Tue 4 Dec 2012
Prophetic words for a church and its leadership do not always come from an outside prophetic ministry. Prophetic insights can also be given from within the local church—often from intercessors and those with prophetic gifts.
These have the potential to be a great blessing and encouragement, and if recorded and stored by the church leadership, can be of benefit in years to come.
As a prophetic intercessor, and then later as a prayer department leader and prophetic trainer, I have both given and reviewed many prophetic words throughout the years.
Here is the bottom line of everything I have learned: when the attitude of my heart is right, and the following Biblical outcomes are my genuine desire, then my prophetic ministry will be a great blessing to the local church. 
‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.’ (Prov 4:23)
Biblical Outcomes for Operating in Prophecy in the Church Environment
In the New Testament church, we have a Biblical mandate to use our gifts to:
- Strengthen and build the Church (1 Cor 14:4-5)
- Promote unity (1 Cor 1:10, Eph 4:3)
- Honour the leaders God has given to us (Heb 13:17)
- Prophesy out of love (1 Cor 13:2)
5 Things I’ve Learned to Consider When Prophesying about the Future of my Church.
What does it look like to give a prophecy for our church in a way that honours God and our leaders, and helps build the church? Following are some things that I have learned along the way:
1. Weigh up my Prophetic Insight before Sharing
Prophecy consists of a process—this can take moments in a meeting or situation, or it can take place over a longer period of time.
- Firstly, we receive a revelation, or insight, from the Holy Spirit
- We consider what God is saying through that insight and how and when to share it
- From there, we share the prophecy—usually with spoken or written words. 
Some helpful checks I take before sharing a word that concerns the future of my local church include:
- The Bible Test: is my word in harmony with Biblical principles?
- The Fruit Test: what outcome may my word result in? Does it strengthen, encourage, or comfort? (1 Cor 14:3) Will it help edify and build the church? (1 Cor 14:4) Does it promote unity?
- The Leadership Test: would my leaders be comfortable with this word, and am I willing for my word to be weighed up? (1 Cor 14:29, 1 Thess 5:19-21)
2. Take into Account my own Passion, Vision and Values
As prophetic people, we need to be aware of:
- Our own dreams and call of God and how we see this being outworked in church life
- Our personal ministry, gifts, passion and vision
This self-awareness is important because even when we have a pure revelation from the Holy Spirit, our personal values can affect the way we share the prophetic insight.
I have learned to be aware of my own natural tendency to see and communicate what God is saying through the narrow lens of my personal vision and values. When I love my church and honour my leaders, I will perceive and communicate my prophetic insights through the wide lens of what God has called my church to be and do.
For this reason, I encourage prophetic people to make a point of learning as much as they can about the leadership-led vision of their church and to embrace it as their own.
3. Protect the Unity of my Church
As prophetic people in the life of our local church, we can have a general understanding of the vision of our church leadership—in other words, the picture of the church’s future that our leaders have shared with us.
An important question I’ve learned to ask before bringing a word about the future of my church is, ‘Does this line up with the revealed will of God for my church as expressed through our church leaders?’
If the answer is no, or I am unsure, it does not mean that I cannot share it. In fact, it could be a powerful confirmation of something my leadership is currently considering—or it may relate to a future change of direction.
However it does change the way that I share it and the process that I take it through.
- Firstly, a word that differs from the current direction of the church should never be given publicly or shared around with other church members. I have known of situations where a so-called ‘prophetic’ vision that was different to that of the God-given vision of the pastors resulted in disunity and division.
- Instead, it is best to share the prophetic insight privately with our pastor (or if it relates to a ministry area, directly to that leader). If our leader gives the green light to share it in a public setting, we can go for it.
4. Communicate in the Appropriate Way
Every church has a unique culture, and this also applies to sharing prophetic insights. We need to be aware of any protocols in our church and graciously adhere to them.  Some settings in which it can be appropriate include prayer meetings, email, writing, sharing privately with a leader, etc.
When we are growing in our prophetic ministry, it can be helpful to have a safe place to share prophetic insights and discernment. In church life, a safe place is not to a friend (if inappropriate, this can be ‘prophetic gossip’) but to a designated leader or the pastor.
5. Release the Prophetic Insight Once Shared
I have learned that once I have brought a prophetic word about the future of my church, it is up to my leaders to weigh it up and respond to what God is saying. Even if the word is true, the timing of its fulfilment may be in the future.
So once the word has been shared, I can release my prophetic insights completely, remembering that the outworking of that word is not my responsibility. 
Do you have a prophetic word for your Church? Don’t hold back—the insight you bring may be timely and strategic, a great blessing for years to come and a tribute to God’s faithfulness and power to bring His promises to fulfillment.
 We need to keep our hearts clean from disappointments and frustrations. These if left unchecked will invariably taint—if not our prophetic insights, then certainly our delivery of them. See the following articles:
 Ways to bring prophetic insight without words include dance, drama, art and multimedia.
 We especially need to guard our hearts against discouragement, or pride (‘I am right and they are wrong’) when leaders do not respond to our prophetic insight in the way we believe they should. For help in this area, see my e-book, ‘Prophetic People In A Changing Church.’
Do you have any thoughts or questions on the topic of prophesying about the future of your church? Leave a comment in the comments box. If the comments section is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church
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