Last week, I wrote about families, schools, and churches that are called to teach and train adults and youth in the gift of prophesy.
Today, I am writing about regional Apostolic Centers who have a mandate to train youth (ages 12-13+) in the Ephesians 4:11 leadership office of a Prophet.
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.Ephesians 4:11-13
For those unfamiliar with the term, the office of a Prophet is a leadership role that carries more weight, detail, and authority for direction in prophesying to nations and organizations. In this article, I will refer to youth who are called to the office of a Prophet as “prophets”, and youth who practice the gift of prophesy as “prophetic”.
I am writing about regional Apostolic Centers rather than individual churches because I believe that they are uniquely designed to steward the weight of additional responsibility and authority that raising and protecting young prophets will require.
My goal in writing this article is to offer an outline of leadership and administrative elements that must be in place to ensure that youth can be trained in the gift of prophesy and office of a Prophet.
I will address questions like:
- How soon should youth who are demonstrating a call to the office of a Prophet receive training?
- How much training should younger prophets receive prior to reaching an age where they can be taught the office of a Prophet?
- How can training be developmentally appropriate (ie, not just throwing them in with adults)?
- How Apostolic leaders create developmentally healthy, emotionally balanced cultures so that children can emerge in their mantles as healthily as possible?
Apostolic centers with a mandate to raise young prophets should make it their primary goal to provide the resources and support network to help youth emerge in their mantles as holistically and fluidly as possible. In this article, I will talk about how imagery of family and having an emotionally balanced prophetic culture is crucial to that vision.
I am sharing this information fully aware that my experience is very limited. However, since these are conversations that the Lord is initiating a lot with me and information that others seem to be hungry for, I am sharing what I have learned so that it can be useful to the Body in preparing healthy places to host young prophets.
Remembering the Reason
Spiritual gifts and leadership roles are designed to bring us into more vibrant partnership with Jesus Christ. Jesus loves us enough that he gives us meaningful work to do, so that we will come alive in pursuing co-ministry with him.
Prophesy is precious in that it allows prophets and prophetic people to hear Jesus’ voice, see his face, and enjoy him. From a place of deep intimacy with Jesus and genuine enjoyment of who he is, prophets develop the mutual trust with God for them to be useful in ministry. No matter how old or young a person is, the only good reason to prophesy is more of Jesus. More of Jesus in our hearts, more of Jesus in our world, more of Jesus reflected in and through people for eternity. Christo-centric prophesy is an act of worship of a God who wants to draw all people closer.
The effect of Jesus’ words in and through prophets causes the abundance of his life to restore and redirect nations, organizations, and individuals for the glory of God. Good prophesy results in change, producing the fruit of God’s wholeness, beauty, and majesty in groups or individuals, even when the circumstances and methods of prophesy may be necessarily disruptive.
Teaching youth the gift of prophesy and the office of a Prophet enlists them in being part of God’s eternal, multigenerational love story to mankind. It allows them to come alive in the fullness of their calling and purpose, and uses weak vessels to magnify Christ. In a world that markets age as the only measurement of authority and devalues the spiritual experiences of the young, multigenerational prophetic ministry demonstrates that there is no junior Holy Spirit and that all human authority is delegated authority from God.
The more people love God, the more they surrender to his ways out of obedience.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”John 14:15
Knowing Jesus organically → Gifts → Offices
When it comes to operating in the gifts and offices of God, Jesus is the source. Individuals learn how to navigate spiritual gifts by watching Jesus in real time. We do what he does and say what he says. In obedience, the power of God starts to come on a person like a wave, and their responsibility is just to ride the wave with the Lord. In that way, the gifts organically flow from knowing Jesus and focusing on who he is. Since the process of operating in the gifts is a direct result of relationship with Christ, training in the gifts should both be an invitation for novices to know him and a way to equip those who have already started surfing. Over time, individuals who are called to leadership offices (like the office of a Prophet) will demonstrate increased depth, accuracy, and remit in their prophesies. Apostolic Centers are designed to be able to give greater training and support to individuals who are navigating the more intense waves of Holy Spirit prophetic utterance and vision. The more intense the waves, the more individuals need a healthy community of prophets and apostles, to drawn upon their insight and experience.
Responsibility of Apostolic Center Leaders
Before Apostolic Centers are able to receive and train young prophets, Apostles must guarantee that several key infrastructures are in place. Like designing a nursery prior to a receiving newborn, these administrative and community facets ensure that young prophets will come into a safe learning environment.
