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-- © GodSpeak International 2000 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

Teresa Seputis <ts@godspeak.net>
GodSpeak International http://www.godspeak.net

Prophetic-School MiniTraining Series

How To Be Prophetic
In A Non-Prophetic Church

by Teresa Seputis

Part 2

Practical Suggestions


I am doing a three part writeup on ministering propheticly in traditionally "non-prophetic" churches. In the last lesson (Part 1), we examined 1 Corth 14 to obtain God's viewpoint on New Testament prophecy. To summarize, the main points of 1 Corth 14 are:

  1. Desire to prophesy, that is something God wants you to want.
  2. New Testament prophecy is primarily to build up and encourage and strengthen the body of Christ. It is not to correct/rebuke and tear down, it is to edify and build up.
  3. God wants us to communicate His words in a manner that will be understandable and receivable to those He is speaking to.
  4. We are to find manners to minister propheticly in our churches that are appropriate to our church's style and format. We are to work with the leadership to facilitate what God is doing rather than trying to force them into a style of ministry that we may personally prefer.

Plus we must bare in mind the reminder from 1 Corth 13:2 that prophetic gifting without proper character and motivation is "nothing" in God's economy.

My Situation

Most people raise their eyebrows when they hear I belong to a Southern Baptist Church. I am recognized as a prophetic minister and I head an international prophetic ministry. Yet I belong to a church that does not practice prophecy as a regular part of it's Sunday morning service. Some see that as a discrepancy.

The truth of the matter is that I am precisely where God wants me to be, and I absolutely love my church! I love the people there, I respect the leadership immensely and I am excited about being a part of this particular body. I know that I am where God wants me and I am very happy here.

There are many reasons God wants me in this church, due to the nature of God's calls and purposes for this particular church. And part of the reason that God has gone out of His way to plant me in what many would consider a "non-prophetic" church is so that I can be a role model. There are many who God has gifted propheticly and then placed in a church that does not make the prophetic a part of their regular Sunday Morning Worship service. God wants them to know that He can (and will) use them there. But they need to work with Him, rather than against Him, to facilitate the process.

Are there times that I miss the freedom to get up and give a word during the corporate worship? Yes, there are. This has been an adjustment for me.

Am I propheticly squelched at this church? No I am not, not at all. And if you go to a "traditional" or non-prophetic church, you do not need to be squelched either. You simply need to learn to fit in with the Church's style and look for opportunities to facilitate what the Holy Spirit is doing there.

I am going to share several of my personal experiences in the next lesson. But before I do, I would like to share a few helpful principles with you.

How to "Fit" Into A "Non-Prophetic" Church (And Minister Effectively There)

When I say non-prophetic church, I am referring to a wide scope of churches ranging from those who don't believe the prophetic is for today to those who acknowledge the gift but do not practice it as a part of their church service, and everything in-between.

There are a few basic principles to apply.

  1. Determine If This Is The Church God Wants You In

    You need to check in with God and find out if you are where He wants you to be. If you are in the wrong place, you need to "fix that" by getting to the place where He has assigned you to be. You do not do anyone (not God, not yourself and not the leadership or members of the Church) any favors if you intentionally are not where God wants you to be.

    If you are where God wants you to be, then you need to make a serious commitment in your mind and spirit to this church, and to working with God to facilitate whatever He wants to do there. You need to examine your heart and attitudes for any critical-ness of leadership or leadership style. And you must cultivate a supportive and encouraging posture to the leaders and members of this church. You must be very slow to complain criticize and be very quick to build up and encourage. It is extremely important to get your heart and attitudes towards the church, and towards it's leadership, lined up with God's.

    One thing that you might find helpful is to ask God to speak to you about the various leaders and members.. their skills, their giftings, their callings, what God likes about them etc. If you see them from God's perspective, this will often make you like and admire them and then it becomes easy to have a proper attitude.

    When I first started going to my church, even before I had decided to join it, God began to speak to me about this church and the people who were there. He pointed out people's giftings and strengths. He talked about the call on their lives. He talked about His plan and destiny for this church. Everything He had to say was positive. Does that mean that these people had no weaknesses, no faults and no areas in their lives that needed improvement? Of course not.. we all have those. But God showed me the good things and the strengths because that is what He wanted me to focus on. He wanted to build attitudes in me of liking and respecting the people there. I did not begin to get revelation about specific weaknesses or struggles until I was in specific ministry situations where I had a "need to know". But God was quick and free to talk about their giftings, their strengths, and the various things He liked about them. I am firmly convinced that God likes to boast about His kids. So ask the Lord to show you what He likes about the various leaders and what He is doing in their lives.

