Are we paid to be the Holy Spirit?

Pastor job performance evaluationI’ve been looking through a lot of youth pastor job descriptions for various available positions around the country and one thing continues to stand out to me:

Do churches sometimes expect pastors to play the role of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives?

I see a lot of expectations outlined that have to do with inspiring growth, be convicting, teach dynamically, etc. But how much does that depend on us and how much of that is ultimately a work of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives?

I’m not sure I want to push this perception too far because there obviously is a lot of overlap between what we do and what the Holy Spirit does. I see it more like us doing our best to partner with the Holy Spirit’s work more than being held responsible for it.

I posted about this on the Life In Student Ministry Facebook Page yesterday and got some interesting feedback. Here are some of thoughts from other youth workers who responded to the Facebook post.

  • “I think most churches have job description that are unattainable.” — Jeff Greathouse
  • “In all honesty I would stay away from a church that communicates job ‘responsibilities’ that are the Holy Spirit’s in the first place. Not only is it unhealthy, but if for some reason the Spirit isn’t moving the way the church expects him to be, then it’s not the Holy Spirit that will get in trouble, it will be you. Find a church that desires for you to be faithful in communicating the Word to your students, and is open to allowing the Spirit to work through your faithfulness however He wants.” — David Turner
  • “I don’t even know if the Holy Spirit could do some things (or be some things) that churches look for.” — Adam Wormann
  • “Often churches don’t really know what they want or haven’t thought through a philosophy/theology of ministry so they write theological job descriptions that make no sense.” — David Lynn

There’s obviously some cynicism in some of these comments, but are they based on truth? I’d love to hear what your thoughts are.


QUESTION: What’s the balance between what we can do to help facilitate spiritual growth and people taking personal responsibility for their own spiritual growth? Do churches sometimes hold expectations for pastors that should be reserved for the Holy Spirit? Comment below!

Posted on December 29, 2011

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