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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 3

A Case Study


The first of the three parts (part 1) was a biblical overview and basis for this, the second (part 2) contained practical suggestions. This is the final section with a case study of my experiences as a prophetic person in a Southern Baptist Church.

Case Study

When I first visited Elmhurst Baptist Church, I discovered it was not a stereotypical Southern Baptist by any means. The worship was predominantly Vineyard songs led by a worship band. About 1/3 of the congregation raised their hands during worship. People were much freer and less formal than I remembered from my Southern Baptist days in the 1970s.

The teaching was the sound bible teaching I have come to love and expect from the Baptist denomination. After the eaching was over, they had a sort of open ended altar call; worship music played, those who desired could come up to pray at the altar or for prayer. Everyone was free to leave when they felt God was done with them. Many left before the first song was over, but some lingered at the altar for quite a while. I could sense the Holy Spirit's presense in the place and the people seemed very committed to God.

I liked the church immediately, but there was one area that was problematic for me. They did not have anything built into their service format to permit prophecy. I visited multiple times and began to make some friends there. The people were friendly and loving and the atmosphere was wonderful. I loved the strong evangelistic emphasis, but I sort of missed the opportunity to give corporate words during worship. I felt it could become problematic for me to head a prophetic ministry and go to a church that did not have the prophetic operating in their services. But as I prayed about it, I became convinced that this was the place where God wanted me to be. Also, the Lord began to point out various leaders and people to me and speak to me about them.. sharing their giftings and callings and various things He liked about each person.

After I was sure that God was calling me to this church, I made an appointment and met with the pastor, Rodney. He was more than welcoming and very helpful. I had originally come as a guest speaker, for the Sunday school class and also for the Woman's Group. Rodney was already a bit familiar with me from my many testimony postings to the new-wine list. He had seen me teach at the Adult Sunday School class. I also shared with Him about what God was doing via the GodSpeak ministry. Rodney was very supportive of what I perceived to be God's call on my life. I was very much in agreement with what he explained was his vision for the church. It seemed like a perfect match, except for the part about the church not being a prophetic church.

I was a bit concerned about the lack of opportunity to give corporate words during the service. But the thing that I saw as my single biggest concern/hindrance was that they did not allow people on their ministry team until they'd been through their rather lengthly training series. This would not start for several monthes and it would be almost a year before it was over. I did not think I could go a year without being allowed to minister to people, and I did not think I could minister without sharing personal prophetic words as the Lord gave them to me. I shared these concerns with Rodney.

Rodney told me that he knew I had a lot of ministry experience, so he would allow me to serve as a prayer counselor (that is what this church calls their ministry team) before I took the church's formal training. That was the final confirmation for me that God wanted me there and would make a way for me, even though this church was not what I considered a "prophetic church."

Early Frustrations and Making Adjustments

There were may wonderful opportunities right from the beginning, but I had my share of frustrations as well. I had to make some adjustments. This was not too hard, since I knew God wanted me here and since the leadership of the Church was so reasonable and so hungry for God's will.

There are been a few times when I thought I was going to die because I could not get up and start prophesying. One time early on during worship, the Lord's presense was so strong and there was a Spirit Of Prophecy over the service. The Lord gave me something for every single person I looked at.. I mean in-depth and powerful words. But there was no format or opportunity to deliver them. When I tried to avoid looking at people by squeezing my eyes shut, I would get corporate words for the whole body. But there was no opportunity to share these in the service. I began to get frustrated. The prophetic felt like it was going to explode out of me, and there was no venue to release it. I did not know how to handle this, so I quietly walked to the back of the sanctuary and stood there. But then kept getting words that I had no opportunity to give.

Finally I went outside and walked around the parking lot, speaking the Lord's blessings over the church and over those represented by the parked cars. There was not anyone to hear what I was saying, but I still believe that some sort of spiritual power was released in the blessings the Lord had me speak. I kept prophesying in the parking lot (not loudly, but speaking audibly) until I did not feel like I was going to explode any more. I stayed outside until the worship portion of the service ended.

