There is power in being sent as a leader, and there is also amazing joy in sending. For 27 years, I’ve been the lead pastor of New Life Church (Bakersfield Southwest Foursquare Church) in Bakersfield, Calif. Through the years, we’ve raised up, developed and sent out hundreds of leaders into the harvest field. For instance, two weeks ago we sent the cream of the crop, Brian and Rebecca Fox, to Simi Valley.
Sending out the best leaders has been the practice of The Way for 2,000 years. I love this particular account of sending: “One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.’ So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way. So Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:2-4, NLT).
From this passage, I learned several things about being sent to do God’s work:
- God shows up and speaks when His people worship, fast and pray.
- While these three things were going on, the Holy Spirit spoke. The elders thought it was so important to do that, they had more fasting and prayer before laying hands on Barnabas and Saul.
- The Holy Spirit gives direction.
- I need the Spirit to speak to our leadership team and me to give us direction for the leaders under our care. It can’t be just a good idea; it must be a “God idea.” All through the book of Acts, we see that the Spirit gave direction. He still speaks today.
- There is impartation through the laying on of hands of the elders of the church. Verse 3 states, “So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.” God releases blessing when we lay our hands on others in Jesus’ name. Expect impartation and blessing through the laying on of hands.
- There is a difference between “went” and “sent.” Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the elders and by the Holy Spirit. They didn’t just go on a mission—they were sent to do a God-ordained work.
As leaders, let’s look to the Holy Spirit to guide our steps in sending others. And let’s do our best to be one sent by the Spirit to do what He has called us to do.
Would you say this prayer with me?
Spirit of Christ Jesus, we look to You today. We want to take time for worship, fasting and prayer to make that space for You to move in our hearts, to whisper to us, in order that we might send others. We know that the mission of Your church is at stake when we raise up and release leaders. Help us to be diligent in our assignment to prepare laborers for Your kingdom. For Christ’ sake we pray. Amen.
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