Tag Archives: Church leadership

Jesus has given the Ephesians 4 ministries of apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher and evangelist to equip and lead the church. The specialisms of these five are to establish the church (on the Rock of Jesus, of course), bring vision, nurture the flock, teach sound doctrine, and reach out to the lost. They all need each other, and the church needs them all to “grow to a perfect man.”

Are All Workers of Miracles?

“Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best  gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.” (1 Cor 12: 27-31)

Paul writes these verses at the end of the chapter in which he introduces the list of what are commonly known as the “gifts of the Spirit.” Although Paul writes in verse four “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit,” he goes on to refer to them (verse 7) as “the manifestation of the Spirit.” I think if we were to use Paul’s phrase “the manifestation of the Spirit” we might have more of a sense of the dynamic working of God in our midst, manifesting His presence, than the term “gifts,” which somehow leaves Him a bit more remote in the process – like a postman who has handed over a parcel and moved on. The gifts of the Spirit reveal the Spirit of Christ manifesting Himself in our midst and expressing His love through His supernatural power: they are not parcels left under the Christmas tree of one person’s, or one church’s, ministry. It is the question of supernatural power that I want to address here.

Paul’s message to the Corinthians in these verses begs a couple of questions that I think we prefer to gloss over if we want to feel comfortable about the level of manifestation of the Spirit that we expect in our churches. “Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healing?” he asks. I think in many cases we would have to make a slight change to his questions if we applied them to our churches today, where it would probably be more accurate to ask: “Are any workers of miracles? Do any have gifts of healing?”

We can avoid the implications of this question by saying, “Ah, yes; but Paul is talking about the church universal here, not local gatherings.” However, although we can receive the message to the Corinthians 2000 years after it was written, and in many times more than 2,000 places apart from Corinth, it remains true that Paul was writing to a local body – a church that he had founded himself on his missionary travels – and he was exhorting the individual members of that church to “earnestly desire the best gifts.” If he was clarifying to them what the different ministries and manifestations of the Spirit were that God had appointed to the church, it was because the teaching was relevant to that specific group of believers. He wasn’t just giving the Corinthians some theoretical information that had no application in their specific context.

Paul says: “God has appointed these in the church.” The word translated “appointed” is tithemi. It means placed; set down; established. They are not just incidentals. Even if we do take the view that Paul’s list in these verses – itself a summary of what he wrote earlier in the letter – does not have to be applied in its entirety to every local church, the fact remains that we are exhorted to “earnestly desire the best gifts.” What is true from Scripture is 1) that God has appointed them, and 2) that we are to earnestly seek them. Maybe we don’t see them in operation because we don’t earnestly seek what God has appointed. Instead of walking by faith in what God says He has set in place, we walk by the sight of the few supernatural ministries that we know of. But if, like Mary, we believed what He has said, we might see His word made flesh and these ministries emerging among us.

Which gifts he had in mind isn’t specified, but the first four are listed in order (first, second, third, after that), whereas “gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues” all follow on grammatically from a single “then.” A little later in the same letter, he writes “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” (1 Cor 14:1) Whatever principal of ordination we choose to apply, miracles and healings are an integral part of the package of gifts established by the Lord when His Spirit put in place the foundations of the Church that He would build. The Church is a supernatural edifice, a work of the Spirit, the Rock not hewn by human hands. (Dan 2:34) And however much the gates of hell – the seat of worldly, carnal thinking – would strive against this church, they will not prevail. Worldly thinking would dilute apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, healings, helps, administrations, and varieties of tongues down to intellectual teachers, human helps and practical administrations, and throw away all the rest; and in many cases it has. Mega churches and whole denominations are built on sand. But when the storm comes on the world and the only place of safety is seated with Christ in heavenly places, under the supernatural wings of our supernatural Father, they will all be swept away if they do not repent.

