We are convinced that the body of Christ is in a season of rapid expansion for the Gospel to reach all the corners of the world. That being said, a CONVERGENCE of Different STREAMS will make greater impact and reach the multitudes and we must make room for this. This convergence of unique and various streams will create one mighty river of God, bringing healing to the nations. While the greater church needs to function as a body, so do prophets and prophetic voices:
1 Corinthians 12:17-19
“Think of it this way. If the whole body were just an eyeball, how could it hear sounds? And if the whole body were just an ear, how could it smell different fragrances? But God has carefully designed each member and placed it in the body to function as he desires. A diversity is required, for if the body consisted of one single part, there wouldn’t be a body at all!”
Without ALL the parts functioning together, we are quite a broken body. I am referring to the old patterns we have seen of Loan Rangers, or independent ministers, changing.
The Lord is calling us prophets to gather from all corners of the nations to release His Name and HIS GLORY and reach a greater measure together.
“A collective of prophets is coming forth!” I can’t shake the word “collective,” as this is how the Lord will communicate His message in this new era and new wineskin. It takes a variety of messengers to communicate the different facets of the Message.
The wineskin of the prophetic movement is shifting in this season. In days past, there were pioneers who often had to stand and speak alone, not because they didn’t desire relationship or accountability, but simply because there were no other prophetic voices in the land to stand with them. The prophetic pioneers of past generations were sovereignly and strategically used by the Lord to build a platform for an entire community of prophetic voices to speak forth.
We need the pioneers! The pioneers of one generation are the mothers and fathers of the next. The prophetic pioneers who broke things open in the spirit are essential to the present move of God. I don’t care if their style is different or their mode of presentation is unique; the price they paid to function as prophets before this present era where the prophetic became more acceptable is worth honoring, period.
Companies, schools and groups of prophets. When we trace the history of the modern prophetic movement, starting with the 1980’s and 90’s, even though we observe notable pioneering figures like Bill Hamon, Chuck Pierce, Cindy Jacobs, James Goll, Rick Joyner and others leading the way, it seems that there has always been a company of prophets functioning in a New Testament context. Even the prophets I just mentioned are, I believe, all operating in healthy community with one another and other five-fold leaders in the body of Christ. Go back even further to the Old Testament, and you will notice, time after time, communities and schools of prophets (see 1 Sam. 10:5-6, mention of a “group of prophets”; 1 Sam. 19:19-24, Saul prophesying with a company of prophets; 2 Kings 9:1-3, “sons of the prophets”; Ezra 5:2, the “prophets of God” are presented as a community who supported the rebuilding of the house of God). There is an Old and New Testament framework for prophets operating in community.
For the emerging generation, we should pay careful attention to these Biblical examples, while also intentionally positioning ourselves in submission to the prophetic mothers and fathers who pioneered the road ahead of us. I’m convinced that we will not see revival in the church or reformation in the Earth unless the sons and daughters, old and young, are in alignment. Generations must be connected in order for the prophetic purposes of God to be released in the Earth!
A new wineskin and operating system for prophets and prophetic people. For the measure of outpouring the Lord desires to release in the Earth, I believe there needs to be a wineskin, or operating system, in the church that is able to contain and sustain it. I’m convinced that International Young Prophets is a wineskin that will enable the Spirit to release “new wine” to and through, as it maintains a connection to the past (mothers, fathers and pioneers of the prophetic), while also building a relationship structure for emerging prophets and prophetic voices to be in healthy community with each other.
When Paul gives direction on operating in the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 14, it appears that the prophets, or those delivering prophetic utterances, would be held in accountability to the rest of the people. In verse 24, Paul uses the phrase “if all prophesy.” This suggests that the people of God, whether prophets by office or prophetic simply because they are indwelt by the Spirit, are called to function as a company, a collective, a group. All. Yes, it should be done “decently and in order” (v. 40), but the fact remains that God desires for a company of prophets and prophetic people to be functioning in the body of Christ—yes to hear and decree the word of the Lord, but also, to help the Ekklesia as a whole grow in its collective ability to discern, decipher and declare the voice of the Lord.
