Monday, September 19, 2011

A Prophet's Call - Set Apart

"Before you were born I consecrated you, I appointed you a prophet to the nations..." Jer 1:5b.

These are massive words. The prophet knows! I am yet to meet a true prophet who does not know that they are one. The prophet awareness often does not start somewhere in year 10 of their spiritual journey. Many would say that, looking back, there were some of these stirrings in place even before they officially came to faith. They may have struggled to make sense of them, but this is a gifting that was seeded in them even before they were born.

The prophet knows! They may not want their gift, like their gift or even operate in their gift, but they know that they have this gift.

The prophet knows! We are not talking about being prophetic, the spirit of prophecy or the grace manifestation of prophecy of 1 Cor 12 that many may step into from time to time. I am taking about the full "doma" of prophecy - the Jesus ascension gift [its all about him isn't it?]

The challenge that begins to emerge, is that these prophets find it very difficult to work with or supposedly be accountable to some who are uncertain about their gifting, unclear about their calling and mediocre in their journey. They are often told to be accountable to their elders [of the local church] but they find this extremely difficult. As believers , ordinary men and women, these prophets have a very good God gift in local community and its leadership, where they are accountable for who they are as people, to leaders who see them on a daily basis.

However, as far as the gift goes, I am not sure that the local elders / pastors are the correct biblically empowered leaders who can or should provide prophet partnerships. In older models, elders tend to be business types who are concerned with the business affairs of the church or pastors who are more concerned with the peace of the sheep than with the "now word" from heaven. True pastors will recognize the weight of this gift, will provide a safe shepherding enviroment for their wrestles, will love them deeply, and pray with and for them often, caring, trusting, encouraging them consistently.

Scripture seems to offer this matrix for prophetic co-journeys:
  • Prophets and apostles journey together, each needing the other - Eph 2:20, Acts 11:27 - 30,
  • Prophets and Teachers - Acts 13:1 - 3,
  • Prophets with prophets - 1 Cor 14.
I hope this helps and does not confuse. We are wanting to learn from our mistakes so that the next generation of prophets, elders, pastors and apostles do not have to painfully learn the lessons that we can pass onto them easily.


  1. John de Beer:
    Interesting take on "prophets" and prophetic people. My experience (after 20 years in the faith, 14 of those as full time elder) is that prophets are misunderstood. But this not of their own doing. They seems to be (mostly) 'free spirits' and don't easily work with elders on the ground. However, we have a few here in JoshGen, Cape Town, and I see them: serving, teachable, submissive, level-headed, down to earth, dynamic and effective. I know this isn't the case everywhere but I believe we (as elders) must make space for them, recognise them and give them a sense of "partnership", without their gift destroying them. Not easy, I know. But let's do it.

  2. Thanks Chris. Listening and pondering! Julie

  3. Thanks so much for this post. I wish I could find more perspectives like this in the Christian community. It makes me wonder how many have suffered as a result of church leadership misunderstanding or even condemning those with this unique gift.