If you have the spiritual gift of prophecy, receiving prophetic training is one way in which you can develop your prophetic ministry. No spiritual gifts, even revelatory gifts such as discernment and prophecy, come mature and fully developed. We have a responsibility to steward the gifts God has given to us, from the time we recognise the early signs that we have them. Like the servants in Jesus’ parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30), we need to invest our gifts wisely, so that we can reach our highest potential and fulfil our destiny and ministry calling.
In 1 Tim 4:14-15, the Apostle Paul said,
‘Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.’
Training and mentoring is a Biblical concept. In the Old Testament, Elijah and Elisha had groups of prophets that looked to them for leadership (2 Kings 2:5-7, 4:1, 4:38).
In the New Testament, we learn that God has given leaders to the church to help equip people for ministry and bring the church body to maturity (Eph 4:11-13). Jesus trained His disciples, who in turn trained other leaders to do the work of ministry. If you have the spiritual gift of prophecy, here are 7 reasons why prophetic training will be of value to you:
1. Training Helps You Develop Your Prophetic Gift
The purpose of training is gift and ministry development. Training is an intensive, focused way in which you can grow your prophetic gift and take the next steps forward in your prophetic ministry. Good prophetic training will not limit, but rather enlarge your capacity, providing you with tools for ongoing growth.
2. In Training, You Learn from Other People’s Experience and Knowledge
Prophetic training will give you knowledge and instruction in your gift of prophecy. Along with this, training should teach you how to apply what you have learned with wisdom. The best teachers are those who are not afraid to share their own experiences and failures. It is wiser to learn from other people’s mistakes than make your own!
3. Training Enables you to Receive Specialist Instruction in Your Gift
When you receive prophetic training, you are learning from instructors who are gifted and experienced in your area of ministry. They have a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and experience to impart to you.
Each of us has a propensity for blind spots-in other words, we don’t know what we don’t know! Training is an opportunity to have others who are further along in the journey speak into our lives, broaden our horizons and teach us new insights about our prophetic gifts.
4. Training Provides An Environment in Which you can Practice
Your prophetic gift is sharpened through being put to use. Training should provide a safe environment in which you can practice using your gift of prophecy amongst other people who are on the same journey. A good teacher will coach you, encourage you to prophesy and provide advice on how you can become more accurate at using your prophetic gift.
5. Training Provides you with Opportunities to Obtain Feedback
Feedback is vital to growth, and training should take this into account. Training is not meant to be a comfortable process. One Hebrew word for training means ‘to goad!’ (1 Chron 25:6-7). Training requires personal discipline. It also calls us to be open to direction and correction from those who are training and leading us. In a training environment, we should be assured that we are in a safe place to give and receive feedback, as we practice using our prophetic gifts.
6. Training Helps you Identify and Release Outdated Styles of Ministry
Training can help us recognise and release old or incorrect paradigms and styles of prophetic ministry. Training is a great way to bring unity into a ministry team, as those trained receive the same instruction and are grounded in the same values together. Some values that should be present in prophetic training are: the Bible as a basis for prophecy, a balanced approach to prophetic ministry, prophecy that reflects Jesus’ character, leadership accountability, natural expression and participation in a local church.
7. Training Provides Community with Like-Minded People
Training brings you into contact with people who are on the same journey as you, learning to exercise their prophetic gifts. You can encourage each other, share ideas and experiences and provide a safe place to have a go and practice using your gifts of prophecy together. It is good to attend training sessions that directly relate to your gift. However, it will also benefit you to attend any sessions your own church runs on leadership, ministry and Bible teaching. This is because the outworking of your gift is going to be unique to the flavour, vision and values of your church.
Understanding the culture of your church will assist you in expressing your spiritual gift. For example, you wouldn’t use a flamboyant style of expressing a prophetic gift in a conservative-culture church, and vice versa. Good training should recognise and honour these differences. Be prepared to adapt what you learn in a training session to your personal world and your own church environment. Take care not to become rigid or prideful about the knowledge you acquire in prophetic training. It is wise to be teachable in the use of your prophetic gift. Humility and flexibility are important keys to fruitfulness in your prophetic ministry.
Helen Calder has authored the books, ‘Prophetic People in a Changing Church’ and ‘How to be a Supernatural Christian in Your Everyday World.’ For more information, see the Enliven Publishing website at http://www.enlivenpublishing.com/
Helen Calder is the owner of Enliven Publishing, an independent publisher that specialises in Christian books and prophetic teaching. Helen’s blog can be found at http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/ It contains a wealth of articles on prophetic ministry, developing prophetic gifts, spiritual renewal and prayer.