I wanted to give you some practical help with the challenges you may face in encouraging the prophetic ministry in your church, be it through gifting or trans-local prophetic ministry.
In the local church we face a barrage of common challenges that can leave us significantly discouraged. Some of the circumstances that we face can vary from the extremes of not really being able to see the bigger picture of what God is doing in our lives, to feeling very much that we are all alone, or even living in the tension of not knowing how to fulfill the call that you may feel is on your life - but not recognised by others, especially the leadership of the Church. Sometimes the encouragement we need to hear is the exhortation that despite things being hard, the tide is turning.
Scripture is saturated with promise and Joel 2 certainly provides plenty of hope. How best to encourage sons and daughters to be on the reach for God, and step out in faith in the prophetic gifts may be something we need to seriously consider both in pastoral teaching and in our mutual exhortation.
Over time, we all we have to face difficult situations in Church life where we just don’t know if what we are facing is God or circumstance, or even the enemy. It can be easy to mistake assumptions or decisions based on suspicion mistaking it for discernment. One thing for sure is, we do have an enemy that will make the most of every opportunity that comes his way. We have to have wisdom in knowing how to deal with the elements we face. We're not alone - but that wisdom comes by asking, not by merely assuming we can work it out by ourselves.
At times we may also have to ask of ourselves or of another, the painful question, "what happens when things go wrong, really wrong?"
Pressing on, taking ground
Happily, it may be that we need to ask some key, strategic questions that can be any of the following, or more:
- How to respond to the prophetic
- How to encourage those who have prophetic gifting
- When to hold back prophetic contribution, or to ask for clarification
- Protocols - are they helpful, hindering or what?
- How should the church weigh prophetic words and contributions?
- Should we talk openly about visions, dreams, angels and other 'prophetic stuff'?
You probably can think of many more practical issues than we could possibly list. Please hear this, no matter what practical issues you face, the prophetic ministry is a gift from God and really is worth spending time and energy sorting through any frustration or deterrent that you may be facing. It simply is a most remarkable encouraging gift, how sad it is then when it is not functioning, or being neglected in the local church.
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