    God wants us to have a good attitude about the church He assigns us to. And He is willing to work with us to help us obtain this.

  2. Don't Try To Move In A Gift You Don't Have An Anointing For

    Make sure that God has actually gifted you in the prophetic before trying to use it in a church that is not set up to teach prophetic "beginners" how to prophesy.

    I have met many people who had a word spoken over them at some point in the past that they are a prophet. They have never prophecied to anyone, they have maybe ever given one or two corporate words in their lives and many of them do not even know how to recognize God's voice for themselves. Yet they consider themselves to be in the "office of prophet" because someone "spoke" that over them. These folks don't yet know how to hear God or minister propheticly. They should not be trying to present themselves as prophets until they do know how to prophesy.

    It is good to desire the prophetic, Paul encourages us to do that in 1 Corth 14. But the "wanting" and the "having" are not necessarily the same thing. Do not try to pass yourself off as experienced in the prophetic if you really aren't. It is ok to be a beginner and it is ok to be learning, providing you don't try to appear to be more than you are. But you tend to get in trouble when you pass yourself off as more than you are and then you cannot "deliver the goods."

    Some churches are set up to teach "beginners" to prophesy. If you in one of these, then you are already in a prophetic church and probably don't need this lesson. But if you are not in a prophetic church, don't give up. You can still learn to move in your gifting in unobtrusive ways.

    Corporate intercession, for instance, is a wonderful place to learn to move in the prophetic and to hear God. Most non-prophetic churches have some form of corporate intercession or a small group that meets together to pray for the church. Frequently the intercessors come together and wait on God to hear Him on various prayer issues. This is a great place to start in the prophetic in traditional churches.

    Another place is in the midweek home groups, were you can get to know people and ask God to give you an encouragement for someone, share it with them and actually get feedback for them about what you shared. If the church frowns on formal prophecy, then share it as something God put on your heart for the person to encourage them. That is often a very safe way for a "beginner" to share prophetic words and I have yet to met anyone who gets offended over that gentle style of delivering a word.

    (And, of course, for those of you in the prophetic-school, this is a good place to learn how to move in the prophetic and a safe place to practice.)

    Some of you ask, "how do I know if I am sufficiently developed in the prophetic to minister propheticly in a non-prophetic church?" Here is my general guideline. If you don't know how to hear God's voice well enough to determine what His will is for you on items 1 and 2, you probably are not quite ready to be ministering propheticly in your church. You may need to concentrate on learning to hear His voice more clearly first. Once you know how to discern His voice clearly, then you need to ask Him whether or not He wants you ministering propheticly in your church. If He says "yes," then ask Him to give you specific strategies that will be effective and will facilitate His plans for your church.

  3. Understand How Things Work At Your Church

    Open your eyes. Look and observe what God is doing in your church. Notice how things work in the church so that you can work within the system instead of violating it or fighting against it. Determine who the leaders and people in authority are. Understand the decision making process in your church.

    In some churches the pastor makes the decisions. In others, the pastor will have deligated certain areas to certain leaders and those leaders make the decisions. In yet others, there are ruling counsels (usually called elders) that meet and pray together before decisions are made. Understand how things are done in your local body and ask God to begin to show you ways and strategies to be effective within the church's system.

    This is so basic most people miss it, but it is absolutely key to being successful in the church where God has put you. Do not assume that God has sent you to that church to restructure it and change the way they do things. Rather, assume God has called you to be a co-worker with the pastor, under his authority and working to help build the vision and calling God has given him for this church.

    Assume God has called you to be effective for Him within the existing system rather than assuming He has called you to revolutionalize that system. (There are a few exceptions to that guideline, but the people who fall within the exceptions are usually ones who've been in the church for a long time and who are either informally or formally recognized as leaders there, and ones who hear very clearly from God.)