Did I feel frustrated that there was no opportunity to prophesy? You bet I did! But when I got back into the service after worship, I was ok and the teaching was excellent. I think I ended up prophesying to about 6 people during the ministry time. When they came to me for prayer, the Lord recalled to my mind what He'd shown me for that person during worship. Later on, after I'd been there a while, I learned what to do when I get words for folks during worship.. and of how to recognize the opportunities God gives me to minister to them during the worship... they will often end up slipping out for a "potty trip" and I can "catch them in the hall" or the person next to them will slip out during the offering and I can slide over and share quietly. Or I can write it down and give it to them later.

Another early frustration had a happy ending. I was sitting in the front row, way on the right side. Rodney, the pastor was sitting on the front row, way on the left side. We had a special event at service that morning. Some of our elders had been in Argentina for revival training and had just returned home. They were doing a presentation for the morning service, a prelude to our launching our "Houses of Prayer" project.

They had brought something back from Argentina for the pastor, and presented it to him during the service. And in the midst of the presentation, the Argentina team gathered around Rodney and his wife, Mary, to pray for them. They intended to impart the anointing they'd received on Rodney and on the whole church. The prayer was fairly lengthly. As they prayed, the Lord gave me a word for the pastor. It was a wonderful word about his faithfulness and how he put God's desires over his own desires, so now God was going to give him the desires of his heart. And there were promises of blessings, power and anointing, including an increase in physical healings over the whole church. The word was practically exploding from me. I wanted, more than anything, to tap the elder on the shoulder who was controlling the prayer time and ask to give the word. But I'd never met him before and knew it might be disruptive to go up front and ask to prophecy. So I sat on the word and felt like I was going to explode.

Finally I could not stand it any more, so I got paper and pencil and wrote the word down. By then the prayer had finished and Rodney was back in his seat. I was tempted to get up and walk across the front and give it to him, but he was in the leftmost seat, and I was in the rightmost seat and there was a center aisle and a long distance between the two of us. There was no unobtrusive way to get to him. So I sat there and held onto the paper I'd written. I wished more than anything that we had a format to prophecy in the service, because I KNEW that God wanted the whole church to hear how pleased He was with the pastor. But the opportunity never presented itself. Finally the service ended and everyone was invited forward if they wanted the "Argentine team" to pray for them. As soon as people began going forward, I bee-lined for Rodney. I gave him the paper and a brief explanation. He thanked me. I tried to to back to my seat by walking along the left wall to the back and then around the back and down the right wall to my seat. But before I'd gone 1/2 the distance, someone grabbed me and asked me to prophecy to them. I went a few feet further and was again grabbed. It must have been about 25 minutes before I actually got back to my seat, and I had done quite a bit of ministry.

A week or so later, Rodney touched bases with me on the word. He appreciated it very much and was encouraged by it. It has some accurate details in it. I shared how badly I'd wanted to give it over the microphone but he said, "I'm glad you wrote it down instead. I value being able to go back and re-read it." I did not know it at the time, but they were not taping this particular service, so if I'd delivered the word over the microphone, there would not have been any permanent record of it. So, it all worked out to God's glory! (I wondered why God let me feel the prophetic intensity practically explode in me instead of simply sharing His plan with me. So far, the Lord has not seen fit to explain that to me .)

There was another time when the youth group went to camp. The sunday after they got back, they were invited up front to share. Each time that one of the young people took the microphone and shared, God gave me a word for that person or spoke to me about them. I knew I was not allowed to get up and give them words, and I did not have any type of contact with the high school and college group. So I simply "sat" on the words and asked God why He was speaking to me about them when there was no opportunity to deliver the words. God said that He'd explain it to me later. (Don't you just hate it when He tells you that?)

