For many years I believed that the prophetic was a gift exercised by an elite unit of divinely identified and isolated individuals whose daily diet consisted of wild shrubs, honey and locusts. (If you’re wondering where I got this idea from, take a look at some of the Biblical time prophets).
To make matters worse, I was then informed by people around me that I possibly had this “gift.” While I had some form of biblical knowledge concerning the prophetic, I lacked the practical training. In my immaturity, I believed my prophetic gift was for my own use and whatever prophetic revelation I had was the most important revelation in the universe. Fortunately, God didn’t leave me as I was and through good solid teaching times (like the Four12 School of Prophecy) I grew in my understanding on the prophetic, immensely.
We are all gifted
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 mentions there are different kinds of gifts, ministries and activities that have been distributed across the body of Christ for the common good of the church. Furthermore, these gifts are for the service of others and for the stewardship of God’s grace. Each of these gifts fulfil their role when working in partnership and team with other gifts in the body of Christ. All of us as saints and members of the body of Christ have a role to play as “we are co-workers in God’s service”.
While there are numerous possibilities and various combinations of the different gifts and ministries working together, what I want to focus on is what I have learnt about the partnership between the apostolic and the prophetic. I believe that this is a powerful partnership and one of the greatest weapons the church has.
Understanding the role of apostles and prophets
Apostles are chosen by Jesus to serve the body of Christ as His delegated authority over the church. Apostles’ key roles in the church include charting the course and direction of the church and establishing doctrine.
The role of the prophetic is to unveil and reveal what is “unseen” with the natural eye and provide revelation of what is unknown or what is to come. Prophecy is for building up, encouraging and consoling the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 14:3).
The power of the apostolic and prophetic working together
Ephesians 2:20 mentions that God’s household is built on the foundation of apostles and prophets. This verse is still applicable today: when the apostolic and prophetic work together in partnership, a solid cornerstone and foundation is built for the body of Christ.
There is a story in Acts which tells of Agabus, a prophet who released a prophetic word predicting a famine that would spread across the entire Roman world. In response to this prophetic word, the saints collected an offering and sent it to the elders as a gift in preparation for the famine. This is a powerful, practical example of when the prophetic comes alongside the apostolic and reveals the “unseen”, the body of Christ is truly built up, encouraged and comforted.
Practical examples of the apostolic and prophetic working together
Across Four12 I have seen various examples of the apostolic and the prophetic working together. This is typically in the form of prophetic teams working closely with and in submission to the apostolic and eldership of local churches.
- Prophetic teams ministering across different congregations e.g. prophetic teams from one congregation ministering to another congregations or churches and denominations.
- Prophetic teams ministering to other specific ministries or teams e.g. prophetic teams ministering to business people’s meetings, ministering children’s church.
- Prophetic teams gathering at specific times to intercede, seek the Lord’s face and direction pertaining to a particular congregation.
My journey in the prophetic thus far
My journey in the prophetic did not end with me roaming the desert and eating shrubs (or begin there to be honest).
I was privileged enough to attend the 2017 Four12 School of Prophecy (SOPSA) in South Africa. SOPSA gave me a solid biblical and practical understanding of the prophetic. I was equipped and released to work in team with others and alongside the apostolic to serve the body of Christ. This has impacted my own life greatly and I have seen my gift grow significantly as I partnered with others in church family. I have truly seen that the body of Christ goes further when all of us use our gifts in team. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
My encouragement to you is, if you feel you are gifted in the prophetic, knit in closely with your local elders and other saints. Submit what you feel or hear to those entrusted with the leadership and direction of your local congregation (or across Four12), remember that God makes way for the gifts He entrusts to people. You don’t need to worry about being the ‘full package’ or prophetic superstar, God wants to use us in team! Prophecy, just like the gifts of hospitality or teaching is always about others, for others and entrusted to us by God for His purposes.
 Four12 School of Prophecy 2016. The Prophetic As A Tool In the Life Of The Church. Notes compiled by Jenny Fraser.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sandisiwe is a saint in Joshua Generation Church. Her desire is to support the body of Christ and to see the saints equipped. As a development economist she finds the interplay between economics, politics and social justice intellectually intriguing and is passionate about exploring biblical solutions to poverty.
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