Some of these facets may include:
- Child Protection / Safeguarding policies in place
- Families of prophets, where parents support their kids under the direction of Leaders/Apostles
- A community atmosphere where there is a relational grace for new members to get connected
- Youth who are semi-involved in decision-making. All ages of church members are periodically asked, “What do you need from us as your leaders/home base?”
- The Spirit of Adoption and Adults who hold a righteous standard to stand in the gap for children who don’t come from Christian/prophetic families (Priestly anointing)
Lastly and most importantly, Apostolic leaders must have a robust, emotionally balanced prophetic culture.
Robust, Emotionally Balanced Prophetic Culture
Apostolic Centers with a mandate to raise young prophets must raise them on a foundation of elder’s experiences, within emotionally-safe community. In order to do that well, older prophets in a community must be mature, relationally woven, and comfortable speaking vulnerably about the joys and challenges of the office.
There must be a healthy measure of courage to talk about the suffering that comes with the office of Prophet, without hiding pain. When it comes to youth ministry, this degree of wisely stewarded openness flies in the face of Western culture’s tendency to either rob our children of emotional safety by throwing them into the shock of life’s suffering without extended release, or entirely coddle them. Instead, children should gradually acclimate to the intensity of human suffering in a way that naturally unravels as they age.
So don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow can worry about itself. One day’s trouble at a time is quite enough.’Matthew 6:34 NTE
A community of wise elders will support children to acknowledge but navigate pain and risk in a way that demonstrates that there is more to life. Elders remind us that eternity is valuable, that life is beautiful, and that the rewards of knowing Jesus start right here, right now. Maturity is a heart posture, so while elders will often be chronologically old (grandparents, parents age), in a healthy prophetic culture, young people (20s, 30s) will also willingly take on the responsibility to nurture and be a role model. Regardless of age, maturity can only be rightly assumed out of woven webs of relationships, where adults are friends with parents and strive to honor their children (within the context of safe and healthy boundaries). Sometimes, the reason that adults in their 20s and 30s have failed to pick up this mantle of maturity is because they have not yet experienced the relational need to grow. Not just the logical, functional need to take responsibility, but the fluent desire to stand in the gap for people who are younger who are looking up to you with innocence and expectation. Experiencing that organic, relational authority is what inspires us to function as parents.
While stories of the joys and pain of prophetic life may be stewarded formally through videos or writing, they will more often cohabitate, quietly filling in the empty spaces between people until the community is robust enough to bear more weight. Apostolic leaders must value sharing these stories so that emerging apostles and prophets have time to grapple with case studies and let God search their hearts. Later on, when emerging leaders confront similar circumstances, having marinated on God’s word and testimonies will allow them to navigate those circumstances with greater wisdom.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.Colossians 3:16
If it had not been the Lord who was on our side
when people rose up against us,
3 then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
4 then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
5 then over us would have gone
the raging waters.
6 Blessed be the Lord,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth!
7 We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped!
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord,Psalm 124:1-8
who made heaven and earth.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.2 Timothy 2:15
Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.Proverbs 19:20
Prior to COVID-19, the Western Prophetic Movement tended to idolize the office of a Prophet, ascribing to it status like the celebrity preacher, where prophets would ride in on a cloud and sometimes be held little accountable for their actions. In a new season of the Prophetic Movement, communities of healthy prophets must master the slogan, “This isn’t the group I wanted, but the group I needed.”
We do need one another. We need people and places where we can talk about the:
- Times you prophesy something more extreme than you expected, the shock and even horror of that.
- Times you are in deep travail and have to ride the wave of mourning.
- Times you are in holy anger and absolutely cannot relent of addressing something that roils God.
- Times you are extravagant in worship and extreme, and you can’t hold it in. Or where you indignantly feel that Jesus requires/is worthy of such a more dramatic response, but no one is brave enough to extravagantly worship him.
- Times where you are more free than everyone else in the room, flitting around like a bird, and they have no grid for you. Times when your freedom is offensive.
Quite frankly, being called as a prophet is a lot. Prophetic and Apostolic communities need to be ready to talk about the full emotional experience of prophesy in order to appropriate model a God who invites us to know him in the depth and breadth of his emotions.