    We have one more area to consider: there are a few abusive churches out there. Again, this is the exception and not the norm. (I know that the term "spiritual abuse" is popular now, but most churches accused of "spiritual abuse" by disgrunted members really are not abusive. They may not be perfect, they may make mistakes from time to time, but they are pursuing with God what He wants them to do as best as they know how.) If you are in a truly abusive church, then you will not be able to work in their system because an abusive church's "system" is be set up to foster abuse, to manipulate and control people and to fight God. If you are in in a church like that, you need to go back and revisit the first principle.

    (If you are in a truly abusive church, then most likely God will want you to leave it rather than try to work with it. Fortunately most churches are not abusive, despite the popularity of that term these days.)

    Most of you are in good churches, even if you don't like the leadership style or the church government. In these cases, you need to learn how the system works so that you can be effective for God from within the system. Don't fight battles God is not calling you to fight. Instead, spend your time and energy speaking His words of encouragement and life, edifying and building up the body.

    One last note: If you are in a church that is truly disfunctional, and if God has called you to stay there, you must to be careful that you do not criticize or bad-mouth the leadership while you are there.

  4. Look For Prophetic Alternatives

    Don't assume all prophetic words have to be delivered in a certain manner or style. God is interested in communicating. A good communicator will alter his/her personal communication style to be understood by the listener. God is a good communicator and He is flexible this way too.

    You can give someone a message from God in many different ways. Here are just a few of the prophetic alternatives so that you can minister "non-offensively" to those who are frightened or offended by straightforward prophecies.


    1. Save the word and share it with the pastor after service. He may ask you to write it down to read to the congregation another time, or he may ask you to speak it the following week. Or he may find another method to distribute it, or he may elect not to distribute it. After you share it with the pastor, it becomes his decision what to do with it.

    2. Deliver the word informally in a small group setting. Some churches do not allow prophecy in the main service, but they do allow it in midweek home group meeting or Sunday school class.

    3. Share it conversationally with your friends and others after the service. In this case, don't present it as a formal prophecy. Rather share that you believe God "showed you something" or "put something on your heart. If it is God's word to the body, they will be ministered to by it, even when presented as "sharing" instead of as a format prophetic word.

    4. Pray the word. Turn the word into a prayer and pray it in some appropriate setting, such as an intercessor's group or a home group meeting.


    1. Write It Down When You Get It

      When ever I visit a church where I am not known, I always come with a pen and a supply of paper. That is because I know that God is very likely to give me a word for someone. If I am not known in the assembly, I do not walk up to the person and give them a word, because I have not been released to minister there and the person does not know me. Instead I write it down. On the same slip of paper, I put my name, my home phone number and my email address, so that they can get in touch with me for accountability's sake.

      Once I have it written down, I ask God how He wants me to deliver it. Sometimes God has me give it to the pastor and then have the pastor decide whether or not to give it to the person.

      Other times, I give it directly to the person, sharing briefly that God pointed them out to me and this is what I felt He put on my heart for them. Usually it is OK to give it to the person after service is over.

      One time I was visiting a foursquare church and God pointed one lady out to me. He had me write the word instead of doing worship and insisted I give it to her before the sermon started. I had no idea how to accomplish that, as she was clear across the room from me. So I asked Him for help, and He said He'd provide an opportunity and I'd recognize it when the time came.

      Worship ended, and the offering was taken. Then the pastor stood up and said, "I don't usually do this, but I'd like you to take a few minutes right now to get up and go greet someone you don't know." That was my opportunity, and I bee-lined across to auditorium to where she was seated. I explained briefly that I was visiting and God had pointed her out to me and this is what I believed He wanted to say to her. I handed her the paper, which was neatly folded into quarters. She looked at me dubiously and almost did not take the paper. Then she reached out and grabbed it. I smiled and went back to my seat.. mission accomplished. I had delivered it. Now it was not by business to try and get her to read it before the teaching.

      The sermon turned out to match the prophecy, main thought per main thought. It had do do with knowing you are loved and accepted by God even when you don't feel that way. About 2/3 the way through the sermon, she unfolded the word I gave her and read it. She must have re-read it several times. When the service was over, she came to me and thanked me, excited about what God had said to her.

