ISSUE 006 SPRING 2013
DEVELOPING THE PROPHETIC ENGINE
DEVELOPMENT OF PROPHETIC MINISTRY IS A CLEAR PRIORITY FOR OUR GLOBAL FAMILY OF CHURCHES. IN 2012 SENIOR APOSTOLIC AND PROPHETIC LEADERS MET AT AN INTERNATIONAL PROPHETIC CONFERENCE , RESOLVING TO WORK ON THE LEVEL OF PROPHETIC, PRAYER AND PRESENCE IN OUR CHURCHES. DOUG & DENISE KREIGHBAUM LEAD THE ‘C2C’ FAMILY OF CHURCHES IN USA (WWW.ECCLESIA413.COM). DOUG BLOGS AT WWW.DOUGKREIGHBAUM.COM
I have had the great privilege over the years of being around many prophets. Over and over I have seen firsthand the importance of prophetic ministry. Prophets have a unique place in building church and kingdom. Harnessed with apostles and other gifts, they provide ingredients of a foundation that local churches cannot do without. The prophetic desire can simply be defined as “being immediately connected to, hearing from, and responding to the Lord.” Like our human body needs to
PUBLISHED BY SALT & LIGHT MINISTRIES AN INTERNATIONAL FAMILY OF CHURCHES TOGETHER ON MISSION Editorial team Steve Thomas (UK), John Isaacs (USA/Canada), Stanley Mehta (India), Ngwiza Mnkandla (Africa) Editor Andy O’Connell email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org www.saltlight.org +44 (0)1865 297440
receive signals from the brain to properly work, the prophetic desire wants the church to connect with the signals from Christ and live by them. Prophets tend to believe that the most important thing for the church is to encounter God in a real way, right now. Prophets want to bring change in God’s presence. They help ‘build altars’ where people encounter the Lord, and come away changed. They perceive what the Holy Spirit is saying and doing then work to bring people into an encounter with him. Prophets, like the other Ephesians 4 gifts, should be equipping the church so she will be prophetic. It is a glorious thing when prophets consistently equip the life of a local church. Out of their equipping, moving in their gifts and living their lives among the people, others are moved to seek to be more sensitive to God. When I am around prophets, I feel motivated to be more in tune with God. I want to seek him and hear him. Out of a simple conversation with a prophet I want to seek and encounter Jesus. It is a wonderful thing to have a prophetic engine running in the church all the time. If the prophetic element is lacking, we subtly drift into a form of Christian deism (the belief that God is distant and never intervenes in human affairs). Teachers can theologically and accurately state the truths of the Bible. The pastor can create a church with strong family values that nourish people. The evangelist will encourage the church to share their faith and lead others to Christ. As important as those things are, they can be more people-focused than heavenlyfocused. Any perspective that lacks a sense of heaven’s present activity will tend to reduce goals of teaching, caring, mission, and evangelism as limited from what can be done with earth’s power >> and resources instead of heaven’s.
IN THIS ISSUE Developing the prophetic engine 1 Pneumatology 101 2 The making and mentoring of prophetic people 4 Gathering to go somewhere? 6 Find your voice 7 Changing nations 9 Prophets in team 11
Prophets need to develop their gifts, but also grow in life. This is best accomplished in the context of the local church. It only makes sense that if one of your primary callings is to equip the church, then a large part of your development should be within the context of the church. Prophets need to grow in character, gifting (learning to hear, see, and feel the Spirit, and release prophetic gifting), and learning how to walk as a family/team. All are best accomplished in a local church setting. This can be a problem because of the sensitivity of the typical prophet. They can easily develop a sense of rejection causing them to head for a cave! This puts them in a cycle of rejection, isolation, and weirdness that repeats itself and takes them out of development and usefulness. It is important for leaders to have organized prophetic development programs for churches I also believe strongly in the discipleship process that occurs in the day to day life of the church. It provides something essential for ongoing development. I think this is why the first thing Jesus insisted on at the Last Supper was getting His disciples to serve and love each other in an everyday life example of foot washing (John 13:1-34). There is an essential perspective that prophets need to have shaped in them that is best accomplished in everyday church life. It is the reality that they need to be 100% prophet while understanding that they are also part of a larger team. If prophets, and other fivefold gifts don’t get this, they will be very limited in their development and usefulness. Here are a few examples I have seen of this process. Once a prophet gave input for direction in a gathering that was very different than the rest of his team. He felt ‘sackcloth and ashes’ while the rest of the team felt contending in militant prayer and praise. When the team went the direction of contending he promptly went back to the front row, got on his knees and bowed his head. All this while everyone else was standing and contending. I discretely walked over and inquired why he was kneeling while the leaders and others were on their feet contending. “I feel like this is what God wants.” It was in that moment I was able to help him see what it means to be part of a team, how his reactions influenced others, and how he needed to trust God that if the team was missing it, God would redeem it later. At another larger gathering of several churches a young prophet had been up front during a ministry time giving input to the leaders of the meeting. They took a direction that he wasn’t comfortable with. He promptly left the front area and went back to the third row and sat down. Everyone who watched knew how to read his body language. He had to be instructed on how to avoid the ‘prophetic pout’ and work in team. While these were challenging situations it is also very important to remember prophets need much encouragement. Don’t mistake public boldness for private security. If we are faithful in helping develop the prophets then we will “receive the prophet’s reward”. This article first appeared as a ‘trailer’ in the summer 2012 edition of Leader
STEVE THOMAS LEADS THE SALT & LIGHT INTERNATIONAL APOSTOLIC TEAM, AND HAS MANY YEARS’ EXPERIENCE OF APOSTLES AND PROPHETS WORKING TOGETHER. BASED IN OXFORD, UK, HE AND LORRAINE TRAVEL EXTENSIVELY, COACHING LEADERS AND HELPING THEM SHAPE THEIR STRATEGY, AS WELL AS PREACHING AND TEACHING THEOLOGY.