And yet, Jesus. And Joy. As one memorable Apostle recently said, “We must retain the joy of the narrow road.” The intimacy and level of partnership that God calls prophets into. The feeling of his words in your mouth, his images before your eyes, going on assignments with him during the day and night, being overwhelmed and overtaken by his never-ending story. For each time prophets lives are not their own, and they are cast as actors in God’s great stage (ex: the life of Hosea), God shares gems from his own lived experience. It is like living two lives in one: our joys and trials overlaid with God’s.
Now and forever, our standard of wholeness remains Christ. Jesus, we need you! He will bring our communities into maturity and wholeness. He will use the least likely people to do it.
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.Romans 15:1
To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.1 Corinthians 9:22
Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.Galatians 6:2
Lastly, we must be communities that prioritize balance. Aside from just living a more robust, holistically satisfying life, balance is prophetic because it loosens you up so you can flow better in the Holy Spirit. Pressure and performance create rigidity, which makes us panic and forget to draw our strength from the Vine. Under tension, we put on woolen garments instead of linen, which is more porous for God to blow through. Joy and balance is prophetic.
And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment.[a]15 So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and the blowing of rams’ horns.2 Samuel 6:14-15
Responsibility for Prophetic Youth Leaders
I’m going to break the fourth wall for a moment to talk about what I believe Prophetic Youth Leaders need in order to be successful in their role. Again, this is based entirely off of my personal experiences. There still isn’t a lot of source material for this kind of ministry, because it’s something God is still establishing on the earth. As someone who feels called to teach and train prophets of all ages, I want to share a little about what this process has been like for me and some traits that God has developed that I find essential.
Earlier in my life, I sporadically attended a mainline Christian church in Kansas where I heard about Jesus. Like many American churches, the leaders of this church valued Jesus’ ethics and life teachings, but struggled to receive his Lordship and the full range of his character. While I had always intuitively known that God was both real and powerful, I had a difficult time understanding who Jesus was in this context or how his authority claims could make a difference in my life. Still, I was relatively hungry to learn, and kept asking questions (no surprises there). I was more or less forced to continue attending that church for various years, but remained alienated because I had the sense that God was powerful but saw no manifestation of that power at church. At this point, I had no idea that any 1 Corinthians 12 supernatural gifts were still relevant, as my church was functionally cessationalist.
Nevertheless, as I started to turn 12 and 13, God started sending mantles for my life that would later become part of my identity for ministry. One of the most notable mantles related to motherhood. In a contemporary US context, developing nurturing tendencies so early was isolating, weird, and difficult to navigate. I still remember my friends in the 8th grade (age 13) joking about buying me a Tickle Me Elmo doll for Christmas, because I joked so many times about stealing a baby in the park. I wasn’t serious, but I still was experimenting with how to talk about the weirdness of navigating all that oxytocin so young. Around that time, I noticed an organic grace on my life for engaging with younger peers as a role model. In High School, that natural affinity led me to set up a mentoring program to increase retention among younger band students and older teens (Girl Scout Gold Award project). In college, after I encountered Christ, God re-directed my life back towards youth by having me work as a tutor at the same elementary school where I was raised. I ended up pursuing teaching for the same reason. Even when I was teaching, I felt constricted working with one age group versus a range of ages.
As a prophet, God has used my heart for youth to motivate and define the direction of my ministry. To this day, children’s wellbeing is the only thing that can drive me to tears in under thirty seconds. It is the only thing that will cause me to dig in my heels in protest and not relent until I see a change. It is where I am most likely to turn into a terrifying mama bear. In an apostolic sense, children’s wellbeing is the only thing I’d be willing to give my life to, in terms of risk.
On a lesser scale, one example of this risk comes from a time when I was teaching, and my students and I spent over an hour in 100+ degrees F* (37* C) auditorium. The broken air conditioning was part of a greater pattern of neglect present within that teaching context. It had been broken for the entirety of the year. Finally, it was the end of the school year, and temperatures were significantly elevated. I eventually made the decision to notify the principal that I needed to move my class back to the air conditioned classroom because several students looked legitimately faint. I escorted my class out and met with the assistant principal afterwards to explain my decision more fully. In the moment, I was not happy to make that decision, but it was urgent.
As a prophet, God regularly uses my heart for children to speak to me about ministries and partnerships he wants to develop in the prophetic/apostolic sphere. As a Watchman/Seer Prophet, I get dreams about babies, toddlers, young adults, or college students and identifying details like their ethnicities (nations) or remits. The age of the characters usually has to do with the approximate age of the ministry, and how much parenting work needs done. For the most urgent/new initiatives, he shows me the ministry as an infant. For ones that span multiple organizations, continents, or nations, he shows me children of mixed ethnicities.