If you want to buy groceries, you go to the store to fill your basket. If you want a drink of water, you go to the tap to fill your glass.  To earnestly seek the best gifts, we have to earnestly seek the giver. If we earnestly seek first to know the fellowship of the Spirit, we are then in a position to ask the Spirit for those gifts. The Lord is the Spirit: (2 Cor 3:17) we can’t divide Him up into His different manifestations. If we aren’t seeking all of Him, His fullness, we aren’t seeking Him at all. Just as the body is not just a foot or an eye, (1 Cor 12: 14-18) nor is the One who fills it. For “He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the pre-eminence.” (Colossians 1:18)

Revival is coming. Revival isn’t a new development; it’s the manifestation today of that which was established at the beginning. God is pouring out the same Spirit that was poured out at first, because He wants to do again which He did then. To be part of what He is doing, we need to receive who He is. To his friend Philemon, Paul writes: “I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgement of every good thing which is in you by Christ Jesus.” (verse 4) “Effective” in the New Testament, as we saw in “Pressing the Reset Button,” means supernaturally powerful. The Greek word translated as “acknowledgement” is epignosis, meaning precise and correct knowledge, especially of that which pertains to spiritual realities. We need  precise and correct knowledge of all the good things which are ours in Him, and which He has placed in us by His Spirit.

Over the years we have become like a pool of water which has been steadily evaporating away in the heat, and now, in the limitations of his wisdom, the devil has thought that by locking down the activity of the church he would lock down its life and fruitfulness and drain away the water even more. But the wisdom of heaven has declared that the end of activity is the beginning of stillness, and in stillness is the knowledge of God in whom is all life and all fruitfulness. And in the stillness, God is refilling the pool. The water level is starting to rise, even now. It will rise much higher still. Will we drink of its depths, or will we just continue to sip in the shallows?

God has dealt to each of us a measure of faith. (Rom 12:3) But He also gives the Spirit without measure. (John 3:34) So the measure that He’s given us is not a measure of limitation, but a measure of fullness which is dealt to each one of us so that we can operate in our giftings in His strength, and not our own, as Paul writes to the Colossians: “To this end I also labour, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.“ (Colossians 1:29) To your church and to mine, God has appointed workers of miracles and gifts of healings, as well as apostles, prophets, teachers, tongues, administrations and helps. We receive from God according to our faith. The opposite of faith is unbelief; and unbelief is the result of a hard heart that is resisting the Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 3: 12-13, Acts 7:51) Let us therefore turn to the Lord, and say in our desperation: “Lord I believe, help my unbelief,“ so that the measure of our faith can match the measure of who the Spirit is within us.

“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” (Colossians 2:9)

It’s time we took God at His word. Otherwise we will still be standing in a puddle when others around us are diving in the lake.

Pressing the Reset Button

 “I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves and all the flock, among which the holy spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the Church of God which He purchased with his blood.” (Acts 20 verses 27-28)

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph 4: 11-16)

“God is pressing the reset button.” We’ve all heard it in the wider context of the impact of Covid on the world, but it is also a strong theme in many prophetic messages that the Holy Spirit is bringing to the church in the UK, the USA, and elsewhere in the world. A recurring message that is coming through many people in various ways is that God is going to change the model of leadership in the church. There is a great harvest to bring in, and at the moment many of His people are not being equipped for the harvest field in the way that He originally intended. Although none of us, in our earthly life, can be perfect like Jesus, scripture repeatedly encourages us to become “complete” (see 2 Cor 13: 9; 2 Cor 13:11;  Col 4:12; Phil 1:6; 2 Tim 3:17). So how do we grow into “the perfect man,” and what does the Holy Spirit want us to understand by this? I think some of the answer can be found in how the flock is shepherded.

To Shepherd is not to pastor. If this is a surprise, consider this: Jesus is the good Shepherd, and He gave us what He knows we need to carry on His work, which is surely the package of gifts listed  in Ephesians 4:11 quoted above: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” If this is true, it must the responsibility of eldership to shepherd the flock using the gifts of shepherding that are provided. Arguably two of these gifts, pastor and teacher, can be seen as one ministry, but whether pastor and teacher are one minister or two, the principal of plurality remains the same.

