As the day of the descent of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost was celebrated on June 5 this year. In His exhortation after the Last Supper, Jesus mentioned that he would give the Spirit of truth, which shows that the Holy Spirit is very important in Christian beliefs and church ministries.
A few days ago, the Christian Times, an online Chinese Christian newspaper, interviewed a pastor's wife surnamed Chen, who shared how to rely on the Holy Spirit to shepherd and serve believers using spiritual gifts.
How can we better shepherd those in pain by praying and listening?
With nearly 20 years of pastoral ministry, Chen emphasized the need for the anointing of the Holy Spirit in pastoral care. She declared that finding the root of the believer's illness was the most important thing when the person tried to heal him in pain with prayer.
Chen said, "First, we should recognize if the illness was in spirit, soul, or body. For some people who have healthy spiritual life but are suffering emotional problems, we can help them recover by declaring God's word. In some cases, people who have physical illnesses, such as nervous system problems, are advised to go to the hospital to seek medical treatment. People with neurasthenia need the advice of doctors as well as nutritional supplements."
It is very important for pastors to listen to what the believer says. Chen shared about a method she liked in shepherding, "My approach is mainly 'talking and listening' — either over the phone or in person. Based on his emotions and words, I pray for the Holy Spirit to move both of us and let me know what his pain and problems are. To give some direction, I use stories and sentences in the Bible to warn him of who may be healed and released, as he might express negative words and curses before."
How do we use the gift of the Holy Spirit to promote church growth?
When asked about the relationship between the spiritual gifts and the development of the church, she said, "This is related to the stage of the church's development. When the church is just established, the sick believers need God’s mercy and healing. But in the later stage of development, the healing miracles can’t always satisfy their spiritual needs and desire for truth, as many pagans can also use evil power to heal the sick. Most importantly, the church should lead its members to the truth, as it is useless for believers to seek healing without eternal life."
The spirit of the Holy Spirit is a spirit of the mission. With His work in revelation, churches know where to conduct missionary work. We need the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as we don’t know how to use the words of God we have learned before. This is like a martial arts practitioner who has learned the basic tips and techniques but can’t hit the opponent’s vital point.
How can we help believers grow in their faith on the feast of Pentecost?
Referring to this question, Chen stated that Christians shouldn’t be too busy to connect with God.
"First of all, we must always be in Christ, as we can't do anything without God. I request mothers in our church to meet online at noon to pray for ten minutes, as they should take care of their children and can’t do morning prayers. In this virtual gathering, we each share a word of God and His promises, the basis on which we then pray. Or we share what has happened in work and life that morning. We then use a sentence from the Bible to explain this and follow it up with prayers. We should try our best to help each other remain in Christ Jesus, for He is the vine."
Encouraging believers to highlight the Pentecost, she continued, "It is very important for us to thirst for the presence of the Holy Spirit, as without Him we can do nothing. Though being instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, Moses led Israel out of Egypt only after receiving the power of God. In his later ministry, he prayed sincerely about everything."
"To overcome spiritual fatigue, Christians need to reduce time spent in work and life while increasing their time in the presence of God. It is of great importance to read the Bible, pray, meet and communicate with church members. In addition, believers can pray regularly at 9:00, 12:00, and 3:00 every day, waiting for the presence and filling of the Holy Spirit,” Chen concluded.
- Translated by Abigail Wu