• Russ Jones


If you have been a part of Pentecost, Spirit-filled churches, you've probably seen some weird things. I attended a church growth seminar years ago, and the professor teaching the class (who was defiantly Pentecostal) said that you would have to deal with the woo-woo's.

I was confused. I had never heard of this term before. Teach me more Obi-Wan.

His point was simple. Some people want to be used in spiritual gifts but, for some reason, don't understand what they are for or how to use them responsibly.

You've probably run into this before. Someone says, "Thus saith the Lord . . ." and then says something over them that doesn't make any sense. While in Bible College, someone walked up to my then-girlfriend and said, "Thus saith the Lord, you are supposed to marry me." She didn't receive that, and I married her later.

What do you do?

Understand and teach others what the gifts of the Spirit are for.

The gifts are given to bring yourself and others closer to Christ. To empower you to follow Him and to reach your world with the Gospel. The gifts are an expression of His love and compassion to us all.

If you want the gifts of the Spirit to flow in your small group, do this. Take a survey of your class and find out if they are Baptized in the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in other tongues and if they understand what the Gifts of the Spirit are. If they don't understand, then you know where to start teaching.

Understand what the manifestations of the Spirit are for.

I've seen people weep openly, laugh uncontrollably, dance enthusiastically, and even fall down without being pushed. First of all, the Holy Spirit knows what to do in our hearts. This can be expressed with deep emotions. That isn't a bad thing, and remember God created emotions. Most manifestations I have seen have been for the person. While the congregation or small group can rejoice that God is doing a great thing for them, it's just that, for them.

Trust the Holy Spirit and allow Him to lead you through these times. I have, on more than one occasion, said in my heart, "God, you and doing this, please keep this pure and honest before you."

The Supernatural is Strange

Let's be honest here, speaking in tongues, praying for people, the gifts of prophecy, tongues, and interpretation can appear strange. What can you do?

Never assume everyone is on the same page. Explain it - a lot and often.

Welcome questions - lots of questions.

Reassure those who are new to this experience that this is normal.

Quote the Bible - a lot. This is what they did then; this is what we do now.

Don't allow pride to get a foothold.

Spiritual rebellion is destructive. I've had my fair share of people use their spiritual prowess to usurp the Bible, my authority as a pastor, and God's authority. In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about this and sets them straight on this kind of behavior. He didn't pull any punches, did he? So what can you do?

Well, it's more than what I can blog here, but I can give you a few critical thoughts to get you started.

Don't allow them to proclaim themselves as being "better" than you. The question isn't about who's better; the question is, who's in charge? As a small group leader, it is you. Need help? Call your pastor or ministry leader ASAP.

Speak to them privately before rebuking them publicly. I've had to go behind some people woo wooness and clear up their messes. People will love you for doing the right thing. (Read that last statement again.) Go to the person who was out of order and talk to them. Determine if what they did was out of ignorance or rebellion. Don't embarrass them; that usually leads to anger and rebellion. If they are willing to learn, teach them. I find this works more times than not.

But what about the rebellious one? People move from church to church and pick up a lot of bad habits. Someone has convinced them that what they are doing is correct and that everyone else (that's you) is wrong. You know that they don't have a proper understanding of the Bible. But if they are not teachable, they are not leadable. (Is that a word?)

Don't be afraid to use the word NO. But before you do that, make sure that you can back it up with grace and the Word of God. Make the offender face the Word of God; they cannot argue with it.

Don't be afraid.

I have watched spirit-filled leaders quench the Spirit. They are afraid that someone will do something stupid. Don't allow fear to lead you, but faith. The tension that you feel between allowing the Holy Spirit to do His will and being responsible to take action with someone is out of order will always be there. Trust the Holy Spirit to lead, and don't panic.

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