Prophetic ministry is peculiarly tied up with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, and motivated and inspired by the Holy Spirit. That is why, as best we can, we need to understand how the Holy Spirit works and moves, in order also to understand how prophetic ministry works. This study of how the Holy Spirit operates is called Pneumatology by theologians and Bible students, hence our title. Having said this, as soon as we begin to think about the Holy Spirit, we recognise arenas of mystery, and things that we cannot ‘tie down’. This is our challenge: to try to articulate, understand and explain things that, by nature, are mysterious and beyond our comprehension.
A SPEAKING SPIRIT!
I remember many years ago when I first started encountering prophetic and revelatory ministry. I encountered people like Ian Andrews, who for years has exercised a powerful ‘word of knowledge’ and healing ministry, or John Paul Jackson, who clearly moves in a revelatory and prophetic ministry for people and situations. I was powerfully impacted with a sense of amazement and wonder, when I saw God showing that he knows and understands intimate details of people’s lives. I was not really surprised that God knew all of that detail, of course, but that he showed it to other individuals who spoke on God’s behalf. The more I have worked with people like Bryn Franklin and others, the more amazed I have become with the sense of God’s care, his intimate knowledge of his people, and his desire to bless them and do them good, by healing or deliverance or promise of blessing. Equally, God has spoken through people when the church has been at a crossroads, bringing direction and clarity, and providing a strong platform of faith to move ahead – I love it, value it, appreciate it, and definitely believe we need more of it!
A MYSTERIOUS SPIRIT!
But there is still a sense of mystery. Even the pictures of the Holy Spirit used in the Bible – he’s like wind, or fire, or water, or oil, or the dove – show us that one picture won’t adequately describe how the Holy Spirit works – we need a combination. And sometimes, he acts more
in one way, sometimes more in another. The picture of the wind tells us we see his effects, but we have no clue, as Jesus himself said (John 3:8), where he comes from or where he is going to. Fire speaks of a powerful impact in our lives to change and renew us (e.g. Acts 2:3). The dove speaks of the peace of God descending, often to bring a sense of identity and security (accompanied by the word “This is my beloved son/daughter, in whom I am well pleased”).
• he leads us in the ways of God (Galatians 5:18; Romans 8:14)
It is true that sometimes prophetic ministry can be very tender, bringing encouragement and hope; other times, it can be fairly disturbing, conveying the need for change, and the intention of God for change; and other times, it brings a revelation of things to come in the plans and purposes of God. We cannot say it is just one thing or the other. Just as the Holy Spirit operates in a variety of ways, the prophet can and will operate with a variety of manifestations. All the more reason for the prophet to spend time in the presence of God to hear what he is saying and how he wants to speak and act.
• he is grieved by our sinfulness (Ephesians 4:30)
A DIVERSE SPIRIT!
A quick review of the New Testament reveals a remarkable list of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the new era of church life when the Holy Spirit has become powerfully active (which must still be true in our age!).
• he searches all things (1 Corinthians 2:10) • he helps believers understand the importance of the gospel (1 Corinthians 2:13) • he dwells among or within believers (1 Corinthians 3:16; Romans 8:11; 2 Timothy 1:14) • he accomplishes all things (1 Corinthians 2:11 – NB! Without the Holy Spirit, nothing can be accomplished) • he gives life to all who believe (2 Corinthians 3:6) • he cries out within our hearts (Galatians 4:6)
• he bears witness with our own spirits (Romans 8:16) • he helps us in our weakness in prayer (Romans 8:26) and intercedes on our behalf (Romans 8:27) • he works things for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28) • he strengthens believers (Ephesians 3:16) Moreover, when the Holy Spirit is at work, there is a powerful fruit in our lives of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control! (Galatians 5:22-23). As I look at this list, I see a list of all the personal attributes of God. When the Holy Spirit is at work, God himself comes and brings his own nature, character and fruit. That’s what the prophet wants – all the time!
A REVEALING SPIRIT
One of the major features of the Holy Spirit’s work is to bring revelation. I watched this literally happening in a special way on a recent teaching weekend in France. In France, there is a Joshua Training Course, now with a first year and a second year. They gather all participants together for two weekends per year, and then work through webinars and mentoring relationships for the rest of the year. I was teaching both years at different times, but feeling quite ill myself, as I was in the midst of significant back pain. On the Saturday morning, I taught the first year students on the nature of the kingdom of God, recounting some of the parables of Jesus, as he tries to explain to his disciples how different God’s kingdom is from the way people think about life in this world. I watched as lights went on in people’s eyes and faces, and revelation came; afterwards people said to me: “It’s so clear, it’s so simple, it’s so different!” >>
I then went to teach the second years in the afternoon on Paul’s vision of the church in Ephesians. It was late afternoon, I was tired, and they all looked like I felt! I prayed one of those “help!” prayers, and asked the Holy Spirit to help us. As we taught the book of Ephesians, I watched lights coming on in people’s eyes again. After 45-50 minutes, everyone was alert, attentive and excited. I stopped, and suggested we needed to pray. One after another people prayed about the excitement in their hearts and spirits about this vision of church – then started prophesying about the new thing God was going to do in the church in France. It was amazing, and all the Holy Spirit. That’s why prophets want the Holy Spirit so badly. He’s the Great Revealer! To cut this down to its bare minimum, the Holy Spirit reveals:
• God’s will to prophets and apostles: 2 Peter 1:21; Matthew 22:43; Acts 1:16; 4:25; 28:25; John 16:13 • God’s presence: Numbers 11.25-6; Judges, everywhere; 1 Samuel 10:6,10; John 1:32; Acts 2:2-3; John 7:39. The Holy Spirit brings recognisable evidence that God is at work. • God’s ways: Mark 1:12; Acts 8:39-40; 1 Kings 18:12; Ezekiel 11:1; Galatians 5:18. • God’s assurance: Romans 8:16; 1 John 4:13 When the Holy Spirit comes, he reveals truth, wisdom, comfort, freedom, righteousness, hope, awareness of sonship, glory, unity and power! His role is clearly vital in all that we do!