In my journey as a Watchman/Seer Prophet, I have struggled with the emotional intensity of these dreams. There have been times where it’s felt especially savage on God’s part to use my heart for children so consistently to get my attention. For example, I remember one especially intense dream I had about a mixed race Japanese and other ethnicity toddler [info withheld for privacy]. In the dream, the toddler was being held by a family member while I got dressed in suitable clothes. However, she was unconsolable and I woke up still hearing her cry out for my support. As you might imagine, I woke up pretty distraught. And yet, God used it. Prior to this point, Japan had hardly been on my radar. After such an intense dream, I cannot think of the country without thinking of the young people there, and it motivates me to stay up to date on current events, pray, and intercede as God sends me watchman dreams.
With the right amount of balance, I can see why God would use such incredibly personal means to communicate with prophets who are entrusted with youth. Children need a much greater protection than grown adults. I believe the intercession process has been more extreme in proportion to the amount I will need to be trustworthy/trusted. It’s a mystery I’m still unraveling. God is teaching me how to balance the depths of the intercession over time, and having supportive prophet friends has helped.
In this section, I shared narrative stories because first and foremost, I believe that effective prophetic youth workers need to have a similar measure of personal identity/investment in the work. They must operate in the office of a Prophet so that they can teach the office to younger prophets. They may still end up teaching the gift of prophesy to prophetic youth in spaces where prophets and prophetic youth mingle (as in, an age-banded youth group focused on practicing the supernatural gifts in an Apostolic Center). But as youth ministry for the office of a Prophet grows, they will need to increasingly specialize to provide separate ministry and training environments to young prophets.
Teaching the Mature
So when should youth start to learn about the office of a Prophet?
When there is evidence of maturity. Given that the office of a Prophet is an Ephesians 4:11 leadership office in the Church, training maturity children means preparing them for leadership. Instead of enforcing an age, prophets should simply pay attention to the mantles that start rising on youth, and give support in proportion to them. That being said, children’s unique development and emotional maturity provides evidence to wait until the early teenage years as a lower limit for when office of a Prophet training can formally start. Traditionally, the Hebrew age of maturity corresponds to this time, at 12-13 years old. However, focusing on age instead of maturity can breed restrictive religious and entitled thinking.
Maturity matters more than age! If children are starting to pass into the teenage years but do not know Jesus as their friend, Lord, and Savior, they will have no means of safely navigating the spiritual gifts (as he is the only safe source). Furthermore, like all spiritual gifts, growing the seed of the gift of prophesy should be gradual release. The progression may look faster for children who have a strong foundation in the love of God and are called to the office of the Prophet, but they will still have to grow into their role over time. Lastly, as I stated before in “Creating Healthy Revelatory Greenhouses…” , other physical, emotional, and social milestones may be more important for children to focus on than spiritual gifts! A church who is truly spiritual will recognize the importance of attending to one’s holistic wellbeing, and not over spiritualize and rush spiritual growth. In general, we are most spiritual when we rely on Jesus, not when we try to be spiritual.
This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.1 Corinthians 2:13
For this reason, many prophet parents and prophetic youth leaders may start to train prophetic children in the gift of prophesy as part of their family or community identity. It is easiest to simply introduce them to the gifts, and let God lead from there.
If anything, prophetic youth leaders will need to evaluate the mantles rising on children by asking questions like:
“Among this group of teens and pre-teens, who is starting to show increasing frequency and intensity of encounters with the Holy Trinity?”
Especially given the age of young prophets, a mentoring structure (with several cohorts of prophets running simultaneously) may support youth best. Each level of training could be like a stepping stone, grouping similarly skilled prophets roughly together and responding to the needs of a cohort like the needs of a classroom. From there, students may be further grouped based on their needs, call as a prophet (as in, Seer, Nabi, or Watchman prophet), and interests.
Under a mentoring model, Youth leaders can differentiate (adjust) the amount of support they give to each young person. While mentoring requires more relational investment of leaders, it creates a better quality of care. Leaders must be sharp and discerning, engaged enough to sense the kind of care each teen requires.
