The key takeaway from this workshop (W1) at World Assemblies of God Congress (WAGC) 2017 held in Singapore is the word “Encounter”.
The word “prophetic” conjures the ability to hear God’s voice spoken into our present situation or the future for the purpose of bringing encouragement, comfort, edification and warning. In the Old Testament, the prophets often brought words from God to His people. Today, according to Acts 2:17, the Spirit of Christ lives in us and we have the privilege to hear God’s voice as part of the community of saints and to reveal Jesus to the world.
In this workshop I was personally challenged to reflect on the meaning of a prophetic church. What does it mean to be a prophetic church? And why do we need to be a prophetic church?
Two highly respected and prophetic speakers Rev Ong Sek Leang (General Superintendent of Malaysia AG) and Pastor Janice Chng (District Overseer, Trinity Christian Centre) led us in a time of impartation and prophetic activation.
Rev Ong began by helping me to understand what it means to be prophetic church. Here are four characteristics:
- A Prophetic Church is a Sign to a Person, a Community and a CityWhen we turn to Isaiah 8:18, Israel was a sign to the world that God was with them. Israel was not a big nation but they possessed the sign of God’s presence. Hence, a prophetic church is not dependent on its size but its sign. It is vital that a prophetic church displays God’s presence as a sign to the people around us. Regardless of the size of our congregation, people must see that God is with us. The prophetic church must go beyond the efforts of good works. When people step into a prophetic church, there must be a supernatural presence of God and the Word must minister to every person, so that the community around us can see that God is with us.
- A Prophetic Church is a Breakthrough ChurchA prophetic church is a place where breakthroughs happen. Hosea 12:13 singled out the prophet Moses who was called to bring Israel out of Egypt so that Israel can experience deliverance and salvation from God. Likewise, a prophetic church must result in seeing people delivered from the bondages of sin and receiving salvation from God.
- A Prophetic Church is Militant in the Spirit
1 Chronicles 12:32, the sons of Issachar possessed the abilities and intelligence to discern both the spiritual and natural surroundings. Hence, it is crucial for the prophetic church to be able to discern the spiritual climate. While we are in an age of trying to look for formulas and strategies for discipleship and church growth, we need to understand that what works for another church may not work for us. We cannot simply follow the three-step formula. Rather, we need the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us and give us insight.
- A Prophetic Church is Empowered by a Christ-centered Spirit
Jesus must be the central focus in the prophetic church. Every believer in the prophetic community demonstrates Christ-likeness in their character. The prophetic environment is not chaotic and weird. Rather the prophetic church is a place where the essence of Jesus’ truth is exhibited and the spirit of prophecy testifies and reveals Jesus.
When we bear the characteristics of a prophetic church, we will exhibit marks of holiness, God’s anointing, intimacy with God, exploits for God, as well as breakthroughs into places and situations.
Apart from the characteristics and marks of a prophetic church and believer, there are four elements that are foundational. Exodus 3 conveys a supernatural motif. Moses saw a burning bush that was not burned up and turned to see it. For anything to be considered prophetic, it must be supernatural. Then, there must be a God encounter that follows. The prophetic word of God must bring transformation as a result of their encounter with Jesus. Finally, we must be confident that God knows how to communicate with us and we can discern how to hear him.
To close the session, Pastor Janice led the class in a time of practicing hearing from God. We were asked to pair up with strangers and release a prophetic word of encouragement, comfort or edification. It had to be direct and specific into our partner’s life situation.
The key takeaway from this workshop is the word “Encounter”.
Firstly, being a prophetic church is about encountering the presence of Jesus dwelling amongst His people. When we come together as a community, we seek to hear God’s voice individually and corporately for the purpose of building one another up through encouragement and comfort. The presence of God is the tangible manifestation of God’s love. It is not an emotional experience but a deep assurance of God’s love for his people. During the practice, I prayed with a pastor from Nepal. After the prayer, he shared that the prophetic word I gave brought him assurance about his concern for a young girl in his fellowship group and the crisis he was facing in his ministry. He was surprised that I had accurately discerned his situation since he did not shared it with me. As much as he was blessed, I felt greatly blessed to have experienced God’s presence with us.
Secondly, the acts of releasing a prophetic word is about people encountering the love God and encountering the person of Jesus. It is important for us to redirect the signs and wonders we witness back to the Person of Christ. The power and the work of the Spirit of Christ must point us back to the Person of
Christ who is present with us, and reconciling us back to the Father.
Finally, being a prophetic church is about the encounter to reveal the Savior Jesus to pre-believers and leading them back to Him. The world we live in today is getting darker and everyone is in need of Jesus. Pre-believers need to encounter the living Christ who is alive today. People need to see Christ in us. When we reveal Christ in our speech and action, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world is exalted through our prophetic lifestyle and we become the light to the world.
It’s time for us as Pentecostals to rise up and be a prophetic church.