A PROPHETIC SPIRIT!
Prophets are bound up with this Holy Spirit dimension. Their desire is to see God reveal the fullness of his presence, will and majesty. They are called to live in God’s presence, to find his perspective and the revelation of God’s heart. They are prayers and intercessors, precisely because they understand God’s heart and will. They will end up being prophetic wherever they are, in society, the marketplace or a corporate meeting. They want people to encounter God, and therefore to change. It is often the case that, in our immaturity, we look to prophets to bring us some dazzlingly new revelation from God, and prophets, in their immaturity, strive to impress us with some profound ‘seventh heaven’ reflection that takes us increasingly into speculative realms. This is not the life of the OT or NT prophet, not at all. The prophets stood firmly in the context of God’s covenant relationship with his people, and constantly called a somewhat wayward people back to God’s will and his ways and his love. May God raise up in our day many such prophets who stand in the presence of God and who are anointed by the Holy Spirit to bring a revelation of God’s heart to his people in church and world!
THE MAKING AND MENTORING OF PROPHETIC PEOPLE
TOM BEDFORD IS PART OF THE APOSTOLIC TEAM SUPPORTING THE COAST TO COAST (C2C) FAMILY OF CHURCHES IN USA. A PROPHET BY GIFTING, TOM IS CURRENTLY LEADING A CHURCH PLANT IN FRESNO, CALIFORNIA, WITH HIS WIFE ANDREA.
An ever-present challenge for a dynamic apostolic missional movement is the need to build strong leadership teams. For such a ministry team to be effective, especially one comprised of diverse five-fold ministry gifts, the prophet’s gift must be brought into balance with the other gifts. At times it can be challenging for the prophetic gift to flow smoothly, particularly where prophetic people are underdeveloped or lack experience with the prophetic dynamic. The intended benefit of the gift often gets lost! But, with understanding and patience regarding how prophetic people are developed and mentored, the church will see the restoration of prophetic grace so that all may be edified.
PROPHETIC PEOPLE ARE SHAPED BY THEIR EXPERIENCE AND ENCOUNTERS
The Lord often reveals himself to prophetic people supernaturally. This is exemplified through such Old Testament prophets as Moses, Samuel, Jeremiah, and others. For example, the Lord appeared to Moses in Exodus 3:1-4:17 in a severe encounter that became his commission and the pattern for his entire ministry. When prophetic people describe these extreme, extraordinary God encounters, it can be unsettling to those like pastors and teachers to whom God often reveals himself more through
study and conceptual dialogue. These differences in how God makes himself known to people of particular grace-gifts can complicate how they relate to and understand one another. To make matters worse, these supernatural encounters often seem to happen to unprepared people whose first response is to explain their experiences in weird ways, or make them out to be God’s best friend! It is no wonder, then, the early church leaders had to process Saul’s dramatic vision on the road to Damascus in Acts 9. Believing that the man out to imprison them was now one of them, based solely upon his account of a supernatural God-encounter, required great faith! They had good reason to doubt both his story and his character!
Such struggles between prophets and church leaders are familiar to me personally. When I was a young university student, the Lord began to call and reveal himself to me supernaturally through visions and severe God-encounters. Deeply undone and perplexed by this new development in my walk with Jesus for which I had no contemporary example, I immediately sought out pastors and leaders in my life to see if they could help me understand what was happening. Although they tried to help, it was difficult for them to reconcile the fact that a much newer believer was having such dramatic God-encounters and even more unsettling that these encounters produced the ability to demonstrate supernatural power. In the end they simply admitted they did not know what to do with me and set me aside, not wanting to deal with what I was bringing. As a result, I ended up going to a highprofile charismatic church that welcomed the prophetic but exploited it for their desire for personal ministry gain. Neither of these environments was helpful in mentoring me in my prophetic call.
PROPHETIC PEOPLE NEED TO BE DISCIPLED
However, if prophetic individuals receive appropriate guidance and care, their gifts can be developed to bring great power and encouragement to the church over time. Like any called person, prophetic people need to be discipled. The continual mentoring of character, content, style, and speech will help prophetic people bring a clear signal to the church and be vessels that carry prophetic grace admirably. Something to be aware of is that one of the most common struggles for prophetic types is the character issue of insecurity. Due to the spiritual nature of what prophetic people see and hear, they often feel outside the general Christian culture. Moreover, they live under the constant attack of the devil to shut down both the light they bring that exposes darkness and their ability to open up heaven over dry places. These things make it easy to understand why prophetic people often struggle. Even Paul had to endure the warfare of a messenger of Satan due to the greatness of the revelation he was receiving so that power would be perfected in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
Since prophetic people struggle with insecurity, it is critical when dealing with their character to understand they tend to take correction as rejection. A lot of encouragement and nurturing should be used, along with a careful and considerate use of correction. Also, because the temptation towards insecurity can cause them to get their identity out of their ministry, they must be encouraged not to elevate their gifting above godly character and sound doctrine. Through gentle, patient handling, they need to be continually pointed to the study of the Word and prayer for their content to remain within scriptural boundaries.
