Why Pastors Should 'Wait' on the Holy Spirit Before They 'Go'

Young pastors shouldn't get impatient about their calling. The Holy Spirit will let you know when it's time.
Young pastors shouldn't get impatient about their calling. The Holy Spirit will let you know when it's time. (iStock photo )

If I'm in a car, I prefer to be in the driver's seat. This is more of a confession than a boast.

I want to know where I am going, what the most efficient route is, and most of all—I want to be in control.

Our driving preferences are a direct reflection of our personalities. Patient people drive patiently; obnoxious people drive ... you get the point. I obviously have a driven personality. (You're welcome.)

Most of my pastor friends are driven leaders too, which is how God designed them. Jesus' twelve disciples were no different, which is why they were likely frustrated when they were called to COMEGO and then WAIT for the Holy Spirit.

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Three years after Jesus called the Twelve to "come and follow" He commissioned them to "go and make disciples." You can imagine how excited they were immediately after the resurrection, ascension and Great Commission to "Go and make disciples." Being instructed to go "wait" for the Holy Spirit in a room for an indefinite amount of time must have felt like going to time-out.

How would you feel if you were suited up to play a baseball or football game, only to be sent back to the locker room immediately after the national anthem was sung?

While reading about Jesus' baptism in Mark 1 this morning, I noticed that Jesus was directed to do the same thing three years earlier. His baptism was His ordination and commissioning service, which was immediately followed by a 40-day trip to the desert—with the devil.


John the Baptist had recently announced that Jesus was the Messiah, and now was preparing the way for Jesus by baptizing Him. John's endorsement was nothing compared to what God the Father did by opening the heavens and sending the Holy Spirit like a doveThe Holy Spirit then drove Jesus into the wilderness.

Jesus knew when to drive and when to be driven; when to speak and when to listen. Pastors are usually better speakers than listeners, so we can benefit from His example.

"And a voice came from heaven, saying, 'You are My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. The Spirit immediately drove Him into the wilderness" (Mark 1:11-12).

Go save the world Jesus, but wait in the wilderness for 40 days first.

Go turn the world upside down, disciples, but wait in the upper room first.

I have found at least four upsides to waiting before you go:

  • Waiting on God saves time, energy and embarrassment that come with running enthusiastically in the wrong direction.
  • Waiting saves the other passengers on our ministry bus from frustration.
  • Waiting acknowledges the sovereignty of God in our lives and ministries.
  • Waiting is submitting to the Holy Spirit, which bears fruit of the Spirit, such as patience.

Allow yourself to be driven by the Holy Spirit rather than by your own ambition or the agendas of others in your life and ministry. 

"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him" (Ps. 37:7).

Mark Dance serves as director of LifeWay Pastors. Mark serves pastors by hosting date nights and roundtables, as well as speaking at retreats, conferences and seminars. Prior to LifeWay, Mark pastored churches for 27 years.

For the original article, visit lifeway.com/pastors.

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