      Another time, I received a word for one of the worship team and I gave the word to the pastor, indicating who the word was for. The pastor asked me a couple of questions about myself and who I was accountable to. Then he read the word while I stood there. He began commenting on the word as he read it, agreeing very strongly with what the Lord had said. The pastor then asked me if I would be willing to share the word verbally with the woman instead of just giving her this note. I said sure. They were having a leadership get-together shortly after service, so he asked me to come to it. When I arrived, he brought the lady over to me and introduced us. Then he told her that I had a word for her that he felt very much was "God". Since he had personally recommended me to her, this gave me instant credibility with her. God moved powerfully through this word and she had a major breakthrough. After that, the pastor came back and asked me to minister to a few others of his leaders. I visited that same church again the next week. Before the service started, the pastor made his way over to me and asked me if I was the lady who had the prophecy the previous week. I said that I was. He told me that he was releasing me to minister in his church.. that I was free to prophecy corporately during the worship or to give personal words to any of his congregation.

      When the anointing is present, God makes a way to minister with leadership's blessings. Writing down a word for someone and running it by the pastor is a great way to demonstrate a submissive spirit and also to demonstrate a clarity and accuracy in the prophetic.

    2. Deliver It Informally To The Person In A Non-Disruptive Manner **

      I was still very new to my church and many people did not know me yet. During worship, the Lord pointed a lady out to me and gave me a word for her. When the took the offering, I simply slid out of my seat and parked myself next to her. I greeted her briefly and shared that I thought God had put something on my heart for her. I asked her if it would be ok if I shared it and prayed briefly for her. She smiled and said that would be fine. So I briefly gave the main points of the word as impressions the Lord had laid on my heart. By her feedback, I could see I was hitting the target. Then I turned the rest of the word into a prayer, praying it over her. She was moved to tears as God touched her heart. We finished just as the special music after the offering finished, and I went quietly back to my seat. She was beaming the rest of the service, a big smile written all over her face. God had met her in that simple delivery.

      Another time, God gave me a word for someone who I knew and told me it must be given before the sermon started. I have found that when God gives me a deadline, there is usually a good reason. So I began to pray for an opportunity and I kept an eye on that person. During worship, she slipped out to visit the lady's room. I quietly followed her out, and gave the word to her in the foyer. Since she knew me and was comfortable with the prophetic, I was able to give it as straightforward prophecy. We slipped back into the service and sure enough, the teaching was a direct confirmation of this word.

    3. Hold the Word Until God Gives You The Opportunity To Deliver It **

      Sometimes the Lord will give you a word for someone and you won't have an obvious opportunity to deliver it. So hold on to the word until God makes that opportunity, or use it as an opportunity to intercede for the person. Here is an example...

      One Sunday I visited a new church and got a word, only to discover my pen would not write. So I asked the Lord to please orchestrate an opportunity to the word if He wanted it given. During the alter call, all the coffee I drank earlier had worked through my system and I felt an urgency to deal with this. So I slipped out of my seat and went to the lady's room. Prophecy was the last thing on my mind at that moment.

      As I was leaving the lady's room, the person I had the word for walked by. She stopped and began talking to me. I asked her some leading questions, from knowledge the Lord had given me (she was very worried about her rebellious teen age daughter who had recently run away from home). I asked her if she had any kids and she said she had a daughter. I asked if the daughter was a teenager by any chance and the whole story eventually came out as I asked subtle questions at key times. So I asked her if I could pray for her regarding this and I prayed the word over her as well as general intercession for the situation.

      After we finished the prayer, the Lord gave me a whole lot more for her personally, not related to her daughter. I asked her if she believed in the prophetic and she said "No!" Then she asked me "Why?" I said that I believed I'd heard something from God for her and wanted to know if she'd like me to share it. She replied, "I don't know about prophecy, but after the way you prayed for me, I do know you hear from God. Please go ahead and share." So I did. I was careful to keep it in third person ("The Lord wants you to know that...") instead of dropping into "Thus sayeth the Lord." The Lord wrought a powerful breakthrough for her and she ended up on the floor in the hallway. She was still on the ground in the middle of the hallway 15 minutes after I finished prophesying to her.

    4. Find Services The Church Needs Volunteers For and Help Out

      One of the ministries I got involved in at my church was visiting and praying for the sick. Typically small teams of 2 or 3 will go to someone's home or the hospital when they are seriously sick and visit and pray with them. I have done this several times. The Lord usually gives me prophetic words for the person we are visiting. This visitation program is a wonderful way to get opportunities to minister words of encouragement and life to people.