EVERY PROPHET IS UNIQUE
Prophetic people need opportunities to communicate what they are experiencing to mentors who can help bring clarity to these experiences. Due to the passion prophetic people live in, their personal agendas can become confused with spiritual substance. It is critical to talk them through their intense internal processes to help them sort what is truly the word of the Lord versus what is something they are working through in their own lives. Another issue when mentoring prophetic people is dealing with their unique personalities and styles. Prophetic grace is not an excuse to be extreme or permission to remain immature in presentation. Apostolic leaders and senior prophets should walk alongside prophetic people to help refine their delivery and content. Many church groups become accustomed to certain styles of prophetic ministry. This sets limits on what can be delivered from the Lord. Just as the people of Israel struggled with the package of John the Baptist and ultimately Jesus himself, churches today can struggle with vessels the Lord sends them. To quote Barney Coombs, “God offends the mind to reveal the heart.” Churches need to be careful not to reject messengers of God who do not fit the churches’ typical expectations and/ or who challenge their own hearts.
GROWING IN GRACE
Finally, there is no Biblical pattern for New Testament gifts to operate alone. People with prophetic grace need to be part of a team to learn when to speak and how much to share. When prophetic people walk with a team, they are not left to their own interpretation of what to say and how to say it. As they submit their insight to the team, they can confidently and securely give what God has put in their spirit knowing they will be covered. As prophetic people grow in grace and wisdom, the presence of God and light to build by will greatly increase. While prophetic people may struggle to work out their calling and leaders may struggle alongside them, a mutual respect and acceptance for one another will go a long way. It is time for prophets to emerge and bring what they have received in a humble and mature manner. The leaders that mentor the prophets are essential for the revealing of this valuable grace to ever become reality in the church.
directing, rebuking and revealing his character. In many instances we don’t know how God spoke, we simply read “God said” but in many instances, we do. Samuel heard an audible voice, Joseph had dreams, Moses had a supernatural encounter with a burning bush, David heard God through the prophet Nathan. In time the Father sent his Son, the Word himself and in these last days we have The Holy Spirit who still speaks. We can expect to be guided by him as we gather together, if not, we limit ourselves greatly.
ALL CAN PROPHESY!
1 Corinthians 14 tells us that we can all prophesy. So, as Spiritfilled people, we should all be on the alert to be used by God prophetically. This doesn’t depend on age, personality or even gifting: it’s simply the people of God hearing God and sharing with the rest of us what they’re hearing. It’s vital that we start here as often the direction of the meeting comes out of a seemingly insignificant word from a surprising person. But it can be like a cork in a bottle, triggering off the next person who is also hearing something from God. These ‘words’ may need to be shared first with the meeting leaders as they are listening for the flow of the meeting and can assess when and if the word is appropriate.
GATHERING TO GO SOMEWHERE?
CHRIS RICHARDS IS BASED IN THE UK, FROM WHERE SHE TRAVELS EXTENSIVELY WITH DAVE. THEY ARE MUM AND DAD TO MANY CHURCHES, TEAMS AND LEADERS, ESPECIALLY IN THE NORDIC REGION, USA AND AFRICA.
“Every meeting has a destination.” This statement was made by Buck Hudson, a senior prophet who ministers primarily in Salt & Light churches in Scandinavia and USA. Each time we meet together, I’m challenged by this bold statement. Is it true? Does God have something to say to us, somewhere to ‘take us’ every time we meet as church? If so, how do we accommodate it and actively seek after it? Are we so hungry to hear God’s voice that we’re prepared to adopt the posture of listeners rather than speakers in our gatherings? Furthermore, who is responsible to take us into this place?
GOD WANTS TO SPEAK!
From Genesis to Revelation we are introduced to a God who, in simple terms, desires a people of his own with whom he longs to communicate and fellowship. The creation account is chorused with the phrase “And God said” (Genesis 1) and as soon as man was created, God spoke to him, commissioning and directing him (Genesis 1:27-30). From man’s inception, he had the privilege of being able to hear God’s voice. Throughout the Old Testament we see God communicating with his people in many and various ways, encouraging,
As we encourage our churches in this it will be the seedbed for prophetic ministry to grow.
ANOINTED TO BE A PROPHET
While there is a general level of prophecy throughout the church, there are also specific anointings (1 Corinthians 12:7-12, 27-30; 14:29; Ephesians 4:11-12). Prophets can be recognised by their character, a sense of calling on their lives, and primarily the words they bring, which will bring recognition of him/her from others.
TEAM, TEAM, TEAM
The Old Testament prophets often seemed to function in a team of one! The New Testament model, however, is full of teams. Paul mentions a myriad of people he worked with – fluid and flexible, there’s very little ‘one-man ministry’. Prophets (and other ministries) need to operate in teams, firstly for their own well-being and secondly to be an integral part of the life of the church. Prophets can often simply be called on to give a word of knowledge over someone at significant times, at baptisms, ordinations, or perhaps a certain slot in the meeting. But better, they can be integrated into team, bringing the sensing of God and supporting the other ministries with their gift. The more the prophets are integrated, the more prophetic the church becomes as a whole.
SO HOW COULD THIS WORK?
If we look at the different components of a meeting, we can see how prophets can be part of the team and serve with their ministry. Hopefully as we operate in this way our gatherings have direction, destination and that sense of having met with God and heard what He wanted to say to us, whether through the worship, teaching, testimony or the prophetic word itself.