In a prophetic word given to my own fellowship but with a general application, the church was likened to a four-wheel-drive vehicle. It has just been driving on the roads, but while the road has been closed by lockdown God has been getting our attention and telling us that we are an off-road vehicle designed for the mountain, not for the main road at all. In a four-wheel-drive vehicle, each wheel is driven independently, which is what gives it its grip on an off-road surface. Four wheels: apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor/teacher.

Because Jesus has commanded us to love one another he has created a model of leadership that combines independence with interdependence. According to scripture it is the different parts of the body working together that cause the body to grow in love. The word translated as “effective working” is the Greek energia. In it we recognise the word energy. But what is important is that in the new Testament the word energia is only used of superhuman power, whether of God or of the devil. It does not refer to human ability or effort. We mature in Christ through the supernatural operation of all the ministries that Jesus gave to the body as each part “does its share” of His work. The stated purpose of the Ephesians 4 ministries is to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying (ie building up) of the body of Christ.” As the different  ministries “do their share“ of the work of the Good Shepherd the body of Christ grows in love and unity, and, instead of being children, we grow up “in all things into him who is the head.” Working together, the four wheels take the vehicle up the mountain.

As a rule this is not what we see in many churches today. Although it is not true in every case, church leadership has often rested on the shoulders of a salaried minister who has been to Bible college and is therefore “qualified” to lead. But the purpose of a Bible school is to teach. The ministry gift in operation is primarily that of the teacher. The product of the Bible school will tend to carry the anointing that produced him or her – the anointing of the pastor/teacher. Therefore many churches are led by a pastor/teacher, who received at Bible School an implicit message that it is the pastor/teacher who leads church, and who therefore appoints more pastor/teachers to share the work of leadership as the church grows (if indeed it does grow.) Of course there are many other reasons – going back centuries, even millennia – why the teacher has been put on  leadership pedestal that Jesus never intended (“Do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.” – Matt 23:10), but the fact remains that the pastor-teacher is just one of four wheels. If only one wheel is driving the vehicle it will probably cope, for a while, on a smooth road; and many churches today have done just that. But they won’t travel very far up the mountain.

Discipleship is supernatural.

The mission of the Church is to go and make disciples. The goal of the disciple is to become like the master, and the more clearly the image of the master is replicated in the disciple, the better equipped is that disciple to carry on with the process and disciple others. If it had been left to the ability of the human brain to interpret the original teachings and copy the examples of Christ and the first apostles,  today’s disciples would be poor matchstick figures by comparison to the original master. But Jesus thought of that, so He told the disciples that “the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you” (John 16:15). Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, but by the power of the Holy Spirit His reality can be fresh in the heart of every believer in every generation. Without the power of the Spirit illuminating us, we only have our own understanding to lean on – which Proverbs 3:5 instructs us expressly not to do. So the work of making disciples has to be done supernaturally, through that energia – “the effective working by which every part does its share” – which flows  as a life-force through the body when it is operating in the fulness of the Holy Spirit.

To build and equip the “perfect man” who will make effective disciples all the ministries are needed. As each part does its share the believer is equipped in different aspects of the effective Christian life. Through the evangelist, the believer is equipped to preach the gospel. Not all are evangelists, be we are all called to share our faith. Through the prophet, he is equipped to hear God and speak His words. “All can prophesy,” but many need training and encouragement. The pastor heart brings an emphasis on growing loving relationships, in tandem with the teacher who brings clarity on doctrine and the written word of God. All of these are essential for Christian growth. The apostle – the “sent one” – imparts faith and carries an anointing to build, and nurtures the leadership skills of those who have the gifting to be church planters themselves. Although most of us aren’t called to plant churches (or are we??), we are all involved in building the Church of Jesus. Of course there is only one Lord, and one Spirit, in whom all of these streams flow together, and whose thoughts are not our thoughts anyway; and this is very much a thumbnail sketch of a far more complex picture. However the message remains that five different leadership anointings, carried by four or five different ministers, are referred to in Ephesians four, and each of them is necessary to edify and equip the “perfect man.” The ultimate goal of the “work of ministry” is that we go out and make more disciples. The qualification for the work is not a Bible College degree, but the measure to which the Christian ”graduate” has received from all of the fivefold ministries and  is able, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to build, prophesy, preach the gospel, care for others, and know the Word of God. All of this is achieved through the power of the Holy Spirit, not through leaning on human understanding.

