This is a stand alone article. But it would be good to read the article ‘A Call for Prophets’ first. It shows the importance of prophets and why we need their gift.
Pastor, how do you pastor a prophet? Just like you do anyone else. The point of this article is we don’t treat them any differently because of their office. Prophets need a pastor like everyone else. Do not put this office above the other offices thinking because they hear God regularly in often dramatic ways that the rest of their life is in order. Not true. The gift is substantial, but everyone still needs guidance, understanding and love for the rest of their life. Here are some pointers.
Be a Friend
Be a friend because they are a person first and not just a gift. Get to know their family and situations. Ask about their marriage, children, hobbies, financial situations, job, and relationships. Care for them.
Don’t ask if they have something from God for you. Don’t ask for a word. I can’t recall ever having asked prophets or even prophetic people for a word for me personally. Your source is God, not them. If they have a word, they will give it to you. Do not use them as your personal word giver. It is the wrong use of the gift and makes them feel their worth is in their gift and not who they are. Do you ask your worship leader to sing you a song? Do you ask a teacher in your church to give you a commentary on a Bible passage? Just ask them how they are doing.
Be a Pastor
Here are some areas that are common among prophetic people that you can help with.
Prophetic people often have to deal with rejection because of their gift. There are often many woundings. This is because most people do not recognize the gift and don’t understand how it works. Tell them that this is the norm among prophets. They are not being singled out. It comes with the territory. Take them through inner healing for the rejection. Tell them how their gift works and how it intimidates people. It intimidates people because they don’t understand the gift. They think the prophet can ‘see through’ them. This is insecurity on their part. This is not their fault, but a lack of teaching in the church.
Because of the rejection, social isolation is a common defense mechanism. Show them a safe place through your friendship. Show them they are in a family and how we are growing together. As a pastor, teach others to not treat them with some kind of wrong awe and wonder.
Help them to develop a love for the church. This is often hard because of the rejection from the church. Stress how the church is Jesus’ body. When we love the church, we are loving Jesus. The church is so important to Jesus, and when we fall in love with him, we will fall in love with what he loves.
When you are pastoring prophetic people, be patient. Often, prophetic people don’t want to be pastored because they think they can hear God better than you. Ignore this attitude. That is not the issue. Life is more than getting prophetic words. We all need help with emotions, parenting, finances, marriage, money issues, relationship issues, etc. Many times prophetic people don’t want to share that they have problems. This comes from a wrong view of their gift. They think because they get words from God, if they share problems they have, that people will doubt the validity of their gift. Emphasize that it is no different with anyone else. We all have gifts. But we also have a soul and body that needs to be developed too.
Prophets can be serious people. Encourage them to have fun, get hobbies, do ‘non-spiritual’ stuff. In fact, emphasize it is necessary to be whole healthy people. Tell them they don’t have to pray 24/7 and read their Bibles constantly.
Focus on Their Own Family Relationships
Encourage prophets to grow in their personal life with spouses and children. Teach them to be the best that they can be as mothers, fathers, husbands, and wives.
Be a Father
A father loves and gives guidance, even correction, as necessary. Do not be intimidated when they say they have heard from God. Maybe they have, maybe they haven’t. Respect the gift, but also you must judge the gift. You can hear from God too.
1 Corinthians 14:29-32 (NIV) Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.
Judging the words and mentoring the gift is not persecution. Because of rejection, prophets often think they are being persecuted. This is not true. There is a distinction between persecution and correction. When someone corrects you in the right way, it is a sign they care for you. When correction comes from a father who loves you, it is to help you grow in your gift and to find your place.
Hebrews 12:5-6 (NIV) And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
This passage is talking about the Lord’s discipline to us as sons and daughters. But the Lord will often use other spiritual fathers in our lives to bring correction to us.
Encourage Character Growth
To be the best we can be, our character development has to match up with our gifting level. Lovingly, guide them through character issues you see.
Encourage Biblical Understanding
Mature prophets have learned the Word of God just like they have learned how to navigate dreams, encounters, words, revelation, etc.
John 4:23-24 (NIV) But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
I am excited. God is bringing together apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists, and pastors in a team that walks with each other that is tearing down the gates of hell!
Good article! I’ve wrestled with when and how to use this gift for years. Obviously as I matured things became a little less awkward. Still I don’t like anyone to say anything about it because I have personally been involved in the rejection and being treated like a freak show and both combined with my own insecurities drove me deep into depression. I pray this gets a million reads because the church needs to hear this. Thank you for putting light on this.