Many of us meet to pray before our meetings. It’s useful for the meeting leaders, worship leader and prophets to go into the meeting with a sense of where we start. And the prophets may already have a sense of where God is leading us. One meeting I opened with a moment of laying things down before God as we come into his presence. It was a moment of sombreness and holiness before God. As I handed on to the worship leader he said loudly and enthusiastically “Is everybody happy? Let’s clap our hands … C’mon! Is everybody happy?” We were leading in two opposite directions! No joined up thinking; no communication just confusion! The pre-meeting prayer is a good time to ask “Has anybody got anything from God for this morning?” It may or may not be something that will need to be shared in the meeting, but it gives us a sense of what God wants to do. The prophets, too, will benefit from hearing the heart of the meeting leader and may set him off on a direction as he listens for God.
As leaders, most of us are more than capable of planning and leading meetings. We can welcome, direct, timetable, sing, share and teach and do a very good job. However, rather than simply being leaders and speakers, if we are to take the posture of listeners and followers of the Holy Spirit in our meetings, it’s a lot of responsibility for one person. It’s better to work as team, the meeting leader and the prophets together, asking “What are you hearing? Where are we going? Who’s got something?” There will be wisdom in the pooling of counsel, anointing, gifting and responsibility. It’s risky to move away from our own plans into the unknown but one person on their own will always be limited and the prophets can be eyes and ears for him. The designated leader will still be the director but he will have more to work with.
FIND YOUR VOICE
DAVID OLIVER IS BASED IN BASINGSTOKE, UK. HE IS A BUSINESSMAN, AND SENIOR PROPHET, WORKING WITH CHURCHES AND APOSTOLIC TEAMS TO DEVELOP PROPHETIC GIFTING. THIS ARTICLE IS DRAWN WITH PERMISSION FROM HIS BOOK FIND YOUR VOICE (ISBN 978-1860246012, AVAILABLE FROM ONLINE STORES, FROM SHOP.SALTLIGHT.ORG OR FROM DAVIDO@INSIGHT-MARKETING.COM).
We live in a truly incredible era. There has never been another one like it in the history of our planet. Today the move of God’s spirit is indeed global. You cannot travel anywhere where there is a church without talk of or experiencing in the Holy Spirit. You cannot have a move of the Holy Spirit without the release of prophecy. It’s a gift that always accompanies the move of the Spirit. It is estimated that there are 400 million Spirit-filled believers worldwide today. That is a potential of 400 million people prophesying! If 5-10% of those believers have the gift of prophecy then we are looking at 20-40 million prophets in training, waiting to be unleashed on a needy church and an even more needy planet. It is offensive and a nonsense to suggest that the Holy Spirit, with his infinite wisdom, power creativity and marvellous mind, is limited or will limit us to operating primarily in a church gathering, a church meeting or a church context. For centuries, the church has been like a sleeping beauty. She exists, she breathes, and for the few in the world who see her potential, she is beautiful. But she has been impotent, ineffective and to a large degree lifeless, slumbering in a world of need.
We have some great worship leaders who move in the Holy Spirit and take us to a place with God. While they have the responsibility to lead, they benefit from having the prophetic voice close at hand. They have selected songs prayerfully. Hopefully the Holy Spirit has already been directing.
A teaching called Gnosticism was the poison that put her to sleep in the first place. This essentially taught that Christians should only be involved in spiritual things, and that the world in its material form or physical form belongs to Satan and we should have nothing to do with it.
The prophets will be responding to the words, many times a phrase will ‘leap out’ and the prophetic will be stirred. Communication between worship leader and prophet is vital. There should be an ease and flow as prophets use opportunities in the worship to encourage, exhort the people in line with what we’re singing. This should inspire the band, support and release more prophetic so that worship becomes a flow of song and word, perhaps even response, an altar call as part of worship.
God’s way is the polar opposite. Seek first the Kingdom of God and bring that into every sphere of life. Jesus says, “I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one as you did send me into the world, I >> also have sent them into the world.” (John 17:15-18)
Prophets are there to serve, not become the centre of attention. As they are incorporated into the meeting leadership properly, as opposed to simply ‘bringing a prophetic word’, our gatherings and our churches will become more prophetic and God’s people will be hearing His voice clearly.
God has sent us into the world. So our nature, our life source, is not of this world but our sphere of operating and sending very definitely is. Whatever sphere of work God has led you to, you are his front line troops. See it. Believe it. Let God release you to fulfil the purpose He has for you, right where you are. How does prophetic gifting operate in the workplace? I want to suggest several ways that I have seen the Holy Spirit working prophetically while God’s people are at work.
PROPHETS AND KINGS
In biblical times, kings and queens had absolute power. Prophets played an important role, holding a plumb line to the leaders’ behaviour, and where it departed from what was good and just and wise, confronting the issue. Today, wise leaders need their true friends to have a prophetic role. I often hear leaders say, “Who is it that I can really trust in my organisation to talk to me truthfully?” One of my good friends runs a leadership master-class with senior leaders. In one of these classes he introduced the concept of the prophet and king. He pointed out that every king needs a prophet: people who are prepared to tell you the truth without fear or favour and to tell it to you as they really see it. At one point, a senior government minister came in. Those who had been on the training explained the concept and then asked the question: “Who are your prophets?” He waffled for some time before he caught himself and said with incredible honesty, “You can tell by the answer to my question I don’t have prophets around me or those who are prepared to tell me how it really is, what I have is a lot of people saying what they think I would like hear. I feel isolated and disconnected. I am concerned and scared that I have no one around me who is prepared tell me the truth.” One of my favourite clients for many years used to introduce me as the ‘Company Conscience’. I treasured that title more than any other I have been given because he understood and welcomed the fact that I was free to challenge his organisation on issues of integrity and ethics.