Young prophets (teens) should not be trained in the same formal programs as adults. Their emotional maturity needs time to develop, and they need to be around peers so they can support one another and process the office at the level of their development. While teens should be part of a prophetic community where they have friendships and mentors of various ages, they may need their parents help to discern the character of elders. You don’t want older people to latch onto them for prophecies because they are vulnerable, OR for the enemy to try to send abuse so that they will be more emotionally fragmented and less likely/able to pursue their callings.
Team-building is essential. Leaders will also need to be intentional to help them connect with one another by valuing the unique remit of one another’s calls and having fun together. Greater friendship and fellowship will kill jealousy and competition, and prevent youth leaders from creating an orphanage. Just like in a traditional classroom, youth will need to be coached in letting others be different, knowing how to bring their unique part of the puzzle, and letting leaders respond to each one based on their needs. To be fair, adults usually need to be coached on these things too (lol).
All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.1 Corinthians 12:11
Responding to prophets needs/skills is important to keeping them safe. When it comes to the prophetic, need and merit start to blend together. As gifts increase, they put individuals at increased risk for spiritual warfare. Therefore, to grow to one’s full stature as a prophet or apostle, individuals must abide in healthy prophetic community with engaged leaders. Prophetic youth leaders should train young prophets to do as best they can on their own, but then support their zone of proximal development (ie, come alongside them to extend their capacity).
In order to know how to maximize their energy while still giving a responsive amount of support to each individual, leaders may need to weigh factors like teens:
- Degree of Social rejection/isolation (Who lacks services locally?)
- Intensity of Encounters
- Family background (limited or high degree of support navigating the office/gifts)
- Other risk factors that add stress (like past/current history of ACES)
Given that all Prophetic Youth leaders (not volunteers) will have passed out of their teenage years to meet universal guidelines for Child Safeguarding / Child Protection, leaders need to be acknowledge the age barrier between themselves and those they lead. Leaders need to be regularly asking teens, “What do you need of us as leaders?”
If teens feel supported and equipped to grow into the office of a Prophet, they will desire to take on leadership. That leadership could look like:
- Volunteering to teach young kids the gift of prophesy
- Volunteering to coach other, less skilled teens in the office of a Prophet
- Working with their parents to create church/regional youth groups for supernatural gifts, the gift of prophesy, or the office of a Prophet
- Increased local prophetic evangelism
Over time, who can say what increased youth leadership could lead to?
Teaching the Littles
Within the Western pre-COVID Prophetic Movement, prophetic training for young kids (0-12) tended to mimic some of the same imbalances as training in the gift of prophesy for adults. While it is true that individuals should “earnestly desire love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophesy”, too many adults have eagerly desired to prophesy for influence, power, money, or prestige. Sadly, the heart is deceptive, and we are not always aware of what motivates us until it is exposed painfully in public. Jesus help.
When prophesy hasn’t been exploited for personal gain, some leaders have focused on the joy of practicing the spiritual gifts without the expectation that the gifts be stewarded for the Kingdom of God. By focusing on the delight of flowing in the River of Living Water (close Partnership with Holy Spirit), they have forgotten that humans were not created to linger in the shallow end of the Ezekiel 47 waters. Passing into maturity means allowing revelatory currents to pass over your head (as in, no longer being able to drive/control the experience). In those moments, we learn to most trust Jesus and let God be the one who drives our destinies. Not for the faint of heart, but absolutely part and parcel of growing into maturity. Ultimately, focusing on the shallow waters of the gift of prophesy keeps individuals with a call to the office of a Prophet from fulfilling their callings. You had better believe that leaders who actively encourage bad stewardship will be accountable to God for their motives and carelessness. We should be more excited to come into increasing partnership with Jesus than to flit around in the gifts (hyper-grace).
“However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”Luke 10:20
This principle is similar to times where individuals ask for personal prophetic words for others out of performance.
When an individual puts pressure on themself to prophesy, the source will inevitably either be wrong, or mixture. Only by focusing on the love Jesus has for that person, that nation, or that organization will you be able to convey his heart for them in a way that adequately corresponds to his depth of feeling. While Jesus provides increased grace to novices in discerning his voice when they ask for it, growing as a Christian means continuously training yourself to prefer his voice, his ways, and who he is as a person over your own methods.
By pressuring oneself to prophesy without abiding in the source, an individual is also less likely to share words that they receive, because they don’t have the courage that love gives. God holds us accountable for the words we do not deliver, so it is important that we prophesy with gratitude and the genuine desire to see people made well. Again, that genuine desire will carry us into action.
