If God has positioned you as a spiritual leader, he will also empower you to serve and lead. In this episode we are going to talk about the mantle and anointing that comes with God’s call and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to lead in times of uncertainty.

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This episode, particularly the last 20 minutes, was inspired by a journal entry on March 17 as we prayed for spiritual leaders. Leading in a time of crisis, such as the one we are in with the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic, requires spirit-empowered leadership. In the last 20 minutes of the podcast, and in the second half of the notes, we talk about a 7-fold empowerment that comes with the mantle of leadership.

When I was a young pastor I struggled a lot with whether or not my decisions were the right decisions. As a lead pastor I was in a position of making lot of decisions, and while I had advisors, counselors, and mentors, I often had to just pull the trigger and make a decision about important things. …

I tend to suffer from analysis paralysis, so decision making is admittedly not my favorite thing. It wasn’t that I didn’t like making decisions, or was afraid to make a decision, my hesitancy was out of my desire to lead well and not mess things up for other people because I made a wrong or bad decision. 
Some reasons I was hesitant in decision-making.

  • Win/Win scenarios: making decisions when we win either way is easy. 
  • Win/Lose scenarios: It’s a little harder when our decisions seem to cause some people “win” and others to feel they “lose.” 
  • Lose/Lose scenarios: making a decision when you don’t like any of the options, but you know you have to lead. 

Here’s some things I’ve learned about decision-making.

  • As a leader, it’s not about what I want, but what I perceive is the right thing to do. 
  • I am not leading a democracy, I am serving as an agent in a Theocracy. In other words, for a spiritual leader its not about majority rule, it is about God rule. When a church or ministry organization holds and election or casts a ballot it is never about the will of the people, it is about the people coming to unity on the will of God. 
  • Hard decisions do NOT go away — ever! They only get tougher the longer you delay them. 

Decision-making and leadership are inseparable. 

I have longer lists, and perhaps we will do another episode on decision-making, but this episode is more connected to the things going on around us right now. If you listen to this episode in the future, we are in the middle of the Coronavirus, Covid-19 restrictions. 

Churches cannot gather, shops and stores are closed, the stock market is insanely fluctuating. 
How do we lead in times of crisis when we are walking a path we’ve never walked before. 

You can’t draw from previous experience. Information changes almost daily. We don’t know when this will end. We are learning how to stay relationally connected while physically distancing. 

NEXT WEEK, Episode 148 – Leading in Times of Crisis. (We will be live streaming on Tuesday and posting the episode on Thursday.)

Back to when I was a young pastor… I remember sitting in my church office, 30 years old, leading a church that was bigger than my leadership experience would sustain and the church was starting to unravel because of an interpersonal conflict involving a couple of families in the church with many other starting to take sides. 

I did not know what to do, I had gotten all the advice I could get, and it came down to making some hard decisions. 
As I sat there and prayed asking God for wisdom, I received an assurance from the Lord that I would make the right decision. In fact, I gained the confidence that day that when God calls us to do something, and we ask for wisdom to do it, he will give us the wisdom we need if we seek it. 

‘If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. ‘ James 1:5 (ESV)

This statement could be misunderstood, but I came to believe that I would always make the right decision. That does not mean I am infallible, it does not mean that I don’t make mistakes, it does not mean that I will never make a bad call, but I had to have confidence in myself to make the right decisions, but mostly I had to have confidence in God to give me the wisdom to lead in very difficult situations. 

The only decision worse than a bad decision is deciding to make no decision at all. 

When it’s time to lead, when it’s time to steer, when you have to make a  decision, seek God’s help, surround yourself with the best counselors you can, access the best information you can access, and then make a decision and stand in that decision. 

I must TRUST God to give me the wisdom I have to have to lead. 

You see, I believe there is a mantle and an anointing that comes with spiritual leadership. 

As I was praying for pastors and leaders as we were moving into our new reality, this word came to me. God will give wisdom to those who are tasked with leading during this time. There is an empowerment of the Holy Spirit that comes with God’s assignments. 