Those of us who have children long for them to become all that they can be and fulfil all the potential that we see in them. We want to see them use their abilities and achieve their dreams. How much more does our heavenly Father want the same for His children? The Good Shepherd longs for all of His lambs to grow and multiply, and has put in place the “parenting” system by whichwe should no longer be children” but instead “grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—” . As we mature in the spirit and come into all that God has put into us, His glory will be reflected in the Earth in as many ways as there are individuals in the church. Surely this is part of  “the manifold wisdom of God” that He intends “might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.” (Eph 3:10)  However at the moment there are many churches that are full of overgrown lambs who just expect to be fed and kept safe in the sheepfold, and who reflect very little of God’s glory. They have not grown up in all things, and since they are not mature they are not multiplying, because the flock is not being shepherded according to the shepherding plan that we have been given.

If God is pressing the reset button I think this is what He is working on now. And now that we are starting to move again, are we going to carry on along the road as we were, or will we turn off and head up the mountain that we were meant for?

The Leaven of the New Creation

The DNA of the Kingdom of God

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” (Gal 5:6)

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.” (Gal 6:15)

When we preach Christ, we preach the new creation. When we receive Him, it is the New Creation that we step into. Jesus is King of the New Creation: in His Kingdom, all things are made new. On his first missionary journey, Paul had preached the gospel to the Galatians, and now the “Judaizers” were trying to lead them away from the Life of the Spirit and back under the law. This was the first of Paul’s epistles, and his message rings clear: the life that is ours in Christ comes by the Spirit, and not by the law. Paul stresses that there is just one characteristic, ‘the only thing that avails,’ in the New Creation, and that is faith working through love. This is the hallmark of their new life in Christ. “Faith working through love” is the very DNA of the Kingdom of God.

In the shortest parable that He gave, Jesus said:  “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” (Matt 13:33) In the Kingdom of God, the New Man is charged with the same command as was the first Adam: “Go forth and multiply.” We are instructed to go into all the world and make disciples, multiplying this Kingdom that we are part of, as disciples make disciples and pass on the DNA of the new creation until, like the stone that destroys the kingdoms of the world, it becomes “a great mountain and filled the whole Earth” (Daniel 2: 35). The Kingdom of God is like yeast, because yeast multiplies. The yeast that multiplies – this DNA of the Kingdom – is faith working through love.

The writer to the Hebrews tells us that “The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) The book where I think we can see the Word of God dividing between soul and spirit more than anywhere else in the New Testament is the letter of James, the brother of Jesus and one of the “pillars” of the Jerusalem church. James “divides” heavenly and earthly wisdom, wealth and poverty, trials and perseverance, sensual and spiritual prayer requests, empty faith and fruitful faith, the untamed tongue and “perfect” speech, pride and humility, judgement and grace. He lays out clearly the blueprint of the Kingdom of God, where faith flourishes in the context of a loving, Christ-centred lifestyle, and he succinctly wraps it up in a single verse: “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16) The “works” of faith that are central to James’s message (James 2:18) are both the supernatural results of Elijah-style prayer that this verse refers to, and the grace-filled lifestyle of the “righteous man” who prays them – faith at work in a setting of love.

James makes it clear that a fruitful Christian life requires full commitment to the Kingdom of God, because a “double-minded man” is “unstable in all his ways” and will “receive nothing from the Lord.” (James 1:8). His epistle progresses from portraying various characteristics of the “carnal Christian” whose faith is fruitless, to the picture of Elijah, who “was a man with a nature like ours” and whose faith both stopped and started the rain. In the new creation, where faith works through love, the prayer of faith raises up the sick person, the hungry are fed, and the needs of “widows and orphans” are met.  Elijah is praying in faith, and people are being loved.

