Several years ago, while in a planning meeting to plan a sermon series on the Holy Spirit, our worship design team talked about some of the misperceptions people have of ministry that is truly “Spirit-filled.”
If a preacher stands and announces that he is shelving whatever he had planned to talk about that day and is going spur-of-the-moment, well, that’s Spirit-filled. Why? Because it’s spontaneous.
On the other hand, if a preacher delivers a message that has been prepared beforehand (either with or without notes), then somehow the Spirit has been quenched. Why? Because it’s planned.
Then someone on our team brought up the most brilliant rebuttal:
The same Holy Spirit who is “there” in a spontaneous message is also “there” in the planning stages of a prepared message.
Those of you who know me know that I prepare messages well ahead of time and, while there are occasional “I had no idea I was going to say that!” moments, for the most part I deliver essentially what I’ve prepared.
But my teammate today helped me understand that process. If I pray the Spirit’s blessing and filling on that preparation, is that message any less “Spirit-filled” than one that’s given off-the-cuff? I don’t think so.
So I’ll keep praying the Spirit to fill my pen, my keyboard, my memory, and my mind.
Because I have a sneaking suspicion that spontaneity happens best in an atmosphere of diligent planning.
After all, the more prepared you are, the more spontaneous you can be.