      There are many different ministries in most churches that provide this type of opportunity.. from telephoning first time visitors to discipling new believers to being on a ministry that calls back those who fill out prayer request cards to pray with them. Usually the leaders are delighted to have volunteers for these services, particularly if you have a tendency to build up and encourage people as you serve. It is a wonderful place to release the prophetic in a traditional church.

    5. Submit A Word To Leadership Before Delivering It

      Sometimes leadership will allow you to deliver words, or will deliver them for you, if you run the word by the leadership first. This may even be days or a week in advance of when you are allowed to deliver it. Or it may be that you run it by them during the service and they allow you to deliver it at the end of the same service. Typically a leader will be looking for words that agree with and support the direction that the Lord has given them for the service, or that sync up with their teaching/sermon. You may be asked to write it down or you may be asked to verbally give a 2-3 sentence summary of the word.

      One time, in a previous church when I was much newer at the prophetic, the Lord gave me a word and told me to write it down and give it to the pastor before the service began. The pastor was very surprised to get this handwritten note from me, but he was even more surprised when he read it's content. The word followed is sermon outline and tracked very closely with all of his main points and with some of his illustrations. After his sermon was over, he pulled out the piece of paper I'd written the word on and shared it with the congregation. He did not call it a prophecy, but he shared how God had put this on someone's heart before they heard the sermon, and he felt it was a confirmation from God on what he'd just taught on.

      I once visited an Episcipalian church one time. The pastor did not believe in nor want to encourage prophecy, but many of his members were hearing from God for the body. So he instituted an "open sharing" time just after the offering where people could share what God had put on their heart. However, they had to run these words by him prior to the sharing time. During worship, you would see a stream of people making their way to the front row where he sat and chatting briefly with him. These same people were later the ones who shared encouraging corporate words in the "open sharing" time.

      Occasionally you may have a word for someone in a place that only allows certain "recognized/trained" individuals to minister. This happened to me at a renewal meeting in San Jose. The church believed in the prophetic, but did not have a format for prophetic expression in their service. God had given me a word for this one man and a burning intensity to deliver it. So I watched the people with name tags, to determine who seemed to have authority. I identified a person who happened to be a staff pastor, but not the senior pastor. After the service was over, the senior pastor was mobbed with people wanting to talk to him. But the staff pastor was relatively available. So I went up to him and shared that I moved in the prophetic and God had given me a word for this one man. Would he allow me to give it, and maybe come with me to observe it? He said he would. As usual, the power of God came in His word. After I was done ministering, that pastor told me to feel free to come and get him any time that I wanted to give a word. I was not released to simply minister on my own because it violated their house rules, but he was willing to come with me any time I wanted to prophecy, so I could minister as the Holy Spirit led me.

      My experience is that when God releases His anointing, He always makes a way for you to minister it, providing you are flexible and demonstrate a submissive and non-controlling spirit.

    6. Talk To Your Pastor About Opportunities To Minister In Your Church

      After I decided to join my church, I met with the pastor. I shared what God had been doing in my life and how I ministered in the prophetic. I understood that we did not have an open prophecy time during the Sunday Morning worship service, and I wanted to know what to do when I get a word. I also wanted to know if there would be any opportunities for me to minister. He gave me some guidelines for what to do if I got a word during service (at that time it was write it down). He also put me on the altar ministry team so that I could minister one-on-one to individuals. This was a special concession on his part, as usually you have to go through a several month training series first. I was very greatful for that, especially as I had permission to minister propheticly to individuals at the altar, as well as in the woman's group and in home groups.

      Other opportunities opened up as I got established in the church and they got an opportunity to know me and to observe both my gifting and my character. I will talk about them more in the next teaching, which is a case study of my experiences ministering propheticly in a Southern Baptist church.

**Please note
some churches which are set up to have prophetic ministry in the service have a "No Parking-Lot Prophecy" policy. They would consider personal prophecy that is not written down or tape recorded or delivered before a witness as prohibited. Other churches, such as the one I belong to, do not have a format for personal prophetic prophecy in the services, and much of it is done privately in one-on-one situations. That is why it is important to know the policies of the church you are at, so that you don't inadvertently violate them.

[Please Note:
This is intended as a discussion series. Please feel free to send your discussion (comments or questions) to prophetic-school@godspeak.net. ]

-- © GodSpeak International 2000 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

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