COMPANIES OF PROPHETS
by Lyn Packer
In Scripture we see that the prophets functioned both as solo prophets and in companies of prophets, and in this article I want to focus on the aspect of companies of prophets – how they function, and their place, in today’s church.
Over the past half century, as the gift of prophecy has been reintroduced to the church, we’ve seen mostly solo prophetic people using their gift. We’ve not seen Prophetic Companies functioning in the church until now, and while there is definitely the place for solo prophetic ministers in the church today, we are now seeing God raising up companies of prophetic people within churches, regions and nations.
This is, in fact, both healthy and needed, as New Covenant prophetic ministry functions best in a team environment. Why? Because we know in part and we prophesy in part – we are not infallible (1Cor13:9). We are part of a Body - no one part can say to another "I have no need of you" (1 Cor 12). Scripture tells us that in a meeting two or three may prophesy but the others judge the word. (1 Thess 5:19-21;1 Corinthians 14: 29)
One of the things God is doing is setting the prophetic firmly in place as a part of the Body of Christ, not as being separate from it. It was never meant to be a stand-alone, stand-apart-from-the-Body type of ministry. One of the greatest tactics of the enemy against New Covenant prophetic people is to cause them to feel isolated and alone.
In the Old Testament we see many instances of Prophetic Companies and this carried over into the New Testament church, too. (Acts 11:27, 1 Cor 14:29)
Below are some thoughts on Prophetic Companies and what they have to offer us. They are not listed in order of importance, just in the order I thought of them.
A Prophetic Company is...
- A place where it is recognised that everyone can prophesy. It’s a place of safety and celebration of trying, a place of strategic growth and input.
- A place where it is recognized that some people are called to move in the gift of prophecy and some are called to be prophets. That difference is in function, not importance.
- A place where prophetic people are committed to training themselves intentionally in their gift and character so that the churches and communities they serve may be blessed.
- A place of encouragement and growth in community.
- A place of validation of what God is saying to individuals – in the mouth of two or three witnesses something is established.
- A place of learning from each other.
- A place of development, relationship and ministry opportunities.
- A place of feedback and growth in our gift.
- A place of prophetic diversity - diversity in operation, in assignment, in administration or expression of gift.
- A place where different assignments create different protocols. How you minister, and the language you use, may vary, depending on if you are ministering to a businessman or to a young Mum.
- A place of prophetic accountability, of judging prophecy and prophecy being acted on strategically.
- A place where people find their fit, their metron – who they are called to serve.
It’s a place where Character is as important as Gift.
In a Prophetic Company, character issues are addressed through all levels of training. As part of the training they look at the hidden traps in things like -
- The myth of prophetic personality.
- Formation of character – the thought that gift is more important than character.
- Unhealthy emphases in regards to the formation of gift.
- Focusing on delivery more than on the person being ministered to.
- Unhealthy desires, such as the desire to be awesome or good at your gift. This deals with things like the need to be needed, to be accepted, to be seen to be good a something, the desire to show how much you know, the desire to prove that you are called (which is often the branch of a deeper need) etc.
- Developing the fruits of the spirit in a prophetic person’s life – looking at things like the desire to be right, above being kind.
- Manifestations and how to control them so that they don’t take away from what you share.
- Quirks of prophetic delivery that mar the message.
It’s a place where Prophetic Protocol is observed
- Where people are established in an understanding of the covenant they live under and are in right relationship with the Body, leaders and each other.
- A people who understand that the prophetic is given for building up. Scripture shows us that Scripture itself and relational interaction are the best ways to bring correction under the New Covenant, not prophetic ministry.
- It’s a place where we accept prophetic responsibility. We don’t just give a word and walk away. We realise that our words have impact, and consequences, for the person we are ministering to. We shouldn’t give anyone a word that we wouldn’t be willing to walk through and process with them if they need that.
- How the word is delivered is part of the word and it must convey the nature and character of the Trinity and their heart and intent toward that person or group.
- It is understood that the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet. A fruit of the Spirit is self-control. That shows in aspects of protocol like respecting and adhering to any time limits given, to restrictions around when to prophesy etc. You are not a law unto yourself because you hear from God.
What to look for in any Prophetic Company you are invited to join
In the days ahead we will see many Prophetic Companies being raised up, and you may very well be presented with the opportunity to become part of one. The following are some suggestions as to what to look for, particularly in regards to the leadership of such a group. Look for...
- Leaders who understand what New Covenant prophetic ministry is, and who know and model well the love and heart of the Trinity – Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit.
- Leaders that are motivated by love and genuine desire to build up God's people and see them released into His fullness. (1 Cor 14:3, Eph 4:11,12)
- Leaders that are proven in prophetic call, gift, character, and are recognized by the church as having both the heart and the ability to train people to become mature prophetic ministers.
- Leaders that are in right relationship with the Body of Christ and have leaders that they are accountable to, who are humble, teachable and under authority – to Christ and His Body.
- Leaders who have no desire to, and will not, use their gift or the group to draw people to themself.
- Leaders who exhibit the same character qualities that are required for other positions of church leadership, as laid out in Scripture (1 Tim. 3:1-13, Tit 1:5-9)
Lyn is recognised as a Prophet within New Zealand and other nations she’s ministered in. Her ministry is revelatory and catalytic, propelling people into encounter with God. The governmental prophetic gift she carries is expressed through prophetic, revelatory insight and strategy, prophetic words (personal, corporate and national), teaching, art, and writing. Click here for more info...