“Our greatest joy and impact is to act with the presence and power of the Spirit to serve others” (Journey of the Soul, Chapter 8).
Characteristics of the S Stage
Many people do not experience the S Stage of Spirit-Led Ministry, but if you do, it’s probably not until after age 40 or older, though some “old souls” experience it earlier in life. The symbol of this stage is a sailboat because you’re learning to power your boat by catching the wind of the Spirit in your sail, rather than by paddling hard. In the S Stage you return to the ministry activity of the R Stage (after a quieter, slower season in the I Stage) but with a new dependence on the Holy Spirit that brings greater joy, power, and fruitfulness (Acts 1:8).
In the S Stage of Spirit-Led Ministry we not only do our work for God, as we did in the Responsibilities in Ministry stage, now we’re learning to do our work with God. The intimacy with God that we developed in the Inner Journey stage flows into our service and daily activities.
At the S Stage you may have to navigate a Dark Night of the Soul, which is a prolonged season of spiritual dryness where God’s face feels hidden from you (e.g. Psalm 13:1). If you experience this roadblock and distrust God it may become a wall where you feel stuck in your growth.
God’s Grace for the S Stage: Surprising Blessings to Share
You grow in Spirit-Led Ministry by prayerfully waiting on God before important decisions (2 Sam. 5:24, Gal. 5:25). You can learn to live and work in Jesus’ easy yoke, his “rhythms of grace” (Matt. 11:28 MSG), which enables you to joyfully serve others.
Hearing God’s Voice
Following the lead of the Spirit of Jesus is central to the spirituality of the S Stage, whether that means hearing God’s still, small voice (1 Kings 19:11-13) or sensing the Spirit’s presence. There are a variety of distinguishing marks to experiencing a word or touch from the Lord (Journey of the Soul, pp. 178-181). Here are the top three:
- Consistent with the Bible
- Calm authority
- Exalted peace and sweet reasonableness
Growth in the S Stage
There are eight soul care practices that are especially important for being healthy and loving in the S Stage (Journey of the Soul, pp. 187-191). The top three are:
- Watching and praying to act with the Holy Spirit
- Abandoning outcomes to God
- Listening to God in Scripture and daily life
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25).
Spiritual Direction Tip
“While you listen to people share, shoot up silent little arrow prayers for them like, ‘Jesus care for my friend’” (Journey of the Soul Leader Guide, p. 76).