The goal of discipleship, as expressed by Paul to Timothy, is “that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” This is a recurring theme in the New Testament, revisited from different angles. Paul prays that the Ephesians will be “filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph 3:19). James exhorts his readers to “let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:4) Paul prays that the Corinthians “may be made complete” (2 Cor 13:9), and his final exhortation to them is, again, “Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete…” (2 Cor 13:11) He tells the Colossians that “Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” (Col 4:12) The writer to the Hebrews prays that his readers “may be made complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. ”

Finally, Jesus tells us “therefore be perfect, just as your father in heaven is perfect” (Matt 5:48). Throughout the epistles, the Holy Spirit takes these words of Jesus and makes them known to us (John 16:14) so that we can see the goal of His discipleship programme. If the Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven, then faith working through love should be multiplying “perfect”, “complete” believers in our churches, as double-minded, carnal, babes in Christ learn to “crucify the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Gal 5:24)

This is the trajectory of discipleship: the babe in Christ who walks after the flesh becomes complete, like Elijah, and walks after the Spirit, as the DNA of the Kingdom multiplies in his or her heart. It is the bottom line of what it means to make disciples. It is what God will be seeking to restore in the church when He pours our His Spirit in the coming revival. He has been seeking it since Pentecost.

Paul said to Timothy: “Those things you heard from me, commit to faithful men who are able to teach others also.” (2 Tim 2:2.) In one verse, we see the leaven of the Kingdom multiplying three times: from Paul to Timothy; from Timothy to “faithful men,” and from those faithful men to “others also.” I see three questions arising out of this scripture:

  1. Are we training up “Timothys?”
  2. If we are, are they hearing from us the same things as Timothy heard from Paul?  
  3. Does our church model promote multiplication of that leaven as far as the “others also,” who will in turn eventually be reaching Timothys of their own?

The new wine is coming, so that as we drink of it the double-minded babe can become, like Timothy, the complete Elijah. He has poured it out many times before, and every time it has stayed around for a little while, then the wineskin has broken and the wine has drained away. If the next revival is going to be different, it won’t be the wine that has changed; it will be because the wineskins don’t break.

We’ve all had a chance over the last year to inspect our wineskins. Have we got the new ones ready? Or are we going to ask God, yet again, to pour the new wine into our old wineskins? Because we know what will happen if we do.

Where shall I send them? (A prophesy)

“The LORD has founded Zion,
And the poor of His people shall take refuge in it.”
(Isaiah 14:32)

Many of us have heard and spoken words prophesying the coming revival. In an intercession time recently we were praying for all those who would come to the Lord during this revival, and suddenly I saw His eyes, full of compassion and concern, and He was asking: “Where shall I send them? You say, ‘Here am I, send me,’ but will you also say ‘Here am I, send them to me’?”

Because they will come from the highways and hedges. There will be the poor, the needy, the illiterate, the refugee. This revival will not be like any other. There is a storm coming that will start to blow away some of the structures supporting this world: when have started to collapse many will come to the church for support. They will be drawn out of the darkness into the Light. Can we hold them up? Will the one who has two coats share with the one who has none, and the one who has food do the same (Luke 3:11)?

Just as we might prepare for extra family members to come into our house at Christmas, I feel the Lord is asking the church to prepare His house for the many extra family members that are going to arrive. Are their rooms ready? Do we have enough of the right food, and the people to serve them? The Lord is looking even now at all the people He is calling, and His eyes are looking into all our churches. He is asking: “Where shall I send them? Can I send them to you?”

The Cage and the Building

Susie Molina and Jarrod Cooper both received a “word for 2021,“ posted UK Prophetic Releasers facebook page and on ukpropheticwords.blogspot.com. Jarrod had a dream in which many of “his” congregation streamed out of the church while he was at the front leading the meeting: when he asked the Lord why this was, he was told that they were leaving in order to go out on the streets and preach the gospel. The dream was an illustration of the words “The Church has left the building.” Susie, in the two visions “The caged lion and the staircase” writes of the church as a tired, weakened lion lying in a cage with the door open – free to leave but choosing to remain. “…Due to his long confinement, the lion had not been mentally and physically prepared and fit to see the enemy attack come and deal with it well because he had forgotten how to respond like a true lion in the wild. Chosen confinement, false comfort and increasing apathy had compromised and dulled his natural responses.”