PROPHETS AND WORDS
Early in my career, I remember going out to lunch after a sales visit, feeling a little intimidated. As we sat down to a splendid meal, I felt the sense that this man had some real sadness in his family. I still felt somewhat intimidated so I put it to him something like, “I think you have some pain in your family don’t you – would you like to tell me about it.” This wealthy man’s eyes brimmed with tears and he began to share about his disabled daughter and that conversation led into a time of sharing and a relationship that lasted many years. I know of someone else who uses her prophetic insight in business consultancy. One client was being extremely awkward and obstructive to the work in hand. My friend turned to this man and said, “I get the feeling you would have liked to have rebelled as a teenager, but your mother wouldn’t let you.” A risky thing to do in business, but she was right on target and facilitated change in the individual.
An important point to make here is that my friend doesn’t go looking to act prophetically. Prophetic people are often not even aware that they are operating in their gift, it’s almost second nature.
PROPHETS AND PEOPLE
Prophetic people are responsible for equipping people for works of service, which invariably involves helping people to discover who they are and what gifting they have. My company runs events on sales, marketing, negotiation and leadership. The concepts and principles we endeavour to work from are Biblically-rooted. But we are not overt with references to the Bible or Christianity. It’s not uncommon to have people come up and engage on a distinctly spiritual level. I remember one delegate coming up after a highintensity sales seminar who said, “This has not been about selling, it’s been about life.” On another occasion, running an event on marketing, a business owner came up and asked if we could please have a chat. We stopped for a coffee and this successful lady began to tell me all about her excellent little business. But as she did so, a strange thing happened, and it’s happened a number of times before. She began to pour out her life story and in her tears began to say, “I don’t know why I am doing this.” Something was happening to her. She was instinctively asking, can I make it in business and have a life? Somehow the invisible but real prophetic dimension in the seminar and in the coffee shop was touching her life. All that is an extension of being prophetic in the workplace.
PROPHETIC AND REFORMATION
Our generation is surely crying out for reformers in health care, in education, in the justice system and in law and order. Great prophetic voices from the past, such as Wilberforce, William Booth and the education reformer, Robert Rakes stir the heart and mind. They saw possibilities and made a difference. There is a huge need in our day for young men and women to see the prophetic possibilities in areas like fair-trading, abortion, education, medical ethics, human trafficking, globalisation and others. For church leaders, my encouragement would be to keep these fields of opportunity in front of your young people as they consider what to do with their lives
PROPHETS AND STRATEGY
The first book of Chronicles talks about the prophet bringing practical solutions for success. In today’s language you might call that strategy. It is fascinating how interested and willing to be involved God is, when it comes to our workplaces. Let me illustrate from the working world of one of my close friends. Andy works for a multi-national organisation with responsibility for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). He writes: “I was running a large business unit (with £100m turnover per year) and facing some complex technology changes in my industry. Firstly, I had a real sense from God that changes were coming that meant I would completely have to
Christians joining with the wider community in Tahrir Square to pray for Egypt re-shuffle my management team and the staff underneath them. This last part was very complex and for two weeks I theorised seemingly every option, but was stuck. Then one morning, God gave me a picture. It was a full colour vision of an organisational chart with the names of all the people in place. I hurriedly wrote the organisational chart onto a big whiteboard. It was clear simple and brilliant. It worked, and the outcome was a very successful financial year as a result of the re-organisation.” “I regularly see numbers, sometimes whole spreadsheets in my mind. I am able to see what is happening behind the numbers. People’s business behaviour and actions and often what is going wrong. This helps me quickly recommend improvements. For example I was able to ‘see’ some specific stock levels on certain products that were excessively high, this needed fast action. When the inventory level was physically checked, what I ‘saw’ was correct. I often see business plans and marketing campaigns in my mind. This saves hours of time and often the resulting ideas are incredibly effective. As a result of this I was able to win an industry award three years in a row in recognition of my achievements.” We are experiencing massive, religious, political, technological, biological, and economic changes, with consequences we can only guess at. I suspect, despite the illusion of certainty and progress offered by the guru’s crystal ball, most of us in the working world feel we are on a roller coaster ride, never quite sure which way is up. What a time for us as Christians to be salt and light, to be a prophetic voice bringing some of God’s certainties!
LABAN JJUMBA WAS AMONG THE FOUNDING LEADERS OF THE DELIVERANCE CHURCH FAMILY OF CHURCHES IN UGANDA IN THE EARLY 1970S. IN 1985, LABAN, TOGETHER WITH A TEAM OF OTHER AFRICAN CHRISTIAN LEADERS FOUNDED ‘INTERCESSORS FOR AFRICA’, A CONTINENTAL MOVEMENT OF PRAYER AND CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP TRAINING TO SHAPE THE DESTINY OF AFRICA. LABAN MINISTERS WIDELY AS A SPEAKER IN CONFERENCES AND CHURCHES IN AFRICA AND THE WORLD.
