After graduating from Bible school in Pensacola, Florida, I was the type of person who checked up on my friends and would call to see how they were doing. From one person to another, I heard stories about people being hurt in church from other leaders, misunderstandings, lack of wanting a move of God in the churches that they were a part of and some backsliding.
My heart broke for my friends. I knew that at the end of the day that it was their responsibility to connect with God and walk out the process with Him. But I started wondering if my friends would do better in ministry if they had someone older and seasoned in ministry to walk with them and guide them.
A burden was starting to form in my heart for generations of leaders to run together. I would weep as the stories continued through the years. I decided that I wanted to be a part of the answer, so I started dialoguing with older leaders and what they "liked" and "disliked" in the next generation of leaders. Some leaders had really valid concerns, but for the most part, I saw leaders who genuinely wanted to run with the next generation.
When God asked me to start our ministry, International Young Prophets, I knew that He wanted me to use all that I had learned from these leaders. Prophets are unique types of people, and I have had to learn how to work with them, even though I too am a prophet. When the Lord asked me to build a "company of global, next-gen prophets" I wasn't even sure what that really meant. I personally had not seen this modeled and was trying to figure out what this Old Testament term looked like in my modern-day world.
I started to research and ask seasoned prophets what that looked like to them. The movement that I was building was going to be from multi-streams, multi-national and multi-cultured. We would honor the mothers and fathers that had paid a price in the prophetic movement. I was told that many prophetic leaders stayed in their own streams and that it was a new thing for streams to come together, as I was doing. We started to get prophetic words from different prophets that we would be one of the "healthiest prophetic movements." As I was getting those words, I didn't realize that God was going to let me see the things that He wanted me to correct and bring honor and maturity back to some parts of the prophetic.
Sadly, through the years, many developed a narrowed and often distasteful perspective of the prophetic. At times people failed to use wisdom with the gifts and acted strange and out of order in the name of the prophetic. Some viewed the function of a prophet as only those who prophesied over individuals. In my Bible, I didn't see that as the description of healthy prophetic ministry. I saw prophets that would be in the world systems giving strategies to kings and leaders of nations. The prophets were giving solutions for societal transformation.
Let me state that I fully believe in personal prophecy. I prophesy over individuals as part of my ministry function. I am part of a ministry that is known for activating people in personal prophecy. But that is only a small part of the office of the prophet. If it stops there, we are limiting the full expression of who prophets are and what we are called to do for the church and in the earth to bring kingdom influence. We, as prophets, should be equipping the body for the work of the ministry, and that begins by teaching them to hear the voice of the Lord for everything else flows from this basic principle.
Starting to build a prophetic movement was very organic. I knew that if I was to build something, it had to be from "standing on the shoulders of the seasoned prophets," real mothers and fathers in the prophetic. I wanted to find mothers and fathers who were willing to lay down their lives to see healthy, prophetic people raised up.
Today we have a whole team of apostolic advisers (mothers and fathers) that allow us to stand on their shoulders, leaders such as: Patricia King, Tom and Jane Hamon, Barbara Yoder, Will Ford, Chris DuPre and so on. We are successful because we understand we can't do this without honoring the generation of prophets who have gone before us and keeping the purity of the gospel.
The knowledge and experience of the seasoned prophets makes my job of building our ministry easier and quicker. I could be thinking of 10 ways to do something, toil for weeks over it and then decide to call Patricia King (who, by the way, is one of the greatest apostles and builders I have ever met) and in 15 minutes, she gives me the solution.
I can't imagine why anyone would want to run the race without a seasoned leader standing by them. You avoid lots of pain, though God still has a process for you. By running together, you can build more for the kingdom of God as well as run faster.
Another thing I came across was that many leaders didn't know how to see that the enemy was going to fight the generational relationship. I remember I was interviewing Jane Hamon, and she said something that penetrated my heart. She turned to me in my interview and said, "Both sides, young and old, need to learn how to fight for each other, so that the enemy doesn't steal what God is trying to do."
I have watched through the years as I would see pastors trying to "hand off the baton" to a younger generation leader for them to carry on the work of the ministry. Often something would happen to disrupt the generational succession, and they ended up, many times, not even able to stay in relationship with that person. It was so sad to see. This has been one of the reasons I have been traveling and teaching on generational reconciliation and encouraging leaders of both generations to be intentional about working together.
Lastly, the culture of family and covenant should be the basis for successful running together in the prophetic. If we don't understand the culture of honor in the concept of family, we will see betrayal, end up hurting each other, and the kingdom work won't be advanced. I believe God is raising up prophetic leaders who are going to overthrow the "celebrity mindset" in the prophetic movement, activating each one to do their part, which will restore the family component and culture of honor. This family dynamic will cause us to carry honor for each other and for the mothers and fathers.
We are in the some of the greatest days to see generations of prophets working/running together.
Elizabeth Tiam-Fook is the founder of the International Young Prophets, an apostolic ministry that is called to serve the "office of the next-generation prophet." She believes God is raising up a company of young prophets to impact the nations of the world with the voice of God. Tiam-Fook graduated from Brownsville Revival School of Ministry in Pensacola, Florida, with a heart to serve the nations. She is ordained by Christian International and under the leadership of Tom and Jane Hamon. You can contact her at [email protected].
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