It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13
Actually you need apostles, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and prophets all stirred into your church to be mature! Jesus is committed to His Church’s maturity and the stirring is going on.
The prophets and the prophetic are coming! I want to share some thoughts about their arrival.
PROPHETS ARE COMING AND MOST WILL BE IMMATURE
I don’t want to be guilty of putting this gift on a pedestal because each gift has something unique it brings to the body of Christ. Most of the other offices like teacher, pastor, and evangelist are accepted so I don’t talk about them as much. The unique gift of the prophets is that they are the eyes that help expand our vision as to what is happening in the spiritual realm.
God is bringing people called to this office to Churches that are open. I am confident that most won’t be trained, maybe even immature. It’s nice to have people come who are already mature, but this is usually not the case. So we are to get good at maturing people and helping them discover their gifts.
WHY MANY MINISTRIES DON’T PURSUE THE PROPHETIC
Maturing people produce messes. It is a fact of life, including spiritual life. So we must be willing to clean up messes when we take on the challenge of discipling people. This also includes prophetic people. Since prophetic people are vocal many of their messes are more public. This is OK! Don’t be afraid of that. There will be failures. We have to expect it and learn from it. We can’t condemn people who make honest mistakes and repent. We need to be a place where people can prophesy wrong and then learn from their mistakes. This is why many ministries back off from pursuing this gift. I can understand but the rewards will far outweigh the mess. We have to always remember that maturity is something we grow up into.
Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 1 Corinthians 14:19
LEAD BY FAITH AND NOT FEAR
We can’t be a ministry that is led by fear of what might happen but faith in what might happen! So many people are afraid of false prophets (1 John 4:1) so they don’t pursue the true prophet. But the scriptures also tell us to watch out for false teachers (1 Peter 2:1-3) and false apostles (2 Corinthians 11:13). It also tell us there are bad shepherds (pastoral gift) (Ezekial 34). Do we stop developing teachers, apostles, and pastors too? Of course, not.
2 COUNTERFEIT PROPHETIC SPIRITS
As we continue in this journey our discernment levels as leaders will grow. We can’t be wrongly fascinated by the prophetic but we do honor it. We do this with any gift. We honor teachers but we do not put them on a pedestal. We honor pastors but we do not exultant them higher than they should be.
There are 2 counterfeit prophetic spirits that we will grow in discernment of:
1. Witchcraft – False Manipulative Spiritual Authority. True prophets point people to hear from God not to control them.
2. Religious Spirit – False Leading of the Holy Spirit that requires a performance mentality.
2 THINGS WE HAVE LEARNED
We have learned 2 things in the past which will may help you in identifying and training prophetic people.
1. Open Communication in Your Team. When in doubt share with someone what you see. Get feedback. Every leader is approachable. There is no ‘King of the Hill’ or someone too anointed to be talked too. False spirits try to divide and not bring together. Open communication in your team exposes the wrong spirit.
2. Don’t Promote Too Fast. Enough said. I have been hurt by this on several occasions. We have an default rule that someone is not promoted to an ordained office until we have walked with them for a minimum of 3 years. We have found it takes this long to discern a person’s true ambitions and character.
I am excited about how Jesus is creating an atmosphere where all fivefold gifts can be identified, trained, and released in His Church. When this happens people under their influence will see great progress and maturity.
What do you think?