I have been involved in prayer for our nation, Uganda, for the past forty years. People assume we must be very high calibre men and women of God, like Nehemiah of the Bible, to have engaged in prayer for our nation for so long. On the contrary, we were forced by circumstances over the years to pray! I was a second year university student in 1971 when dictator Idi Amin led a military coup and overthrew Milton Obote’s government. The chaos that the nation went through over the next eight years and the persecution Christians had to undergo, forced us to resort to prayer for God’s help. We had grown up in a Christianity which taught us to ask God to give us “our daily bread.” We had extended this to asking God to help our immediate family, relatives and friends. Now we were plunging into the deeper end of the pool when we were forced increasingly to ask God to intervene in our national affairs. Then we did not know much about prayer and intercession, nor did we subscribe to any theology of >>
nations. We just needed God’s intervention in the midst of our suffering and persecution. Surprisingly we discovered God would respond to our prayers. For me this was exciting because I had considered national affairs too big to indulge in. Governments and presidents of nations were outside of my immediate world. I was a small individual in a big sea of humanity and I just wanted peace to carry on with my private life. When we saw God responding to our humble prayers over gigantic national issues we got encouraged to pray more. That was when I started mobilizing more Christians to get involved. These were the beginnings of the prayer movement which today we call Intercessors for Uganda. The relative ease with which God seemed to answer prayer concerning national issues compared to his response to prayer over personal issues, convinced me that God must be more interested in nations than we had thought. That was when I started examining the scriptures to understand God’s heart for nations today. When Jesus came, did God transfer his attention from nations to individuals and the church? In the Old Testament we see God relating to individuals and nations, whereas in the New Testament we see Him relating to individuals and the church. Nations seem to be left out of the picture. Has God’s focus changed? It has been our practical experiences in prayer for our country which have opened our hearts to realize that God is still very interested in nations.
GOD’S KINGDOM RULE OVER NATIONS
I see from examples in the Old Testament a demonstration of God’s kingdom ruling over nations. For example, when the Hebrews lived in Egypt in the days of Joseph, I see in that experience a picture of the church in the world: in the world but not of the world (John 17). When God lifted up Joseph to exercise authority in Egypt, it demonstrated the way the church must influence the nation. A similar picture is seen in the experience of Daniel and his colleagues in Babylon. Daniel and his friends represent the church in the world. They lived in Babylon but were not Babylonians. Nevertheless, God had instructed them through prophet Jeremiah to pray for the peace of Babylon; that when Babylon prospered they would also prosper (Jeremiah 29:7). As long as they lived right with him, God gave them a superior position, demonstrating his rule and supremacy over the political systems of nations. This picture of Daniel and his colleagues, as they exercised God’s authority in Babylon is one of the models of God’s rule over national political systems. Then Jeremiah’s instructions to the exiles to pray for Babylon’s peace and prosperity tells us the most important activity that believers in any nation should engage in for their country, that is, to pray for its peace and prosperity. I see in the story of Esther and Mordecai in Persia a third model of God’s Kingdom authority over national political systems. Esther and Mordecai are clearly a picture of the church in the
world. God raised them to prominence to the level where the king released them to write a decree themselves in the king’s name, and to seal it with the king’s signet ring (Esther 8:8). Here I see God’s intention to lift the authority of the church in the nation to the level where she can make spiritual legislation through prayer and spiritual warfare.
OUR EXPERIENCE AS WE HAVE PRAYED
Our experience has been that as we have prayed for our country over the past 40 years, increasingly God has opened doors for intercessors and the church to influence the direction of the nation at strategic times. Leaders of our traditional church institutions and denominations have usually had access to the political leaders. Nevertheless, their relationship has not necessarily been of a prophetic nature like the prophet Nathan’s relationship was with King David. It has been in only a few instances that bishops have spoken out openly to try to correct political leaders, and usually this has resulted in a strained relationship between the two parties. I do not believe that according to scripture the church is supposed to always be antagonistic to the political leaders or vice versa. I believe that, judging from the Old Testament examples of the relationship between the religious institution and the political leadership, when the nation of Israel related well with God, these two institutions represented two faces of the same coin. God expected them to complement each other. I believe this is the heart of Paul’s teaching in Romans 13:1-7 where he calls political leaders “God’s ministers” to administer order, development and justice in society. He continues his teaching in 1 Timothy 2:1-4 where he teaches that when the church comes together, prayer for political leaders must be a priority. Such prayer should result in the establishment of the right environment for preaching the gospel. Our experience over the years has been that as we have engaged in prayer for the nation, God has established communication links between leaders of prayer networks and different levels of political and civic leaders. Then, increasingly we have seen committed Christians appointed to high political and administrative government offices. Many of these have started prayer groups to pray for them and with them, both in and outside of their offices. The resulting influence of such leaders is increasingly being felt in the country. We have many stories of victories of prayer which sound like the Bible stories of Joseph, Daniel and Esther. Nevertheless, to protect the individuals and God’s work, such details cannot be published yet. Our country, Uganda, is increasingly taking a frontline position among the nations of the world in standing for Judeo-Christian principles. This has not been a sudden impulsive stand that our leaders have made on the global stage. No. It is a national world view that has been building over the years as prayer and Christian influence have had an impact on the nation.
Prophecy, prophets and team are actually BIG subjects in the Bible. There are many prophecies in the Bible, in fact 1,817 in total. Of those 1,239 are in the Old Testament and 578 in the New Testament. Together they account for 8,352 verses in the Bible. For clarification, in this article, I will be writing primarily about Ephesian 4 prophets, but later I will include emerging prophets, prophetic people or those who are considered to have a gift of prophecy in team ministry.
APOSTLES AND PROPHETS ACTING TOGETHER
If we narrow down and just look at the book of Acts of the Apostles, the word ‘prophecy’ (προφητεία) is not in the book, though ‘prophet’ (προφῆτης) shows up thirty times, and the verb ‘prophesy’ (προφητεύω) four times. Prophets appear throughout the book, working with the apostles in team ministry. Acts reveals or implies that the norm was for prophets to work in a team context and not isolated itinerant ministries. Let’s look at some key verses: The first mention of Christian prophets is in Acts 11:27-29: “During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world.”
