SOME THOUGHTS ON WHAT A PROPHETIC CHURCH IS . . .
By Rodney W. Francis (Paraparaumu, NZ) and Len Buttner (East Auckland, NZ).
Today there is a great and growing need for an alternative to the current “programmed Church mentality” that has become very predictable (wherever one travels in the world).
The Leader(s) Role is Very Different:
A Prophetic Church is one where the Leader(s) are totally committed to seeking to obey the voice of the Holy Spirit in what takes place during the time the Christians are together in Fellowship. The “service” may or may not start with music and singing, opening prayer, etc. And it may not close with a song and a prayer.
Its emphasis is upon “capturing” that which the Holy Spirit desires us to live and walk in through the exercising/actions of obedience, teaching and developing the nine Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 12-14; Romans 12) in such a way that the people are released to function, as well as mature in those Gifts. We have discovered that there are varying realms of each of the nine Spiritual Gifts, so there is plenty to “explore” there in our pursuit of God.
It is a Mobilising Church:
A Prophetic Church is a mobilising church. Its focus is upon preparing and equipping the people for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4; Colossians 4:17). Therefore it must recognize and cultivate the growth of the five-fold ministries in our midst, i.e. apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 2 and 4). These gifts to the Body of Christ can only develop as they are recognized, encouraged and released by those in authority where one Fellowships.
It is a New Covenant Church:
A Prophetic Church places a strong emphasis on the New Covenant and what that means ~ Jesus imparting to us His mantle through the power of the Holy Spirit and His Gifts. It seeks to avoid getting a “mixture” of Old and New that only relegates the Gospel into a powerless creed. We are a people of grace and not of the law.
The teaching of a Prophetic Church is built around the prophetic ministry of the Bible. It seeks to build the credibility and accuracy of “the Word of the Lord” ~ that which is inspired by the Holy Spirit of Truth and entrusted to us to outwork through our lives and ministries.
It is a Different Kind of Music Church:
A Prophetic Church has a music emphasis that flows along with the afore-mentioned. It is sensitive to what the Holy Spirit is wanting to say or do in that particular meeting ~ therefore the leader(s) need to be free enough in themselves to change direction or focus at any given point during that time. When we have that freedom in our midst, we will be surprised at how it all turns out, to the Glory of God.
It is a Transferring of Spiritual Truths into a Practical Working Reality:
A Prophetic Church is not all “teach, teach,” but as often as we can, we seek to transfer the theories of the Scriptures into a practical working reality. This includes using what we call “the chair,” where we place a person (or a husband and wife together) in a chair and let the rest of the gathered people “speak prophetically into their lives” through Spiritual Gifts, pictures, visions, prophetic drawings, songs, drama, prophetic acts, whatever.
It is a Creative Church ~ Because The Holy Spirit is Creative:
A Prophetic Church is continually seeking to be creative, to do new things (in the Lord) ~ not simply for the sake of doing new things, but to lovingly and freely “move with God” and so prevent falling into the trap of doing the same thing in the same order week after week.
Therefore, the following can easily and quickly take place:
· One half of the gathering can turn to face the other half, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister back and forth through the people – one side ministering prophetically to the people on the other side.
· We can break up into small groups, where everyone in the group can be ministered to, and everyone gets the opportunity to minister to everyone else in the group.
· We can include prophetic music in these times, which always brings a further and added dimension of the Spirit into play.
· It is always good to have discussion times on matters to do with the prophetic.
· Questions and answers times are also very profitable. So many Christians never get the opportunity to ask what is on their heart in a public setting.
· Doing demonstrations. That is, set up a situation where we ask people what they would do in this certain set of circumstances. For example, how to minister with the laying on of hands, and how not to. Discussing the heart attitude when you are ministering a Word of Knowledge to others. What does one do when confronted with an unexpected wrong spiritual manifestation(s). What if you get it wrong? The examples are many.
· We have a strong emphasis on Prophetic Team Ministry, so we like to minister and share together as a Team. This helps us to see some things from a different perspective and so make us think that there can be “other ways” of seeing and doing things.
· A Prophetic Church will always be seeking to take the people with them. It is very relational, as it is personal and ministered in a loving environment ~ an environment that makes the people “feel safe” and to be able to share what is on their heart without the threat of “being judged.”
It is Based/Built on an Emphasis of Hearing From God:
A Prophetic Church is life-giving. It is an up-to-date, present-tense relationship with the Holy Spirit, Who only wants the very best for us. A Prophetic Church has a strong emphasis upon hearing and discerning the voice of God, and therefore much time is given to building the people’s confidence in their ability to know that the voice they are hearing is indeed the Lord (and if not, how they can adjust so they can get it right). This is a huge area and one we will never stop learning in. In fact, the Prophetic Ministry will never be exhausted. It concerns me when I hear a statement like, “The Prophetic was a stage we passed through and now we have moved on to better things.”