It became a matter of prolonged prayer.. I hate having prophetic words and no opportunity to deliver them. Finally God showed me that the only way the youth would be able to receive words from me was if there was some sort of rudimentary relationship in place.. I could not prophecy to them as a total stranger.. they would not hear me. I asked God what He wanted me to do to establish relationship with them. He told me to teach a sunday school series for the youth group. So I went to the youth pastor and told him I'd like to teach a series for the youth. He was more than willing. It took a few monthes before the schedule worked out for both of us. Then I began a 4 week series (that turned into 7 weeks) on Hearing God's Voice. During that time, I had an opportunity to prophecy to about four of them publicly and about another five or six privately. I ended up getting to minister propheticly to all of the ones God had spoken to me about that sunday! It was frustrating for a season, but God worked it out in His usual wonderful way! Again, His plan was better than my plan.

Not all of my stories have happy endings. There was something that could have been very frustrating for me, if I wanted to keep ownership of a word once it had been released. During Father's day service we had baby dedications. Several Hispanic families came up during that to dedicate their babies. As I watched and noticed all the Hispanic people in our church, I commented on it to God. He replied, "Yes, indeed." And then He began to give me a very powerful word for the Hispanic people and how the Lord was proclaiming liberty over them and breaking bondages off of them and empowering them to walk in His freedom. He was going to do this for the people in our church and then He was going to use them to minister this same freedom to other Hispanics in our community. God is eyeing the Hispanic people group in our city (Hayward) and wants to do a mighty work among them. The word was burning so strong in me that I felt like I was going to explode. I planned to talk to Rodney during the start of the ministry time, but he never came down off of the stage where I could talk to him.

So I sat there, feeling frustrated and holding the word and waiting on the Lord for more direction. Suddenly I saw a vision.. in this vision I stood up and spoke the word over the people in our church, and then Lenore (an elder who speaks Spanish) got up and prayed over them in Spanish and a tremendous power of God dropped over the Hispanic people in our midst and they were falling on the ground and shaking and laughing and crying and speaking in tongues as she prayed.. and when they got up they were emotionally healed and filled with the power of God.

I shared this vision with Lenore and she was willing to pray should Rodney give the opportunity. Then I shared it with Rodney, who was very interested as he was going to Cuba in a few weeks for the World Baptist Convention. He agreed it was God and that he'd probably do it sometime. He did not do it the following week, saving it for the Sunday just before he went to Cuba. But instead of following the vision, he had Lenore's husband (also an elder) get up and pray for the Cuba trip and also a blessing over the Hispanic people in our church. This was nice, but did not resemble the word or vision I'd gotten. Rodney mentioned to me the next day that they'd done it. I asked him who prayed.. he said Russel. I said that it was not correct, then, as I'd seen Lenore praying in my vision, so we needed to do it again. I did not say any more. Rodney went to Cuba and returned. The sunday he got back, Lenore prayed for the offering in Spanish. It was a prayer in Spanish by Lenore, but it was NOT covering the empowering and release of the Hispanic people, and God's word for the Hispanic people still had not been released. The leadership felt like they'd covered the vision and word, but I don't believe they came at all close.

Now, I had choices in how I handled this. I could have gotten upset or made a stink and raised a fuss because the word was not delivered and the Hispanic people were not empowered and released. I am saddened that the Hispanic people did not get the ministry I sensed God desired for them. But I choose not to pursue this any further because I wish to exhibit a submissive and honoring attitude to my leadership. I do respect them. I believe they sincerely seek God's will and that they know how to hear God. I delivered the directive word to them, so my part is done (unless and until they ask me to speak it in service over the Hispanic people).

My leadership think they took the word and did what God wanted with it. I disagree, feeling the main point and the main thrust were missed. Does that mean that they are bad leaders.. or that that are resisting God? Of course not! What it means is that I must now leave this in God's hands, allowing Him to speak to their hearts and recall the word to their minds if He wants to pursue it more. So I have "let the word go" and will not mention it again unless God brings it around again. [There are going to be times, whether you are in a prophetic church or a non-prophetic one, where the leaders choose not to follow a word the way the prophet envisions it. Once a directive word has been delivered to the leaders, it is between them and the Lord. And it is not the responsibility of the prophet to try and make them follow the word.]