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear,”
Isaiah 11:1-3 ESV

Some commentators say it is a stretch to identify 7 facets of the but I am embolden by my Keil-Delitzch commentaries who agree. 

Isaiah 11 foretells the coming of The Christ, and that He would be empowered by the 7-fold Spirit of God. I believe for the enablement of God to do what he has called us to do, and I pray for the 7-fold Spirit of God to empower us, rest upon our lives, and I pray for the 7-fold Spirit of God to rest upon spiritual leaders in these challenging days. 
Here are the characteristics of the Holy Spirit characterized by the 7-fold Spirit of God that empowers us to lead in the context of our calling. 

  1. The Spirit of the Lord
  2. The Spirit of Wisdom
  3. The Spirit of Understanding
  4. The Spirit of Counsel
  5. The Spirit of Might (Power)
  6. The Spirit of Knowledge
  7. The Spirit of the Fear of the Lord

The 7 fold Spirit of God is seen in John’s revelation in the Book of Revelation, “From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God,…” Revelation 4:5 (ESV)


(1) The Spirit of the Lord. It was said of Jesus, in Him dwells the fullness of the God-head in bodily form. The Spirit of the Lord represents the fullness of God’s ability. 
The remaining 6 are in 3 pairs. 

  1. The intellectual: wisdom and understanding
  2. The practical: counsel and might
  3. The spiritual: knowledge and the fear of the Lord

The Intellectual Empowerment

(2) The Spirit of Wisdom. If we lack or desire wisdom, let us ask (James 1:5).  Wisdom is the power of discerning nature of things through the appearance (Keil-Delitzsch). Wisdom is rightly applying knowledge and understanding.

(3) The Spirit of Understanding. Understanding is the power of discerning the differences of things in their appearance (Keil-Delitzsch). Understanding is being able to intuitively perceive the factors involved in a decision. 

The Practical Empowerment

(4) The Spirit of Counsel. The Holy Spirit is our Counselor. Counsel is a gift for forming right conclusions. It is not just the giving of advice, but as it is applied to our leadership, it is the receiving of advice from God and counselors he has placed in our lives. I am sometimes amazed how an “in season word” or revelation comes to me just when I need it. 

(5) The Spirit of Might. This is the ability to carry out God’s directives with energy and empowerment. Standing like a mighty warrior, not simply in our own power but in the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Might gives us the power we need to fulfill His calling upon our lives. 

The Spiritual Empowerment

(6) The Spirit of Knowledge. The Holy Spirit gives knowledge and insight. God is omniscient, he knows all things. The Holy Spirit guides us in our learning so that when the moment of crisis or testing comes we have a bank of pre-obtained knowledge from which to apply with wisdom. I also believe that God gives revelatory knowledge. Sometimes we just supernaturally know things. Matthew 10 speaks of God giving us words to say when we are persecuted and faced with immediate crisis, not having time to prepare beforehand. 

“When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Matthew [10:19]-20 (ESV)

(7) The Spirit of the Fear of the Lord. This is the foundation of trust and fearing God, who can destroy soul and spirit rather than those who can only destroy the body. The Spirit of the Fear of the Lord directs us to make decisions and to lead based upon the desires of God and not our own. 

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!” Psalm 1[11:10] (ESV)

Isaiah prophecies the coming of Messiah and the Spirit of the Lord that would rest upon Him, empower Him, equip Him, guide him, and make him effective. 

I pray that the same Holy Spirit empower and equip spiritual leaders in this challenging time that they would know what to do and how to do it. 

I pray for the wisdom to keep the days ahead in perspective. 

I pray you experience the Holy Spirit working in your life as…

  1. The Spirit of the Lord
  2. The Spirit of Wisdom
  3. The Spirit of Understanding
  4. The Spirit of Counsel
  5. The Spirit of Might (Power)
  6. The Spirit of Knowledge
  7. The Spirit of the Fear of the Lord

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