- The prophetic is the key to releasing the purposes of God in our generation!
- It must be strongly based on LOVE!
The following section has been contributed by Len Buttner:
Some of my thoughts are from Luke 17:21 . . . the Kingdom of God is wherever God reigns over the lives of His people. God’s Kingdom is not visible because God is not visible ~ it is a spiritual kingdom, not a visible one. Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is within you.”
Jesus gave us the Lord’s prayer, a petition to God: “Your kingdom come; Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). This is the priority Jesus gave to the Kingdom of God. His Kingdom will come on earth when the will of God is as respected here as it is in heaven . . . When the visible world totally reflects the invisible world. Whenever we honour Jesus Christ as King, and wherever “The Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” ~ the kingdom of God is there (see 2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
A Prophetic Church is one that has a Kingdom of God Mentality and Emphasis:
- Praying God’s mercy for human needs.
- Prayer and fasting births signs and wonders.
- Prayer is a key to deliverance.
Restoration ~ the Work of the Holy Spirit:
- Intimacy with the Lord.
There will be a restoration of His intimacy with His people submitting to God. That intimacy which was broken at the Garden will be completely restored. We will become more and more one with Christ and with God, just as Jesus prayed in John 17:21- 22 ~ “That they all may be one, as You Father are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one, just as We are one.”
The Bride will prepare herself and allow herself to be “cleansed by the washing of His Word, without spot, wrinkle or blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27). (End of Len’s contribution).
The Holy Spirit is the Agent of Restoration:
Peter prophesied that God would pour out His Holy Spirit (Acts 2:17-18) on all flesh. That outpouring began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). His power would be shared with all flesh, and not limited to one chosen individual! Jesus told His disciples it was to their advantage for Him to leave them and go to the Father (John 16:7), because then the Holy Spirit could be sent to indwell each of them, to fill them and to enable the supernatural works of God to be done through them.
The Holy Spirit reveals the need for the regeneration of the dead spirit of man and the cleansing that makes the new man acceptable to God (Titus 3:5-6). This is important for the process of growth for the individual ~ “Christ Who is our life” (Colossians 3:4) and Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). This includes healing of the human spirit, the emotions and physical healing of the body, which reveals God’s heart of love for mankind, and His compassionate heart of mercy for mankind to be healed. The Cross of Christ has opened the door to God’s healing power to restore broken hearts, broken lives, broken bodies, and broken homes. His stripes release a resource of healing at every dimension of our need. His blood covers our sin with redemptive love, and every sickness (as part of the curse) is broken.
It is Now the Holy Spirit Who is in you!
The Christian believer, by having the Holy Spirit within him, has power over all demons. Jesus Christ sent His disciples out on their mission. He said He was giving them “authority over all the power (Greek word is “dunamis”) of the enemy” (Luke 10:19). Deliverance is accomplished by the spoken word, in the name of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is done simply and quickly, as in Acts 16:16-18, where Paul was greatly annoyed, he then turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!”
The Prophetic Church means Becoming All God Originally Intended the Church to Be:
He said that all men would know His disciples by their love for one another (John 13:34-35). The Prophetic Church means the releasing of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual ~ God’s power with increasing measure through the Prophetic Church. That release will come through His people as the Gifts of the Holy Spirit operate ~ without restraint or restriction ~ under the direction of the Holy Spirit, and in the Spirit of God’s love.
Love is Essential:
Love is essential for the Prophetic Church “to come to maturity and unity in the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). Through the full operation of the gifts and ministries that Christ appoints, and operating in His Love and character, the Word says “All men will be drawn to Him” (John 12:32). This is the Church being restored in the glory of the Lord.
Please note that it is important that a prophetic people and a Prophetic Church have a means of accountability. It is therefore vital that recording equipment is available so that the Prophetic Words given are “captured.” That way, if ever there is a question or concern further down the track, then we can listen to the tape again and find out what was really said, and not what someone’s emotions were telling them; or they only heard what they wanted to hear. Guard yourself!
I trust this is helpful. Remember, we are learning too, in this exciting walk with Jesus and the Holy Spirit!
Rodney Francis is the Founder/Director of The Gospel Faith Messenger Ministry Team
Visit our Website: www.gospel.org.nz
Len Buttner is the Founder/Director of Eagle Ascend Ministries
Visit our Website: www.eagleascend.com