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:
If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has established the parts, every one of them, in the body as it has pleased Him. If they were all one part, where would the body be? (1 Cor. 12:17-19).
Without all the parts functioning together, we are quite a broken body. I am referring to the old patterns we have seen of lone 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 1980s and 90s, 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.
Ana Werner is the author of The Seer's Path, and also the associate director of the Heartland Healing Rooms in Lees Summit, Missouri. Ana travels and equips people internationally on seeing in the Spirit, moving in the prophetic, and healing ministry. Her transparency as she shares on the realities and experiences she has in heaven, bring Holy Spirit, the love of the Father and the power of God into the room when she speaks. Ana is passionate about leading people into encountering Jesus' heart. Learn more about Ana's ministry at anawerner.org.
Larry Sparks is co-author of the book, The Fire That Never Sleeps with Dr. Michael Brown and John Kilpatrick. Larry's mission is to help teach all believers how to experience and sustain personal revival—enjoying a deep relationship with God through encountering the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. To this end, he maintains a blog through Charisma magazine, is a published author, teaches revival seminars, and is the co-founder of Renewing South Florida, an organization committed to uniting the local church for regional outpouring. Larry holds a Master of Divinity from Regent University and presently serves as vice president of publishing for Destiny Image Publishers.
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