Among the gifts given by Holy Spirit, one is given special attention by Scripture, emphasized as a gift of the Spirit to be pursued, a gift valued by its capacity to build, encourage, and embolden the people of God. The gift of prophecy.
Paul makes some really strong statements with regard to this enabling capacity of spirit that should focus the attention of all God’s leaders on prophetic anointing. He says, “Pursue agape love, and passionately desire spiritual things, especially that you may prophesy…those prophesying speak build up, embolden, and activate people.” Paul says, “Especially.” This comes immediately after his clarification that agape love is not a gift function but the proper motivation behind all spiritual ministry.
He concludes, “Since you are passionate for spiritual things, focus that passion upon excelling in building up the ecclesia.” Since prophesy “especially” builds up the church, we should have a greater passion for prophetic ministry than other spiritual capacities, desiring all but “especially” desiring prophecy. This does not diminish any of the special charismata, gifts that function as enabling capacities of spirit, but it does “especially” elevate prophesy among them.
So, every leader should function with this prophetic capacity, learn to excel in its use and practice, and provide a ministry atmosphere charged with prophetic spirit. Every leader can excel in this gift without being specifically assigned to the prophet’s office. Every leader in the kingdom can lead prophetically by leading by revelation, surrounding the leadership with people who function prophetically, and emphasizing the prophetic gift in intercession, worship, leadership, and ministry operations like healing, freedom, counsel, and discipling.
As I discuss at greater length in my book, The Spirit and Power of Elijah, the church should base its function upon revelation, the present, active, leadership of Holy Spirit revealing what God wants for His people and what He wants His people to do. Holy Spirit reveals and communicates through prophetic gifts and office, so living and leading consistent with Holy Spirit requires church leaders to set some priority for prophesying.
Receive Prophetic Ministry
Many leaders do not have a comfort level for the prophetic gifts because they do not have personal experience with the ministry of a prophet. Through this personal experience of the ministry of the prophetic, leaders would gain a greater expertise of what prophetic ministry provides and a greater appreciation of why the Scriptures lift its exercise and value among the other graces of spiritual things. They would be hungry for gift of prophecy exercise in their intercessors and leaders.
Experiencing prophetic ministry may add depth and spiritual revelation to every aspect of ministry. Worship can be prophetic. Dance can be prophetic. Intercession can be prophetic. Preaching can be prophetic. Teaching can be prophetic. Counsel can be prophetic. Deliverance and healing can be prophetic. Wedding ceremonies, baby dedications, and ordination and commissioning can be prophetic. Every ministry strategy of Jesus for His called together assemblies is enhanced, deepened, and empowered by prophetic ministry.
Personally experiencing the ministry of the prophet expands spiritual functions in which leaders already operate, for prophets release several aspects of the Anointing. Prophets help leaders break through opposition, strongholds against their assignments, and reveal strategies of hell to distract and frustrate their leadership.
Producing a Prophetic People
Since apostles and prophets are foundational leaders in the eclessia, leaders must produce apostolic and prophetic people. To lead apostolically and prophetically, you must produce apostolic and prophetic people.
Attempting to have some prophetic people, some apostolic people, like a gentle mix of flavors in the recipe, sprinkled on top like sugared confetti, or allowed to play along from a hidden room in the back of the building, will not produce apostolic and prophetic foundations. It will encourage a circus act sideline: apostolic and prophetic people will look like a side show, the spiritual bearded lady, the man with the four-foot beard, the giant who can bite through steel. Apostolic and prophetic people are the norm, not the exception, and they are not weird unless they lack training and protocol.
The reason many leaders shun the prophetic is simply because they do not know who to lead prophets and prophetic people. They do not know how and when to shut up what is out of order, receive what they don’t want to hear, and bring loving but firm correction. So, they see the prophetic as messy and troublesome. They come to despise prophesying and are left without the ability to hold what is good because they just don’t allow any of it.
A prophetic people hear and see spiritually. An apostolic people establish and position with the authority of assignment. Of course, without revelation, we don’t know what we are missing. We are not aware of what is available and assigned because we are listening to God’s strategic insights that He releases through prophetic people, gifts, and prophets in a prophetic atmosphere.