As I read these two messages I saw that the two are closely coupled: the “cage” is the “building.” Many prophetic voices are talking about a shaking of the establishment, about new equipping, new anointing, new release for ministry for the coming season, but I believe that central to all of this is the following:

God is doing a realignment of leadership in the church and will establish Ephesians 4:11-13 as a foundational principal of ministry. I believe the Lord says: “I am going to re-align the five-fold ministries with their original purpose. I did not give these ministry gifts to build my church. I will do that. They were not given for platforms and audiences, for I am your platform and I am your audience. I gave them ‘for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,’ so that all can go out and make disciples. For making disciples is the work of ministry. I build my church; you make disciples. In building, apostles were given to equip the saints to build; in prophesying, prophets were given to equip others to prophesy; evangelists to equip to preach the gospel, pastors to equip to lead, and teachers to equip others to teach and understand my Word. I am taking my church back, and I am releasing my ministry gifts to release others to make disciples in the power of my Spirit, and they will go out and make more disciples because they too have been equipped. Because this is how I have always planned it, and this is the time when you will see my plans being realised. Freely you have received; freely give. As you flow, you will grow. Where there were congregations within walls, there will be conflagrations of holy fire beyond the walls. This is how my glory will be revealed and how my Bride will come to maturity. I am restoring the wild instincts of the lion, and she will shake off her apathy and come out of the building that has caged her in for so long, and she will roar on the streets. And it is the roar of the Lion of Judah that will be heard.”

The Prophetic Voice

When we hear prophetic words from different sources that both say the same thing, we can be sure that the Holy Spirit is speaking to the church. It may be the local church, or it may be the wider church, but what is important is that the Commander of the Lord’s army is giving out battle instructions, so when He speaks we need to pay attention.

Jake Dominy at Wildwood and Andrew Baker in Cornwall have both had the same word recently, which is this: “I am releasing the voice of my prophets into the church.” God doesn’t do anything without “first revealing it to His servants, the prophets,” (Amos 3:7); and as it appears that He has got a lot planned for the coming season, the prophets are going to be busy.

What does this mean? I think there are three things. The first is this. I think churches that up till now have paid little or no attention to the prophetic ministry, or have kept it under close pastoral control, are going to find that the Word of God will to come to them “like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces,” (Jer 23:29) unless they change their unyielding attitude. I don’t know how this might come about, but I feel it is a word that the Lord has given me.  This may be a prayer pointer for those intercessors who are praying for their local churches: it is better to bend than to break.

Number two: God is raising up new prophetic voices and prophetic channels. Some reach thousands; some reach only a handful of people, but all are of equal value in His sight and each assignment is unique. If you feel drawn to the prophetic, maybe God is stirring something in you. Don’t resist the Holy Spirit. There are two resources on this site that can help you if you are starting out: Jakes’s “Beginner’s Guide to Prophesy,” which he has written recently as he has moved forward on his own journey, and some notes I put together which you will find at the under the ”School of Prophesy” heading. I encourage you to read them both.

Finally, we will see more directive and detailed words coming into the church as God clears and refines the vision of those who are already operating in a prophetic gifting. Church leaders who we don’t normally associate with bringing prophetic words are going to grow more confident in this area as the Holy Spirit increases a prophetic anointing on their ministry. Churches that are already open to the gifts or the Holy Spirit are going to need to make some adjustments in how they operate their services – whether they are still digital, or meeting in person again –  in order to make room for this increase in prophetic input.

This is a new season, God is doing new things, there is a battle raging, and the Lord is shaking the heavens and the earth. While everything must be weighed and tested, and the church certainly must not run to the prophets as if they were fortune tellers, this is nevertheless an important time to heed the prophetic voice.

