October 31 of this year marked 500 years since the Protestant Reformation (1517-2017). In light of this important marker, the primary reformation we need still involves a return to the basics that Martin Luther preached—salvation by faith, the priesthood of believers, and a return to the scriptures as the sole authority for testing and proving our doctrine. In many ways, I expect the “next reformation” to take us even deeper into these simple truths. For example, we can take our faith in Christ much higher, believing Him for much more. We can learn to live holy and empowered lives as priests who walk closely with God and bless everyone in our sphere of influence. And we can dive into the scriptures to find precious truths not seen before. However, these were not the areas the Lord highlighted to me on reformation day.
The Lord surprised me on October 31 with a set of “blueprints” for reforming the prophetic movement. It was the first time I saw charts and graphs in a vision. These blueprints include three warnings against specific imbalances and excesses which are happening, as well as a model for what a mature and healthy prophetic movement looks like. As I was seeing this series of charts, I was reminded of when Jesus spoke to the seven churches of Asia Minor and gave them a balance of correction and encouragement so that they could grow (see Revelation chapters 2-3).
Three Areas of Prophetic Emphasis
The Lord showed me three primary areas that are emphasized by different prophetic ministries. First, He showed me the color green to represent churches and ministries that emphasis using revelation gifts to cultivate a close walk with the Lord and live a prophetic lifestyle. This aspect of the prophetic movement trains people in how to hear the Lord for themselves, but also how to test what they are hearing and obey the Lord’s voice so that He can move through them to impact others. As a result of revelation and obedience, believers are led to “greener” pastures in their walk with the Lord (see John 10, Psalm 23). The ministries in this category teach people to live the kind of lifestyle that Jesus described when He said that He, “can only do what He sees the Father doing” (John 5:19 NIV).
Second, the Lord showed me the color pink to represent ministries that emphasize personal prophetic ministry (or prophetic ministry between different members of a congregation). For me, pink usually represents health and healing and those who steward these ministries help to bring healing to the Body of Christ by bringing encouragement, comfort, edification, and correction when it is needed.
Last, he showed me yellow to represent prophetic ministries who receive clarity for understanding what God is doing in different times, seasons, in the nations, and in the Body of Christ. The yellow signifies the throne of glory, from which every high-level prophet of this nature receives clear words to trumpet to the Body of Christ in each season.
If leaders or members of your congregation are getting burned out by the prophetic, there's a good chance that something is unhealthy and out of balance.
In Pursuit of a Healthy Prophetic Movement Many times, problems arise in prophetic congregations when one of these three emphases is stewarded well and the others are neglected. For example, churches who over-emphasize “high level” prophetic ministry for the times, but neglect inter-personal prophetic ministry and the daily walk will raise up disciples who become obsessed with what is happening in the world, but lack the maturity, discernment, and authority that comes from a daily walk with God and a thriving community. Likewise, those who emphasis inter-personal prophetic ministry while neglecting the other kinds of prophetic ministry will raise up disciples who desperately seek prophetic words from others and live from “word to word” because they have not learned to walk with the Lord and hear Him for themselves. Even though I place a high value on cultivating a daily walk with the Lord, there also remains a danger for churches who emphasize a daily walk with God, but do share any insights about the times or create opportunities for inter-personal prophetic ministries: this can lead to believers who are overly isolated or confused with difficult times unfold. I do not present these models as sharp criticisms of any particular church or ministry, but as a word of wisdom for churches that want to raise mature disciples. Furthermore, many ministries are actually called to steward one stream, with all three streams flowing together to create a mature and thriving movement. Ultimately, as a prophetic movement, the Lord wants us to have a strong foundation of a daily walk by which we can test and discern every word we are given, healthy prophetic communities that bring the Word of the Lord to each believer’s life, and high-level prophets who use their office to bring clarity to every issue and event on the world stage. We will need this kind of health in order to move forward to the great expressions of the prophetic ministry soon to unfold. Correcting Imbalances
“Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.”—1 Corinthians 14:12 NIV My hope is that these charts will make it easier for leaders to recognize and correct imbalances before hard times come. The Lord’s desire is for every believer to be empowered to walk daily with Him, to be planted closely with other believers who can speak into their life, and receiving clarity about all that will unfold in the days to come. As shepherds who represent the Great Shepherd, it is our job to make sure that we lead the Body into greater wholeness and greener pastures in the days ahead. However, even if you’re not a leader, you can diagnose and correct imbalances in your own life: are you living from “word to word” with desperation? Are you afraid of what’s going on in the world? Do you feel isolated from others or confused? Just like the aches and pains that reveal a problem in our Body, these symptoms may reveal an area of imbalance in your own prophetic journey. The answer can be as simple as diversifying the wells you are drinking from so that you receive what the Lord is saying through the stream you need in each season of your life.
Note: Click below to download the full-size charts.