Rev David Pleuss tells the story of what has happened in his church after he first attending PRMI’s Growing the Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit conference.
Chris Walker: This is Chris Walker on staff with PRMI. One of our programs that we have at PRMI is a retreat for pastors, in particular in church leadership that’s called “Growing the Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit.”
With me is Pastor David Pleuss. He’s got a wonderful story to tell. David, tell me a little bit about your experience being a first time pastor in a church where you’re serving.
David Pleuss: I came out and got my first call to pastor and was really excited about it. Seeking the benefit of the church, obviously, and excited about what the Lord is going to do.
I quickly realized that as wonderful as seminary was, I didn’t have all the tools that I needed.
It was evidence in part by experience. After two months of being the pastor, I got my first call for somebody who was experiencing spiritual warfare. I had no idea what to do with that.
I quickly got in contact with a friend who had some experience and said, “Hey, you need to help me because I’m in over my head here.”
Chris Walker: You had wonderful intellectual training, but here in the spiritual reality, you were thinking, “What do I do?”
David Pleuss: I realized that as much as I could study the books, study all these things, there was something that was still missing. Something I needed still.
Chris Walker: Out of that experience, you also told me you found a friend whose experiences were beginning to challenge you a little bit.
David Pleuss: He actually went with me to meet those people. In general, we quickly became very close friends.
His testimony and his ministry was showing me so much more of what the Lord could do than what I expected the Lord to be able to do.
Seeing things like miraculous healings coming out of their ministry and other addictions being broken from just having been prayed over.
And I’m thinking, “No, you gotta go through months and months and months of stuff in order to actually have these addictions be broken.”
But yet, they were testifying of people getting set free just by the power of God. I was like, “There is something here that I need.”
Chris Walker: I can hear that intellectual curiosity. But I also hear rthe desire to be a pastor, a person of the Word and you want to make sure these things are Biblically right.
As he was kind of stretching you, how did it come to the point where you knew that you wanted more and how did you find your way to PRMI?
David Pleuss: Yeah, so as we continued to grow closer as friends, he took me to some conferences and stuff to teach me and that sort of thing.
I also, being a Presbyterian minister I wanted to make sure that what I was learning and what I was going to be teaching would be, in Scripture, would be consistent with what I believe!
Many of the ministries I was going to didn’t necessarily have that guarantee because they weren’t from our reform tradition. I was at our general assembly, talking about this renewal our church was having and that I personally was having, and my experiencing of the Lord in a new and a fresh way.
Some of the people from our denomination said, “Hey, you gotta talk to these folks at PRMI.”
I didn’t know what those four letters even meant. Soon after, I found the booth for PRMI and began this relationship with this wonderful organization.
Chris Walker: In that, somehow you encountered our book called “Growing the Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit” and found your way to the conference.
To bring people to this conference, it’s five days, so it’s a risk, it’s a time away from your family.
When you finally brought people, what did you experience and how, what was the big take away from this event?
David Pleuss: Both myself and the other person that came with me from our church, we both experienced the Lord in a profoundly new way, in a great encounter with him.
We both had a lot of inner healing that took place, but on top of that we both went back with a renewed passion for the church and a love for the church.
We also went back with a lot of tools and tips for how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and ministry, instead of just trying to do it on our own strength and our own ideas, to really rely on the Spirit for what he was going to do instead of what I wanted to do.
Chris Walker: How would you describe the impact on your session and on your church’s leadership having gone through that book and that conference?
David Pleuss: Over the last couple of years we’ve seen this continual growth in our leadership.
I’d say, spiritually, we are committing things to prayer. We’re slowing down more to say, “Okay, before we just go ahead with what our fleshly minds think we should do,” we’re slowing down and saying, “Lord, what do you want us to do?”
And (the joy!), we actually love our session meetings now.
Our last one went for about an hour and half longer than they used to, because we were just having so much fun together as we were praying a lot together. We’re seeking the Lord and it was just a wonderful, joyous time.
Chris Walker: One of the dynamics in the “Growing the Church” material is koinonia. So that happens.
It’s been a while since you’ve been to the conference, is there something you’d like to share about what has that meant for your church?
Has there been a greater openness to the Holy Spirit? Has there been a sense of following the Lord better?
What’s kind of an outcome of having taken the leadership there?
David Pleuss: I think we’ve continually been growing our openness to the Spirit and to what he’s going to do and seeking him in that.
We had a wonderful outpouring of the Spirit. It was about six week ago now.
The Spirit guided us into a time of healing and to offer a healing for both physical and emotional needs, for addiction and these kinds of things.
By the end of it, by the time we were done with this incredibly long worship service that included lots of prayer, lots of testimonies. We saw people just being set free and healings, that sort of thing.
In our small congregation, (I think there was maybe 70 people there that day), we had over 10 encounters with the Lord:
- People who decided to come up forward for prayer
- of physical healings
- of emotional freedom,
- of addictions being broken.
And we keep finding out about them too.
I just found out about one last week. It was from my friend who was at a gas station with somebody. They came up and said, “How about that healing service?”
And then he just started sharing his testimony of how he experienced the physical healing. And he didn’t even get prayed for.
Chris Walker: I think it’s really neat.
When we started the interview, you were kind of intellectually skeptic, you wanted to make sure it fit in reformed theology and here you are leading a healing service and it’s happening.
“Growing the Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit” is written up in a book you can get on Amazon or from our ministry’s website HERE.
It’s also a conference that our ministry offers, currently a five day event and there is time for you and your church leadership team to get away, reflect, find some time for personal healing, personal time as well.
If “Growing the Church” as a conference is something that’s interesting to you, you can find somewhere around this particular video and page, a little bit more information about that conference and about how you and your church can benefit from it.
I bought the book, Growing the Church. Please pray for me as I pursue my studies in the books and studies on the PRMI website. I am 75 years-old and have been a christian for 70 years but have never had a Holy Spirit experience like you talk about.