Spirit Filled Staff Meeting: Acts 13:2-4
“2) While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3) Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 4) So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus.” Acts‬ ‭13‬:‭2‬-‭4‬ NASB
These verses speak volumes about the prayer focus on the leadership level of the early church. This was undoubtedly the single highest priority passed on by the Apostles in Jerusalem. (See Acts 6:4)
The wording in verse 2 is intriguing. Notice, the NASB says; “while they were ministering to the Lord and fasting…” ESV and NIV says; “while they were worshiping the Lord and fasting…” The emphasis goes beyond merely praying. They were earnestly seeking the Lord on a regular basis. Worshipping God and seeking Him was their agenda. They were not casually “opening in prayer” at the beginning of their staff meeting and then rushing into the rest of the agenda.
It is significant that “fasting” was part of the meeting. This may have been a special time of a longer duration set aside by the staff to seek God. The text does not elaborate. They may have stated the year or month with a dedicated time of fasting and seeking God. Some believe they may have ended the week with a day of fasting and worship as leaders. “How” they did it is not mentioned. The fact “that” they set aside time for fasting, prayer and worship is significant.
It was during one of these times of fasting, worship and prayer that Holy Spirit clearly spoke to them as church leaders. They were to set aside Barnabas and Saul “for the work to which I have called them.” They were being sent out by the Holy Spirit.
With this very clear and specific word from the Holy Spirit, they 1) fasted, 2) prayed, 3) laid hands on them, and 4) sent them away. This was a commissioning service for mission work. Verse 4 says, “So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit…” I believe in the importance of a sending church. They had both covering and accountability. They latter reported back to the church at Antioch. (Acts 14:25-28)
What grabs me most in this text is the fervor and intentionality of the leadership in seeking Jesus Christ as the head of the church. This was far from a modern staff meeting or buisness meeting. The Holy Spirit and not the board president was in charge. I realize there is a place for business meetings, but this pictures a radically different and refreshing way of seeking God.
This lines up well with Acts 1:4 to wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit. Every local church needs a way to seek the agenda of the Holy Spirit and not merely the agenda of power brokers in the church. This is the difference between fleshly ministry and Spirit filled and Spirit directed ministry. I have little time or tolerance for carnal ministry at this time in my life. People issues always show up on leadership teams, but intentionality must take place to minimize its influence. Jesus shares His throne with no carnal man or woman.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global