But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’Ezekiel 33:6, Extreme but truthful
Therefore if you have any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being united in spirit and purpose.
3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.Philippians 2:1-3
Poor prophesy results from a lack of keeping staying close to Jesus as you navigate new or increasingly challenging circumstances. The goal of increasing Christlikeness is to remain close to him for the full course of our lives, going from glory to glory in every circumstance and life season. We cannot be afraid of letting him lead us into uncertainty and change. He’s particularly good at it. Taken out of healthy balance, the money, pride, performance, and other idols are only false insulation that the enemy makes available to us. His goal is to tempt us to insulate our lives away from being useful to God (ie, comfort).
So what can be done?
Joy is vital, but it is not the only facet of God’s character. God wants to bring even the chronologically youngest children to maturity by knowing the full range of his character and emotions. Ironically, very young kids will immediately relate to the extremes of God’s emotions. As humans, they may get upset over things that are different (ie, having to put on socks), but they do understand intense feeling. At each age, children’s developmental strengths equip them to understand a different aspect of the character and emotions of God
When the Church disciples children to appreciate and adore the full range of God’s character, they will see his delegated authority rise on every generation. Maturity means understanding and receiving him on his terms, with his full range of character and emotions. Adults can help coach littles by helping them enter into encounters (seeing in the Spirit) and coaching them how to ride the current of their words (nabi prophesy).
Ultimately, we operate in the Spirit in order to have relationship with the Holy Trinity, not to splish splash around in the river. Jesus is the object of our affection, and he is worthy of all of our worship. When we reject part of who he is, we not just wound his heart, but make him serve us instead of becoming servants. We become unfit for partnership.
I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.1 Corinthians 3:2
Can you hear Jesus’s grief in this verse?
I still have much to tell you, but you cannot yet bear to hear it.John 16:12
“If only you wanted me for MY sake and not for your own selfish appetites! If only you would help me build MY kingdom!”
Realistically, adults will need to be discerning to help littles navigate the gift of prophesy. By helping them focus on what it feels like to really love someone, they will be able to help children discern the incredible, endless love of the Father. Over time, that discernment training will help them prophesy out of God’s innocent love.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.Romans 12:9-13
I think it’s very likely that young children will shock the world by how brave they are in prophesying, in their choice of who receives a prophetic word and how (methods). Given children’s love of justice, they will likely lead adults into holy risk for the sake of the Kingdom. Adults will need to be standing guard, with the benefit of their experience and wisdom, to provide a safety net as children lead the Church into the unknown.
Adults must hold the space for the young ones as an Intercessory covering. Some of the littles will be called to the office of a Prophet, but it wont be time for that information to be known to them or others. Just because children are younger and are formally practicing “just the gift” of prophesy does not preclude many of them from operating in the full delegated authority of the office of a Prophet. God loves surprises, and he will use them.
Navigating Extreme Responses to God in Children
What is it like when the Holy Spirit comes on a flock of children? How could they communicate their emotions/experiences differently than adults?
Recently, I was reminded of the unique ways children encounter God when spending time with a group of prophets and one prophet’s young daughter. While this little girl was about 8, her skills as a Seer were pretty advanced for her age. However, the way that I most knew that she loved Jesus was by her dancey love of having a good time. Instead of crying, shaking, or other heavier manifestations of God described in H. A. Baker’s “Visions beyond the Veil”, she experienced Jesus’ freedom through movement.
In moments of zeal for the Lord and worship, she got extremely hyper under the Holy Spirit. In those moments, she looked to see which adults would jam out with her. While her exuberant joy was part of her personality, it was made even more extreme by the freedom that is in Christ. I tried to mirror some of her dance moves so that she would feel understood, but also for my own sake. I needed her to show me how to have the emotional courage to be that wild in response to God.
As adults surrender to God’s leading, how could young prophets teach us about the full character of God?
Lord, would you give us the capacity to steward healthy communities for young prophets,
Where they can grow under the protection of mature, emotionally whole leaders,
With parents who will help them navigate the heights and depths of your emotions,
And grandparents who have experience explaining the width and length of your character,
Would you help us retain the joy of the narrow road and use our lives as prophets to enjoy spending time with you,
In every season of life, would we find you again and again,
Give us the grace to rise with you into increasing partnership,
Responding to support youth as they opt into leadership in your story,
For your own extravagant sake,