Written in 2007
INTERVIEW WITH Astrid Aiyadurai on Anointing in Ministry
Informed Consent Cover Letter for Use of Questionnaire
The research in which you are about to participate is designed to investigate “The Anointing of the Holy Spirit and its Relevance for Ministry Today.” This research project is being conducted by Astrid Aiyadurai Doctor of Ministry student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. In this research you will be asked to respond to the following questions as accurately and objectively as possible. Please be assured that any information that you provide will be held in strict confidence. At no time will your name be reported along with your responses. Please understand that your participation in this research is totally voluntary and you are free to withdraw at any time during this study.
By your completion of this questionnaire you are giving informed consent for the use of your responses in this research project.
List of Questions for Questionnaire
- How would you define the anointing of the Holy Spirit? As a special enabling for a specific service we have been asked to perform.
- From your perspective, what are some of the differing theological positions regarding the anointing of the Holy Spirit and its relevance from ministry today? I think some take it as being associated with certain sign type gifts. Others tend to downplay the subjective aspect and view it something like a call to ministry.
- Was the anointing of the Holy Spirit part of your conversion experience or was it a separate experience, subsequent to conversion? I see it more as a thing that is specifically related to things I do for God. So it was neither of the above.
- What is your understanding of the sealing of the Spirit at conversion and the unction/anointing of the Holy Spirit as empowerment for ministry? Sealing takes place at conversion when we are incorporated into the family of God. Unction/anointing relates more to service.
- In what ways and to what extent has the anointing of the Holy Spirit impacted your personal life and spiritual walk with the Lord? It is vital to me. My greatest fear in life (#1) is that I will minister without the anointing. People may not realize it as I have developed abilities but I will be a castaway!
- In what ways and to what extent has the anointing of the Holy Spirit impacted your ministry? I believe I have a freedom to minister and a confidence even though I am a very timid person because of the knowledge that I have been equipped by the Holy Spirit.
- What are some of the recognizable marks of the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the life and ministry of a Christian minister? Freedom in ministry. Spiritual authority that is a natural outflow of God’s presence in us rather than a forced show of strength.
- From your perspective, what are some of the blessings and benefits of an anointed ministry? Being driven along by the Spirit as he moves. Without that I would be labouring to produce without joy, without urgency, without passion.
- From your perspective, what are some of the challenges a minister faces while being actively involved in an anointed ministry today? Pride and self reliance. When we become public people we can neglect the private and personal which is most important. we can begin to feed on our ministry rather than on the Lord. There is a close tie between spirituality and sexuality—so we could become susceptible to sexual temptation especially after ministering powerfully in the spiritual realm.
- In what ways and to what extent, do you believe you could learn from the areas of strength, of those who have a different theological stance from you, regarding the anointing of the Holy Spirit and its relevance for ministry? A lot. The charismatics teach me to believe in God and to act boldly. The Reformed folks teach me to remember that our most powerful weapon is the word.
- In what ways and to what extent do you think you have you sought or would you desire to seek to embrace and appropriate these areas of strength in your own context of ministry? I would like to pray for the needy with more faith.
- In what ways and to what extent do you have concerns about the weaknesses in the lives and ministries of those who have a different theological stance from you, regarding the anointing of the Holy Spirit and its relevance for ministry? I see charismatics neglecting the word in the way they minister—that is using it like a book with spells to perform magic rather than our constant companion directing all we do. I see personal holiness neglected and covered up because of public displays of spiritual power and other ignoring the shortcoming again because of the power of the ministry which seems to be all we are concerned about—a marketing orientation to ministry.
- In what ways and to what extent do you think it is important to seek to understand and bring solutions to these needs and concerns in the Body of Christ? I believe it is urgent. If we who speak and minister with power do not shape up our lives, one day people will become skeptical about truth itself and assume that it is not necessary to follow what the Bible teaches. Then we could have a dark age of nominalism which will hit the charismatic churches.
- From you personal experience, in what ways and to what extent do you believe you have sought, or do you believe you need to seek, to understand and build bridges and network, with those who have a different theological stance from you, regarding the anointing of the Holy Spirit and its relevance for ministry today? I see this as very important and I have personally tried to do this as much as I can. I do it out of the belief in body of Christ theology.
- What do you believe will be the benefits of building of bridges and seeking to network in cross-denominational leadership in the Body of Christ? We will earn from each other. We will not see so many splits and people leaving churches and going to other churches. We would reduce the scandal of our divisions before the unbelieving world.
- What do you believe will be the challenges to this process of seeking to build bridges and network in cross-denominational leadership in the Body of Christ? No theology of the body—so people do not think it is necessary. Only when we have a common threat like persecution or a common blessing like a world famous evangelist who is in Sri Lanka do we seem to get together. We have got so marketing and free enterprise oriented that we do not feel bad about competing with others. Pastors are sometimes insecure and like to protect their flock from outside influences which might result in a reduction of their status in their churches.
- From your perspective, what are some of the guiding principles for a Christian minister to receive and retain a lifelong anointing in ministry? Make sure you have regular warm time with the Lord. Walk in the light with your team/accountability group. Have a group that you are accountable to. Keep feeding on the word and remain fresh through being alone with God. Divest! Divest! Divest! As we grow more and more opportunities come. We have to say no to those and drop things which keep us from doing what is right. Keep doing personal ministry for the challenge and desperation of battling for individual souls is a great incentive to spiritual depth. DON’T live with anger. Battle anger like the plague. BEWARE OF personal ambition—it can make you focus on your advancement and squeeze God out of your life. Instead die daily; daily ask “what do you want me to crucify today.” Then there will be room for God to be our only source of joy.
- From your perspective, do you believe a Christian minister can lose the anointing of the Holy Spirit in his or her ministry, and if so, due to what reasons? Due to not doing the things mentioned in #17
- From your years of ministry experience, what insights would you share with another minister who desires an anointed ministry that impacts the lives of people? See point 17.
- Why is the anointing of the Holy Spirit vital in the life of a minister/leader today? Ministry is all of grace. With our abilities we may be able to do some impressive work for people to see. But from God’s perspective it will all be burned up at the judgment. We must labour to work only in the Spirit.