A Beginner’s Guide to prophesy

By Jacob Dominy

What do you see ?

You may see a canal, you might see a lovely day by a canal, you feel beautiful countryside. You might see a dirty canal surrounded by lovely landscape. Whilst all these are true, the answer I would give is that we see  a poor but amazing reflection of the of the sky and landscape in the canal. As Jesus said the disciples: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” What we “see” in prophesy is a reflection of what the Father is doing, and even then it’s a poor one, because as Paul says in 1Cor 13:12 “We see through a glass, darkly,” or as another translation puts it “What we see is just a poor reflection in a mirror.”

This is a very important principle that one must understand when stepping out into prophecy, whether you have been called to be a prophet, have a gift of prophecy or are just finding out more about this gift. 

Jesus asked his disciples a similar question in Mark 8 27 –29

“Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”

 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”

Simon Peter had the revelation and the prophetic insight to see that Jesus is the Messiah.  This passage points out that we are to look beyond the natural and more towards what the natural is pointing us to, so that we can understand what the Lord is wanting to show us in the spiritual realm.  This brings us back to my original question: What do you see?  The reason I gave the answer I did can be found in 1 Corinthians 13 v 8 –10, where the apostle Paul aptly writes:

“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.”

We prophesy in part: what we see is like a poor reflection in a mirror.

This must remain a core value to hold to when we prophesy. In fact the whole of 1 Corinthians 13 is key. Prophesy should never be “look at me!” The whole of this passage is about what love is, and prophecy is a love-gift from the Holy Spirit to the church to build, encourage, warn and guide. If we were then to try and do this from the wrong motives we would not be acting out of love but out of pride or ambition, trying to gain position or get noticed. This return will actually damage and destroy the church.  WE MUST ALWAYS PROPHESY OUT OF LOVE FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Cor 13:2)

We can all prophesy, but not all called to be prophets.

There are many gifts to the church, and most of these we can all seek after. In 1 Corinthians 14:1 Paul specifically encourages us to “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” However not all of us are called to be prophets, just as we are all called to evangelize but not all of us are called to be evangelists.

There are many forms of prophecy. Jesus says “my sheep hear my voice,” and in essence prophecy is simply hearing messages from God for other people. Some can hear from the Holy Spirit better in the quiet place; others hear from the Lord through creativity, others when out in the countryside. Likewise prophecy can be  encouragement in the form of a picture from the Lord, discernment on how to handle situations  with wisdom, or it can take many other forms. Prophesy should never contradict the Bible, and should always be in keeping with the guidelines given in 1 Cor 14: 3, “He who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.”

But does this mean that we should only continue listening to the Holy Spirit in the way that we are used to and are good at? I honestly do not believe this. God is a God of endless variety, so I think that we should learn to hear from the Lord in many, many other ways. This not only keeps us more open to what the Spirit is saying, but also will bring us a more immersive experience, a deeper understanding of the Lord, and greater joy in our hearts.

In John 10:10 Jesus says “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.” Part of having life and having it to the full is to be able to communicate (listen and talk: it is a two-way thing) and enjoy walking with the Lord in all that we do.

 A Spirit of Praise

Another principle that I have come to realize on reflection is that the Holy Spirit tends to use us more when we have a spirit of praise. This can be as simple as thanking God for who He is. Just a starter is to say something like “Thank you Jesus for Loving me” a couple of times  a day, and see where that leads. If you don’t feel that way inclined, Isaiah 61:3 says that God will give “a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness,” so you can ask Him for it.

This brings us back the start: what can you see? We should aim to only do what we see the Lord doing. After all, if Jesus Himself had to see what Our Father was doing, how much more should we be earnestly seeking to see what the Father God is doing.

Saying that, if you thought you have heard from the Lord the most important thing is to act on it and step out. Give your word from the Lord and do not to be afraid, or think “What if I get it wrong?” We all have to start somewhere. When you do step out make sure that you do it under the covering of the leadership. In the current circumstances share via email, text or on the phone; or once your church meets again as a body bring it to the person overseeing the meeting.