Report of TT2-2: David Holden - The Holy Spirit and your Church

  • There is a flow in the topics between these three seminars
  • It is essential that people in our churches are filled with the Spirit
    • Sometimes people come because they like the worship
    • The heart of what we are in churches is a gathering of individual people who are baptized in the Holy Spirit
    • This is the doorway that opens the gifts of the Spirit


  • What is the function of the HS as we gather?
  • Where do we get our ideas from? As much as possible the Holy Scriptures
    • John 4:21 —a huge difference between the Old and New Covenants
    • This is a radical new way of worshipping
    • Our meetings have to be Spirit led and so there is spontaneity
    • There is not a rigid structure for worship. We have moved from form to the unknown
    • 1 Cor 14:26 “whenever you come together, each one has a...”
    • 1 Cor 12 lists gifts of the Holy Spirit (I am concerned when there are no gifts being manifested)
  • The HS has a massive role in our lives. We can’t do anything of any value without him
    • Equally this is true in the corporate church—we cannot do anything without him
  • If the HS was to leave the UK this week, there would be a lot of churches that wouldn’t notice the difference!
    • I hope that in such a hypothetical case, our church would cease to be able to function
  • Am I the only person who comes out of “good” meetings a bit concerned because of not much demonstration of the HS
    • We don’t just meet to sing songs—we have an encounter with God

1. The Function of the Holy Spirit in our Meetings

  • What is he doing? Three things
  1. To Glorify Jesus
    • Not fundamentally “what can I get out of it”, but it is all about him
    • Not about “What kind of week have you all had?” or how unworthy we are
    • The HS wants to focus on Jesus and then the other stuff will be dealt with
  2. He comes to help us encounter God
  • He is the living God and so he is to be encountered
    • People try and help us to encounter him, but the HS is the best one to help us
  • We need congregations who are full of expectation that things are going to happen
    • People stop engaging because their expectations dial down
    • Even those who don’t bring a contributions should still be “participating”
  • The HS wants to help you engage with the living God
  • (all our technology is not as important as we think it is)
  • People are losing the plot as far as Charismatic worship is concerned
    • It is not about having the meeting run well (but not deliberately not well!!)
    • It is about glorifying Jesus and encountering God
  1. The HS wants to use the individuals in the church to build up the Body of Christ
    • Not for our edification, but for our brothers and sisters
    • Gifts of the Spirit are not an option. If the Bible teaches they are for our maturing, they are absolutely crucial
    • 1 Cor 12:13-14
      • Out of all the mess of Corinth comes good teaching for us
      • Paul never ever dampens their zeal for the gifts. If anything he honours them and encourages them.
      • All of these gifts are to be used in the corporate setting, for one another
      • In fact, there is not so much of a role of a “worship leader” if everything is running as it should
    • Chapter 13 is to remind us that we are not to bring contributions in a competitive manner, but here there was utter chaos.
      • Love never uses gifts in competition. Love is the motivation.
    • Chapter 14 is about how the gifts should work in the church
      • If they were to visit our meetings, they might find them very strange
    1. Meetings were spontaneous—we don’t know what is going to happen next
      • If meetings are boring, it is because they are predictable. Ask for more of the Holy Spirit
      • the HS does not want to be boxed in or dominated by anybody
      • The best worship leaders can bring something and then back off, because it is not about them
      • The HS doesn’t like repetition, but creating new things all the time
      • I am not saying “don’t plan”, but it is a plan submitted to the “unseen conductor”
    2. “Each one”
      • There needs to be room for the public reading of Scripture. Sometimes meetings are so flaky.
      • Sometimes it is the reading of the Word of God that can take us to a new level in the meeting
      • We need to teach people that they are to come with an expectation that they can bring a contribution
      • We need a reservoir of the filling of the HS and also with the Word which we meditate upon. We must teach people to work on these two reservoirs.
      • Small groups are an excellent opportunity to work on this stuff
      • Everyone has a contribution, but this doesn’t mean the same people every week!
    3. The gifts of the HS are then to be expected in our gatherings
      • Tongues: 1 Cor 14:4,5 private and public tongues.
      • The only gift of the HS that is self-edifying (BUT, prophecy is superior unless there is an interpretation.)
        • Tongues is not praying, but it is God-directed. It is a bubbling over
        • v.18 I thank God that I speak more than any of you, but in the church I would rather speak to instruct
        • In my experience a tongue can seem to open the door to a lot of other contributions in a meeting
      • We need to re-address the Charismatic issue
      • Maybe we need a whole new Charismatic renewal!

1. Questions

  1. Doesn’t this just end in chaos?
    • The HS one of order and he won’t lead us in this direction
    • Often the issue is one of timing. We need to learn as a congregation how to flow in the Spirit.
  2. What about the size of the meeting?
    • No problem—large meetings should have more contributions. This is very important.
    • When you stop modelling contributions in the large meetings, they will soon be dialled-down in the small meetings
    • Find practical ways to let the Spirit of God do it!
  3. What about unbelievers?
    • Personally it is a big big mistake to dial it down when unbelievers are present.
    • Did Jesus do this? —everything changes when Jesus shows up at a meeting
    • The day of Pentecost: Peter said “This is that”. We need to simply explain what is happening
    • It is Christians who are the ones who are uptight about the unbelievers being present
    • Unbelievers will encounter the living God in our meetings
    • What we should dial down it “Christianese language”, like “We have been covered by the blood”, or “cell group”
      • We need to work hard on this.
    • Sit next to them and explain it to them
  4. What about the “worship leader” role?
    • They are people with contributions, in the same way that you do.
    • The WL’s function is vital for only one reason—to help the congregation engage with God
    • He doesn’t dominate or squash spontaneity
    • We just need to get the balance right on this one. If you like they are the psalmists, bringing a contribution like anyone else
      • Apart from that there is no mention of them in the NT.
      • You don’t need 9 microphones out the front in a church with 100 people with the volume so high that you can’t hear the congregation
  5. What about when someone says “now lets all speak in tongues together”?
    • This is inappropriate when there are unbelievers present since the Bible tells us they will think we are crazy
    • This is quite appropriate when it is just Christians, since it stirs our spirits
  6. What about singing in the Spirit?
    • It feels really good, but does that mean it is right?
    • Does not necessarily mean in tongues—it is that we are all corporately singing to the Lord
    • A wonderful experience at a wedding and an unbeliever said how wonderful it sounded
  • If we are a Charismatic community is is not about being free, but having a deluge of HS activity.


  1. Should we teach regularly on this? —yes!
  2. The Holy Spirit can be involved in planning as well as the spontaneity
  3. Would you cancel a meeting if there were no elders present? —no, but there must be some kind of leadership
  4. How do you know there is going to be an interpretation, and what do you do if there is not one? —There is always the element of risk