Two elements that I believe are essential safeguards for emerging, young prophets (any prophet, really): 1. Love the Word of God more than you love to prophesy and 2. be intentional about maintaining healthy alignment with mothers and fathers of the faith, while also cultivating community among peers for relationship and mutual accountability.
A Prophetic Collective Will Prepare the Way!
“Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. (Malachi 3:1, NLT)
I have not been able to escape this passage, as it reveals how quickly the Lord desires to pour out His Spirit. Consider the language of His “suddenly” coming to His Temple. Likewise, I believe we are positioned in an hour where the Spirit of the Lord is poised to come suddenly to His church. What will prepare the way, however, will be a “messenger” anointing that is not the result of one “lone-ranger” prophet claiming to have a monopoly on hearing the voice of God. In fact, any so-called prophet who randomly emerges out of the woodwork, who has no history, no accountability, and no submission to any other five-fold ministry context should be immediately red-flagged.
The blessing of New Covenant prophetic ministry is that anyone can prophesy. The drawback? Anyone can prophesy. I believe the Lord is raising up communities of Prophets to provide a place of relationship and accountability for those carrying the Messenger anointing for this hour. Just as John the Baptist was forerunner for Jesus’ first coming, it goes without saying that prior to the Lord’s return, there will be an increased outpouring of the Spirit which will manifest itself through prophetic activity, as clearly evidenced in the fulfillment of Joel 2. The language of outpouring is the language of the prophetic—hearing, seeing, and receiving revelation from the Lord.
My dear friend, Ana Werner, and co-author of this prophetic word, has provided the following keys to help prophets and prophetic voices remain in check as we operate in this new wineskin of a collective of prophets:
Accountability is so necessary and healthy for each of us. Those who not only hold up our arms when in the battle (Exodus 17:12), but also those that will keep us in check. May we NEVER lose our teachability and ability to receive wisdom and correction in humility.
Maturity. Pride Goes before the fall, I believe is the saying. The Lord is calling us each individually and at a corporate level, to maintain a bar of Maturity by holding onto the values of: Humility, Intimacy with Jesus first, and Right standing before the Lord- Knowing we are a Son and Daughter first before a gifting or anointing.
Celebration of Streams and Successes. With this embracing of ALL the Parts, or different streams of ministry, the ability to intentionally celebrate others advancements or successes needs to happen. After all, it’s all for His Glory RIGHT?! Never are we to be in competition with each other, but embrace the Kingdom as a family. After all, family is a beautiful thing really. We all have much to learn from each other and should want to help each other advance forward, in the same way we should be cheering for our actual brothers and sisters to succeed.
Breaking the spirit of entitlement through honor. I am so grateful for the Prophetic Generals and Pioneers who have gone before us and plowed the ground. What I love about the young prophets that I see rising up, is that we are not going along with “Us vs. Them” mentality. I literally just sat with a minister that is older than myself, and she shared with me her pain: “This generation rising up, carries so much of an entitlement spirit. It’s like they feel they have earned the right to all have their voice heard, when so many of us have had to work for an honorable position to be heard.” My heart broke for her, but it so revealed to me the greater need for a collective of all of us operating together independent of our age range, or years in ministry. Honor must be maintained if we are going to bring in the greatest harvest. Although different, we can learn to honor the freshness and beauty that each of us carries to the banquet table. This isn’t a “us and them” separate mentality, but that “WE” together can do more.
Authenticity is your greatest Strength. Please, please do not put on someone else’s mantle. Step into your own! People can read right through inauthenticity, and it poorly represents Jesus. Hold your line as close to truth and purity as you can. Do not exaggerate a testimony, to build up your own platform. Remember, we represent HIS NAME, and the Lamb is PURE. There is no one exactly like you, that carries your story, that has walked in your shoes. You being You is the best gift to the world!
Lastly, I implore you- RISE UP you PROPHET of GOD! The enemy will always come and try to silence the voice of the Prophet, but we need you to SPEAK UP! Be a fearless lover of Jesus, that walks in humility, carries fire, maturity, and loves God more than the calling.
Prophetic word presented by Larry Sparks and Ana Werner