People who do behave strangely in order to validate or seek the validation of their prophetic and apostolic pedigrees do look like side-show aberations. However, the reason they do might be traceable to the failure of kingdom leaders to provide the norm, and people striving to find their proper places in the ecclesia are left with an overcompensation syndrome.
It is like women whose calling and ministries are rejected because they are female attempting to act like men in order to be received and accepted; women shouldn’t act like men in order to be leaders, but women should act like women leaders, behave consistent with the kingdom assignment of women, the role that women fill in the home and eclessia, without the driven demand to be accepted. Women don’t have to be like men to lead because their leadership functions differently than men’s.
In the same way, prophets and prophetic people don’t need to wave flags and blow trumpets to be see and heard when they rest in the place prepared for their gifts and ministries. Either way, prophets and prophetic people require strong leadership, bold correction, and constant nurture like any other aspect of the kingdom.
Establishing a culture and condition in the eclessia for apostolic and prophetic people is as foundational to their function as it is for the apostolic and prophetic leaders assigned to lead them. The driven demand to be validated may disappear quickly when the norm if established and functioning. Those who insist upon dysfunction and malpractice should sit until they learn to follow the protocols of the Spirit and the order of the house that protects, prepares, and provides for their prophetic function.
To lead prophetically, we must produce a prophetic people. The gift of prophecy should be desired by all, and all disciples should have a prophetic nature, share a prophetic atmosphere, and build upon a prophetic foundation.
Leaders who dismiss these foundational prerequisites are really asking Jesus to change His design and strategy for His ecclesia to fit their personal comfort levels. They are saying, “I’m not particularly prophetic, so let’s change the definitions and designs to fit my my personality.” The proper response would be to change: repent for resisting and rejecting the Bible’s clear descriptions of Jesus’ intentions and surrender to the grace and gift that Holy Spirit desires for the called together assemblies.
I remember hearing TD Jakes tell a massive group of leaders in Africa: “Stop following leaders who refuse to change.” I’m not saying TD Jakes agrees with what I’m saying, but I am quoting this statement because it is so powerful! Leaders who refuse to change miss God, personally, corporately, and strategically.
If your own leadership foundations are not apostolic and prophetic, change your operational behavior by changing your spiritual foundations of ministry: change to be changed. Repent. Change. Be changed.
In the season of your personal transformation, you will surrender the dominating desire to lead by calculation, cease political maneuvering, people-pleasing and excise the fear of man, and you will become a leader Jesus can use to lay foundations for His kingdom strategies.
In this way, you will begin to set leaders in place by apostolic authority, equip them through prophetic impartation and revelation, build with spiritual reality more than natural reality. You will find your prayer life is the ministry, and the most powerful aspects of your ministry will be settled in the spirit before they are released in the natural.
Change will reset your definition of success. You can be free to measure your leadership by the leaders you disciples, the leaders you produce. You can be free to measure success by how well you produce kingdom leaders, more than by money raised and accumulation of believers, the number of spectators you are able to assemble in seats. Your assembly of believers will be filled with purpose because it will announce and establish and all who are assigned will be established and edified.
Since Holy Spirit is operating SpiritFirst, leaders must realize a prophetic anointing is always available for their leadership, and any other dominate condition would be aberrant to His way of doing things. A prophetic anointing is available for your life and leadership. Pursue it. Produce it. Practice it. Prophesy it.
The way that Jesus designed His ecclesia to function requires that His voice be heard SpiritFirst, by revelation, knowing things by the spirit that you cannot know by any other means. These revelations are tested by what we know so that we can be bold in our responses. We can recognize revelations as valid because God has already revealed Himself in the Bible, but God introduced Himself and His ways in the Bible so that we could recognize Him when He gets involved in our lives. Here and now.
Prophetic anointing will change every aspect of your ministry leadership. For the better! Then, you will begin the process of injecting prophecy into intercession, worship, decision-making, vision casting, fund-raising, and the ministry of Jesus that releases salvation and redemption to people, cities, and nations.
Once you determine to pursue this gift and grace flow, God will introduce people into your life to assist you. He will bring books, DVD’s, conferences, and leaders into your life to assist your growth and maturity.
Holy Spirit is your Teacher, so enroll in the School of the Spirit today!