What’s the Holy Spirit Got to Do With It? (with Mike Betts)

Mike Betts is an apostolic leader who oversees the Relational Mission family of churches within Newfrontiers, with churches in the UK,  across Europe and beyond. Mike is based in Lowestoft in Suffolk, and is part of the leadership team of Lowestoft Community Church. In this hangout, Mike shares some of the key things we need to be aware of when it comes to the role of the Holy Spirit in church planting.


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Mike Betts started by acknowledging that he is on a journey when it comes to learning about the work of the Holy Spirit. He shares about four areas of the work of the Holy Spirit in church planting that he has learned to be important.

Baptism of the Holy Spirit

  • This a foundational issue, and should be clearly established in the church from the very beginning.
  • A clear understanding of the importance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit will lead to understanding of the Fatherhood of God, experience of intimacy with the Spirit and freedom in using spiritual gifts.
  • There are different theological views on the baptism of the Spirit, ranging from those who agree with John Wimber that it was given at salvation and we need to outwork it, to those who have the classic pentecostal view that it is a second experience.
  • Mike Betts said that his own view is that it is a second experience.
  • Theologically this is a secondary issue and it is okay for there to be a bandwidth of views on it.
  • Often the outworking (or lack thereof) is more shaped by the pastoral application than by the precise theological formulation of the doctrine. It is important that we pastor people well in this area.
  • We may see this abused at times - but when the Corinthian church abused the gifts, Paul's response wasn't that they should neglect the gifts but that they should use them correctly.
  • We may sometimes see gifts like tongues as old-hat but it is vital to realise their importance for intimacy with God.

Your Own Personal Relationship with the Holy Spirit

  • As leaders, we need to walk in the Spirit and recognise the things that he is doing.
  • Psalm 27 shows the intimacy that David desired with God - and that we should desire too.
  • We need to be ahead of the game so that we can lead people. We need to be constantly learning, observing how others walk in the Spirit, reading, asking questions and journalling.
“You can't serve what you're not cooking.” (John Wimber)

Strategy Should be Based on the Prophetic

  • Many churches base their strategy on something they hear at a conference, or the latest Christian trend.
  • Seek the heart of God for what kind of community he would have you build.
  • God will often share prophetically in great detail about the church he wants you to build.
  • We need to prioritise raising up both prophets and prophetic communities - and we need church leaders who know how to respond to the ministry of prophets.
  • Because there are successful models of church out there, and information is easily accessible online, it is tempting to adopt a model that has worked for someone else - but this doesn't necessarily mean there is prophetic backing for us, and we may not have faith for it in our own situation.
  • Once we are clear on prophetic direction, this shapes our budgets, prayer meetings, teaching, strategy, programming and everything else.

The Holy Spirit & Evangelism

  • Our call is to preach the gospel and to heal the sick.
  • It is essential to demonstrate the authority of the message (through signs and wonders) in order to validate the delivery of the message (through words).
  • At the moment, there is a lot of focus on the articulation of the gospel, but in our culture the need to authenticate it with signs is both Biblical and necessary.

Q&A

1. How do you cultivate an atmosphere that facilitates the Baptism of the Spirit in the early days of a church plant with not many people and an inexperienced worship leader?
  • It depends on the setting you are in and the people that you have.
  • When Mike Betts planted, he kept it simple - encouraged everyone to bring contributions and learn together.
  • If people have a hunger for God, they can jump over the barriers caused by limitations. 
  • We need to create this hunger. Stories and testimonies can help - as can giving responsibilities to different people each week.
  • "If a man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink." (John 7:37)
2. What are some of the things that have led to Mike Betts' breakthrough in seeing more healings recently?
  • It is important to persevere and keep going for it.
  • When it doesn't happen it is easy to internalise it and assume the issue is with you - but you need to realise that it is not about you. Your pride can get in the way of God's flow.
  • Mike Betts realised that it wasn't about him and that he had nothing to fear and nothing to lose. This freed him up and gave him confidence in God.
  • Often we can try to build up an atmosphere, but sometimes keeping it simple and low-key can be better.
3. How much should personal prophecy for you as an individual shape the direction of a whole church?
  • If the church plant flows out of your calling then they should go together hand and glove.
  • If what God is saying to you is doing something totally different to the church plant, then why are you planting the church?
  • There can sometimes be an easy issue around time. God may be saying certain things to you, but they are not for right now.
4. Can you give recent examples of what churches have done to put together a prophetic blueprint for their strategy?
  • Write down everything - make sure all prophecies are recorded.
  • Weigh it - more than just asking whether it is from God, but pull it apart, visualise what it would like, see if it is stirring something within you.
  • Then let it shape the agenda moving forward.
5. What prophecies is Mike Betts personally living with at the moment?
  • Recently God has spoken to Mike through two different sources about a season of multiplying and delegating.
  • Mike has had three different prophecies about asking God for big things in prayer.
6. What things have you seen that have led you to be concerned about churches emphasising strategic models over the prophetic?
  • The prophetic can be a dangerous thing. Like fire it needs safe and secure channels to get the best out of it.
  • This requires wisdom, and we haven't always shown such wisdom.
  • Because of bad experiences with the prophetic, some have thrown out prophecy altogether and instead go to the next conference to find out what is working and do that,
  • The good can be an enemy of the great.

Recommended Resources

To delve deeper into this topic, we would recommend the following books: 

Mike has also written the following excellent book:

Note - If you buy these books using the affiliate links above, Broadcast will receive a commission from Amazon to help more churches get planted, at no additional cost to you.