Stop stifling and suppressing the Spirit. Stop counting as nothing divine revelations given in the local assembly by the one who receives them, but be putting all things to the test for the purpose of approving them, and finding that they meet the requirements, put your approval upon them. Be constantly holding fast that which is good.
I Thessalonians 5:19-12 (KSW)
Assuming that the pastors and church leaders in question do indeed acknowledge the continuation of the supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit in our day (a rebuttal of “cessationism” will have to wait for another time), there are several reasons that might cause church leadership to “take the easy road” and simply opt to stifle and suppress spiritual operations in the local assembly.
First, some pastors and church leaders do not themselves understand the Manifestation Gifts of the Holy Spirit as they should. Certainly none of us “knows it all,” and we should always be expecting God to increase the amount of “light” we have on any given subject. But if pastors of local congregations do not themselves move in the Spirit, how can they expect to see many spiritual demonstrations come forth in their congregations? I am sometimes amazed at how many Pentecostal (including Charismatics, Word of Faith, Latter Rain, Restoration, Apostolic-Prophetic, Signs and Wonders, Third-Wave, or whatever label we happen to be going by these days) pastors have little or no understanding of spiritual operations beyond the simple academic “facts” that might have been mentioned in passing at the Bible College they attended. Many do not have the slightest clue how to recognize the various types of promptings given by the Holy Spirit, or how to effectively yield to Him in the manifestation of the supernatural. It astounds me how many who claim to believe in “praying in tongues” do not themselves regularly do so. It is a general rule that “as it goes in the pulpit, so it will eventually go in the pew.” Pastor, if you don’t pray regularly in tongues, you can’t expect that your people will. If you don’t intercede for your community, you can’t expect that your people will. If you do not have a passion for the lost and a heart for the nations, you can’t expect that your people will. If you are not faithful to tithe and to give over and above, even sacrificially, you can’t expect that your people will. And if you do not function with excellence in the Manifestation Gifts of the Holy Spirit, you can’t expect that your people will.
Other pastors and leaders may have experienced occasional demonstrations of the Holy Spirit, but they do not actively encourage their people to learn to yield to the Spirit, because they themselves to not understand how to “pastor” the gifts in their operation. They do not really comprehend Biblical “order” and they do not have any idea as to how to implement or orchestrate it within the congregational gathering. They do not understand that it is their responsibility to both enforce Biblical “order” as it applies, and also to establish an “order of the house,” the protocol which will be followed in bringing forth spiritual manifestations in their particular assembly, as regards logistical details not specifically covered in Scripture. I am convinced that any pastor who passionately and zealously desires to have the Holy Spirit manifest supernaturally in his or her congregation can develop sensitivity to the Spirit in all of these areas. Although I would not be dogmatic, I have never seen it fail in over three decades, that any pastor who earnestly desires, for the Glory of God and the edification of the Church, to move freely and fluently in Interpretation of Tongues (there must always be an interpretation of utterances in tongues addressed to the congregation), or any other spiritual operation necessary to “pastor” supernaturally, would be able to receive and increase in these spiritual demonstrations. When the pastor is fluent and confident in the Manifestation Gifts of the Holy Spirit, it will inspire confidence in the people as well.
It is sad that this should even need to be mentioned. But some pastors stifle the expressions of the Holy Spirit because of fear. First, some fear that their people might become “flakey.” They prefer the comfort of “predictable” tradition, rather than having to constantly be vigilant, on guard, and ready to boldly confront, or gently correct, as the need arises, in the Wisdom of God. Others are in fear that any degree of supernatural emphasis might “offend” some large donor who might have purchased his or her way into a place of influence within that congregation. These hirelings love the security of the flesh more than the Honor of God, and they need to repent and return again to the spiritual passion that consumed them when first they were Born Again (if indeed they ever were).
There is no cost too great and no price too high, when it comes to seeing the Purpose of God come forth in the lives of His people, and the Kingdom of God both supernaturally proclaimed and supernaturally demonstrated to a lost and hurting world. May God forgive us for spiritual lethargy, and may we again recover our passion for the Fire of the Holy Ghost! Be Blessed!