One of the big mistakes that the church has made over the last century is to devalue the prophetic ministry. That grace and gift from the Lord is necessary for the maturing and perfecting of the saints. Without exposure to prophetic and apostolic ministry believers become deficient in the “experience” of the gospel. Churches have focused on the evangelist, pastor and teacher and have become learning centers that have all the fluff and show of Christianity but deny the power that MUST be present to grow a strong mature people.
We must allow for the development of young prophets and give them room to grow and make mistakes within our midst . The leadership must encourage and nurture these individuals and provide them with sound council and accountability while assuring them a safe place to grow and develop.
Face it; prophetically gifted people tend to be different. They are going to be misunderstood and even avoided because they operate on a slightly different wavelength and to fit into a local church setting can be one of the most challenging of all tests for them. Few understand them, and therefore, few will trust them. If they can remain faithful and endure the misunderstandings and rejection while growing in love their maturity will fashion them into vessels of great use to the Lord. Those who separate themselves because of the rejection rarely have a fruitful ministry and often will go on to be used more by the enemy than the Lord, bringing division and destruction to the body.
Few pastors or church leaders are able to recognize true prophetic gifts and callings when they are still immature. The main reason is that a lot of Christians claim to be “prophets” when in reality, they wouldn’t know a prophet if he came down the street with a red hat on. Most pastors and church leaders have been hurt and burned by those who claim to be prophets more than they have been helped by them, so they are understandably hesitant to embrace anyone who claims to be a prophet. Even so, the prophets need the church, and the church needs the prophets just as much.
Pastors should learn to recognize a prophetic grace or gifting in a young Christian and help them discover their purpose and how they fit in the body. For the most part, church leadership has failed to distinguish between the grace, the gift, the calling and the commissioning. As we see in the Book of Acts, Paul was called as an apostle many years before he was commissioned to that ministry. As far as we can tell, between Paul’s calling and his commissioning range between eight and fourteen years. It is clear in Acts and from Paul’s letters that this time was spent in preparation, and that during this time, he ministered as a prophet and a teacher.
If you are wondering whether you have been commissioned yet, then you haven’t. When the real thing happens, it will be clear, and you will know that it came from God and not just men. Until then, we are in training, and the more significant your calling is, the more intense and usually longer and harder your training will be.
As one who is prophetically gifted I have had to learn a lot of this the hard way. Being different and having no mentor early on, I made a ton of mistakes. Not understanding why I do the things I do led me to model another prophet that I respected and was respected by my entire denomination. This was a huge mistake and brought serious correction from the Lord. Each prophet in Scripture was unique. God uses that uniqueness to relate to all of His people in a personal way. For this reason, we should never copy anyone else. We can learn from others, but must focus on the Lord, beholding His glory and being changed into His image, if we are to become who WE are created to be.