PROPHETS IN TEAM
DAVID (‘BUCK’) HUDSON IS A PROPHET WHO WORKS EXTENSIVELY WITH CHURCHES AND LEADERS, ESPECIALLY INTHE NORDIC REGION AND WITH THE COAST TO COAST FAMILY OF CHURCHES IN USA. BUCK’S BOOK ON THIS THEME, NATURALLY SUPERNATURAL (ISBN 87-91349-28-1) IS AVAILABLE FROM ONLINE STORES AND FROM SHOP.SALTLIGHT.ORG
“The builder and the seer are gifts from heaven of the ascended Christ to bring heaven’s pattern, order, and presence into the church. Their ministries are designed by heaven to ensure good foundations and clear direction. They are ‘plumb line’ and ‘measuring line’ ministries. To build, you need both gifts!” (Dave Richards, February 2012) Apostles and prophets harnessed together in team ministry. builder and seer together – is this a biblical pattern for today’s church? What about being in team with the evangelist, teacher, and pastor? You might not consider prophets to be included in this team picture. For many, the picture of a prophet is as a lonely wanderer, misunderstood messenger, and anything but a team player. However, the New Testament gives clear examples of prophets in harness with other Ephesian 4 gifts. We do see individuals giving directive prophecies to individuals in the New Testament, but it always seems they were functioning with or accountable to other team members. The early church received and honored the prophetic ministry, and did not see them as lonely, dejected stand-alone individuals.
Prophets, together as a team, came to Antioch. It isn’t mentioned if the apostles of Jerusalem sent them, but in Acts 8, the apostles sent Peter and John to Samaria after Philip led many to the Lord in that region. They followed up on Philip’s ministry, which infers a team dynamic was a living reality among them. The presence of prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch is mentioned in chapter 13: “In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” Prophets and teachers were harnessed together in leading the church in Antioch, and in the sending out of Paul and Barnabas from the Antioch church, into their wider apostolic work. In Acts 15 the apostles in Jerusalem sent prophets Judas and Silas, to accompany Paul and Barnabas, to deliver the council’s message to encourage the Antioch church. Judas and Silas are mentioned in Acts 15:22 as leaders among the brothers in the Jerusalem church. When Luke describes their ministry in Antioch he says that Judas and Silas, “being themselves also prophets (καὶ αὐτοὶ προφῆται όντες), exhorted (παρεκάλεσαν) the brothers with many words and strengthened them” (15:32). Acts 21 contains several references to prophesying. First, the disciples at Tyre urged Paul ‘through the Spirit’ not to go on to Jerusalem (21:4). But Paul had already been warned >>
‘in every city’ by the Holy Spirit that prison and hardships were facing him (20:23). Then Agabus the prophet from Judea reappeared (21:10-11): “Tying his own hands and feet with Paul’s belt, he declared: ‘The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt’.” In this verse, Philip and Agabus were together. While it does not mention that they ministered to Paul together, Philip’s four daughters did minister to Paul, and according to Jewish custom, they could not do that without their father’s consent. Many consider Agabus an itinerant prophetic ministry. I see in scripture that he moved mostly in team ministry, and with the blessings and accountability of Jerusalem. Silas is another prophet who moved in team ministry, being sent with Judas, Paul and Barnabas to Antioch in Acts 15. It seems that he stayed on for a time in Antioch, and accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey. On this trip, we see that Silas teamed up with Paul in Galatia, Phillippi, Thessalonica and Corinth, where he stayed with Paul for almost two years. Later, Peter commended him for helping to write a letter to the church in Rome (Silas was a Roman citizen): “With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God.” (1 Peter 5:12)
APOSTLES AND PROPHETS COMPLEMENTING TOGETHER
Apostles and prophets should be joined in team ministry, We really need each other! We are complementary ministries and foundational to the church of Jesus Christ. Apostles and prophets are different but complementary: starters and finishers, creative and structural, dynamic and development, mandate and mobilization, motivation and method. “Working together in team, they release both the design of heaven and the dynamic presence of heaven. The apostle may have the trowel and measuring line but the prophet has the plumb line and you need both! In team, both gifts will function at a higher level of revelation and carry an authority than neither can carry on their own. In turn, this releases teachers, pastors, evangelists, helps, healers, administrators, speakers in tongues, elders and deacons to function at a greater level of anointing out of such a covering. This increases fruitfulness as these ministries submit to scriptural requirements and work together.” (Dave Richards, February 2012)
APOSTLES AND PROPHETS: HOW DOES IT WORK?
Out of my experience and what can be seen from scripture, I would suggest that
• if prophets are not properly harnessed in team, they can go it alone and end up unrestrained ‘wild’ men and women. • if apostles go it alone they can end up very dull and principle driven, lacking creative life. Apostles and prophets were neither meant to be dull nor dangerous, they were meant to be incredibly effective in Christ’s kingdom and in building up Christ’s church.
To be harnessed together in team ministry deep appreciation, and not suspicion, needs to be embraced. All these gifts are different, and one size does not fit all. There are many kinds of prophets: breakthrough, revelational, mystical, seers, strategic, and you could probably add many more. Personality, experience, theological training, etc. contribute to the making of the messenger. There could be similar comments made about all the Ephesian 4 gifts. Methods can get in the way of our trying to work together. Prophets tend to be experiential: using methods that come from their encounters or experiences with the Spirit of God. This can be a very good thing when there are solid biblical foundations, when there are not, it leaves other team members questioning the validity of the individual. I believe that methods and styles often divide us more than our doctrine and theology. That’s why accountability and transparency are essential to each Ephesian 4 team member. This is also why it is a good and practical thing for apostles and prophets to be harnessed together. The apostle will take the dynamic input, experience, and revelation of the prophet, and make sure there is good solid application with foundations. Even established orophets with large ministries, churches, spheres or arenas of work, need to be part of such a team!