By Elaina Ayala
Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives–especially the ability to prophesy. (1 Corinthians 14:1 NLT)
I love that verse. I believe the Apostle Paul put such a great emphasis on the gift of prophecy because of what the gift of prophecy does! It’s a gift that revives dry places (Ezekiel 37), brings light to the dark places (Genesis 1:3), and convicts people of their God-given identity (1 Samuel 10). The gift of prophecy is such a vital part of the church. People are finding out that God is real and are inviting Jesus into their hearts every week at our church because of this gift.
I am convinced that all churches have prophetically gifted people. These gifted people are often shut down because they lack the communication skills, training etiquette, or structure needed to make this gift profitable to the hearer (1 Corinthians 12:7). As a result, their prophetic words are messy and get them in trouble with their leaders.
Other times, churches have great intentions but have not a mechanism in place for building prophetic teams or equipping the church members with the gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:31). They leave the role of prophecy to a handful of mystical, unapproachable (and usually scary) people, and thus, create a mindset in the others that prophecy is only for a select few.
But thank God, many pastors and leaders in the body of Christ are recognizing the need for training and are gleaning from prophetic teachings like never before — and all the prophetic people said….“Hallelujah!” I wanted to write this article to give some practical tips to pastors and/or ministry leaders who are ready to build and develop a sharp, relevant prophetic team that is not only anointed but well structured.
Last week my Pastor, Ron Eivaz, gave a great analogy in regards to the moving of the Holy Spirit and leadership structure. He explained how, without riverbanks, a river would flood out and have no impact. He correlated the river to the Holy Spirit and the riverbanks to leadership structure. He taught us that the riverbanks actually cause the river to be more powerful and result in longevity of impact. Building riverbanks in ministry is not the same as quenching the Holy Spirit — it’s reaching the lost and hosting a revival culture!
Here are 4 Practical Tips to Building a Prophetic Team:
1. IDENTIFY YOUR FLAVOR. Although prophetic resources and models are always great to glean from, not everything stylistically will apply to your group. Each region (or sphere of influence) is going to have its own flavor based on God’s purpose in that particular sphere. For instance, our flavor in the Central Valley of California is very much bent toward deliverance. Our teams are highly discerning and are constantly casting out demons. This is not something we go looking for or aspire to do, it’s just the way it pans out in OUR community. The reason for this is that there is a strong hunger for spirituality within our region. As a result many people have indulged in unholy spiritual practices and thus need deliverance from things like the occult very commonly. You’ll find, that subconsciously, the people in your community are hungry and searching for something. Find out what that something is, and prophesy to it. Pray into it and bring impact to YOUR community.
2. IDENTIFY YOUR FATSO’S. We love FATSO’s at our church. Read the acronym below to find out why (hehe). When recruiting, we are not looking for the most prophetically gifted people at this point. Believe me, you would MUCH rather have a Level 2 prophetic person who is teachable over a Level 10 prophetic person who is not! Read more about FATSO’s here. You’ll find that people can very easily be trained to prophesy (1 Cor. 14:31). It may be tempting to recruit the highly gifted people, but if they don’t pass these checks, do not put them on your team. FATSO’s are the people you want on your prophetic team.
F – FAITHFUL
A – AVAILABLE
T – TEACHABLE
S – SPIRIT-LEAD
O – OBEDIENT
3. TRAIN AND KEEP TRAINING. Have a set training at least every month with your team. Remember to keep the training fresh, keep the team challenged and celebrate their victories. When your team members take risk, especially with words of knowledge, celebrate them. We always celebrate risk-taking, even if they miss it. We do this to counteract any tendency toward perfectionism. Prophetic accuracy grows amidst risk-taking! I love this book and this book to practice giving prophetic words. Our team just started a new model: 1) Give a word of knowledge 2) Give a correlating scripture 3) Give the prophetic word 4) Seal it with a prayer of faith. Finally, keep prophetic training accessible to the church. We do this by offering a variety of prophetic trainings throughout the year to anyone who desires to learn. This is one way we develop a prophetic culture, which we can discuss another time.
4. IDENTIFY HOW YOU’D LIKE TO UTILIZE THE TEAM. Our team ministers prophetically on the 4th Sunday of every month for one hour before our evening service begins. We do this “booth style” and anyone can come to receive personal prophetic ministry. This is a highly utilized ministry and has been a great way to get the unchurched to church. In addition, our teams have various ways they use their gift outside of the church. Again, this may look different for your church. Once you’ve determined your mission, communicate it to the team, clearly and continually.
I hope this article will help you to develop and build your prophetic team! Peace.