus’ earthly ministry (Luke 4:14), the early disciples (Acts 1:8), and the preaching of the gospel (Acts 4:8, 31; 6:10; 1 Thess. 1:5).

The Holy Spirit is capable of empowering our natural abilities and improving upon them for a particular task or purpose. This explains how God is capable of accomplishing his work through your average, ordinary, and even rejected members of society.

Think about it.

Peter and John, two of the most important men in church history, were considered “unschooled, ordinary men” (Acts 4:13 NTL), yet God powerfully worked through their lives.

The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13 NTL)

So, take heart and be humble if you’re reading this today. 

For “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor. 1:27).

3. The Holy Spirit empowers evangelistic efforts

Jesus is alive, and he is building his church. His church isn’t made through political engagement or military might. His church is established through the proclamation of the gospel.

Thankfully God didn’t leave us alone in his work. He sent the Holy Spirit to empower our evangelistic efforts.

The Holy Spirit empowers us to be a witness (Acts 1:8), directs our evangelistic efforts (Acts 8:26, 29), and empowers our evangelistic efforts (Acts 4:38, 31; 6:10; 1 Thess. 1:5; 1 Pet. 1:12). The Holy Spirit’s aim in glorifying Jesus Christ is fulfilled by him enabling, guiding, and empowering the proclamation of the gospel.

4. The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts

The Holy Spirit also works through us by giving us spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:11). He doesn’t give us these gifts for our benefit, either. He gives us gifts for the common good of the church (1 Cor. 12:7). He also gives us gifts to serve others with (1 Pet. 4:10).

There are multiple spiritual gifts listed in the Bible (Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12; 1 Pet. 4:10-11). 

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. (Rom. 12:3-8 NLT)

We don’t get to choose what gift we receive.

They’re given to us by God for his glory and our good. Share whatever spiritual gift you have received from God with others and don’t worry about what you don’t have.

For a deeper look into the work of the Holy Spirit, check out 24 Must-Know Characteristics of the Holy Spirit.


4 Ways the Holy Spirit Works in the Life of a Church Leader