The Prophet: The Watchman
In my previous posts on this subject I established the importance of Godly character and maturity in the role of Prophet. Prophets prophesy encouragement, strengthening, and comfort according to 1 Cor. 14, but their role in the church goes beyond that. Their ministry is less about personal words and more about impartation to churches, ministries, leaders and nations. I will complete this series of posts by looking at three key aspects of his/her ministry.
First there is the ministry of ‘The Watchman’: seeing beyond the horizon. Prophets watch for and hear God’s view of what is coming. They stand upon the protective wall of the church watching and listening for what cannot be seen with the natural eye. Pastors, teachers, and elders that care for and watch over the church are the gatekeepers. Watchmen inform the gatekeepers of what is coming. This is more than prophetic impressions. A pastor may have an ‘impression’ in his spirit that something is coming…an inner sense, a warning, or an impending change. The prophet can bring the Father’s perspective of that warning or change. He/she can bring clarity and more detail to the pastor. The apostle can then bring strategy and structure to handle what the watchman sees.
Then there is the ministry of ‘The Preparer’: equipping for coming events. “During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, name Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman World. (This happened during the reign of Claudius)” Acts 11:27. Agabus revealed something the Father wanted the church to know…a difficult event, a famine, was coming……they needed preparation or equipping for the famine. They responded by sending money to believers in Judea. Agabus also warned Paul of hard things that would happen if he went to Jerusalem. That warning was to prepare him, not to deter him from his destiny.
And lastly there is the ministry of ‘The Revealer’: direction and correction. A prophet may give prophetic direction to the church. Maturity is absolutely key in this regard. Church leaders and overseers do not need directive revelation on a daily or weekly basis. They have the Holy Spirit! They have a heart for the people for whom they have responsibility. They have been given a gift to lead and care for people. Paul taught, evangelized and preached for months and years before he had a prophetic vision to go to Macedonia. (Acts 16:6-10) In this case he received a vision directly, but often it is a prophet that will receive it and pass it on to a leader. His apostolic direction flowed out of his apostolic gifting……he was doing what he was called to do; to go and make disciples of all nations. However, a directive vision was necessary to move his ministry from Asia to Europe…to a new world needing the gospel. This was the same gift, same ministry, but different geographic direction for that gift and ministry.
On occasion, the prophet may bring corrective revelation to something that is not in alignment. In this case the emphasis is less about knowledge and more about Truth; correctly applying Truth. Churches, ministries and denominations can get caught up in popular tactics and teachings that SEEM to be effective in getting people into and keeping them in a church. However, what’s popular in the culture is not always productive in the Kingdom. The church must be grounded in the Word and in Truth. A prophet can reveal a corrective realignment to Truth in Grace. The heart of the Father is for us to stay aligned with the Truth of His Word and grounded in the Grace of His Kingdom.