There have been some frustrations and adjustments on my side. I had more frustrations in the early days than I do now. Part of it was a learning curve... learning how to minister effectively in a "non-prophetic" church, such as learning to be effective with personal words I receive for church members. Occasionally a frustration (like the thing with corporate word for Hispanic people not being delivered) comes up.. of course, this type of things comes up in prophetic churches too.

Overall, there have been many more joys and opportunities to minister than there have been frustrations and/or barriers. I'd like to share just a few of these with you...

Opportunities to Minister Effectively

One time Rodney did this excellent teaching on examining our hearts. It was one of those calls to a commitment to holiness and walking a sanctified life before the Lord, and of how God would empower us to do so. I was one of our "prayer counselors" (altar ministry team), but God whispered to me not to go up and pray for people. So I remained in my seat and waited to see what God was up to.

I expected that there would be a big response at the altar, but not a single person came forward. I asked God what as going on. He told me that the enemy was coming in with accusation and guilt. He explained how many felt condemned and afraid to come before God, when God wanted to break off all condemnation and release an empowerment to walk in His holiness on them.

About the 3rd song into the altar call, I went up to Rodney and shared with him what God had said to me. I presented it a a corporate word. Rodney thanked me and shared how he bore witness to that word. I went back to me seat.. a tad surprised that I had not been invited to share this word with the body.

But after the next song ended, Rodney got up and shared that I'd had a word along these lines and that it matched what God had been speaking to him. He spoke in a manner that tied the word back into the teaching and ended up doing a far better job sharing what God had communicated that if I'd gotten up and given the word myself. I was thrilled and delighted in watching how that unfolded. The word went forth even though I was not the one to give it. God had been speaking something very similar to the pastor's heart and when I shared my "word" with him, that was the confirmation he needed to act on what he'd been hearing. The end result was extremely effective and the whole body was blessed and built up at the way it all unfolded. I was delighted.. even though I had not given the word myself, I did see God's word go forth in a very effective way.

The church has gone out of it's way to make a place for me in the structure that it has in place. Adult Sunday School is very important in Southern Baptist churches. I was invited on several occasions to come and teach on the prophetic (and/or other subjects). This gave me an opportunity to train and impart and occasionally even do a bit of ministry in a corporate setting. I already mentioned how God had put it on my heart to teach the youth so that I could build a relationship from which I could minister to some of them. I got to work the youth group for 7 weeks, and had a free reign in there to minister propheticly or give corporate words while I was teaching the series on hearing God's voice. Overall it was a very positive experience and even though the teaching series was over, I still have opportunities to minister one on one to various members of the youth group.

Another way the church gave me opportunity to minister was on the altar prayer team. I already shared how the pastor allowed me to be on the team before completing the church training requirement. I find the Lord gives me a lot of prophetic insights when I minister on the prayer team. Sometimes I simply pray the insights, other times I share what the Lord is showing me. I am usually very casual with these words, I do not say "Thus sayeth the Lord" and I seldom speak in the first person for God, unless I already know the person and know they are comfortable with the prophetic.

I remember one time a very pretty (and quite pregnant) young woman came up front for prayer. She asked for prayer for various family things, including that her husband and oldest daughter were not getting along as well a she would like. As I prayed for her, the Lord began to give me some insights about her husband, what his motivations and concerns were and a strategy for her to interact with him in a way that would help him immensely. She nodded in agreement as I shared what the Lord had shown me, it matched what she knew about him and made sense to her. She came back to me about a month after the baby was born. She was excited about how God had turned things around in their household situation. She had followed the simply strategies the Lord had suggested, and it had made a big difference in their household. God is smart.

Sometimes I enjoy standing at the back and watching what the Lord is doing over the congregation during worship. I can glace around the room and see Him emotionally healing this person, strengthening that one, encouraging this one, etc. The people in our congregation are quite hungry for God and yielded to Him, so He frequently meets them in beautiful ways. There are times when I am lost in worship, but there are also times where God has me stand back and shows me what He is doing.. and I get tremendously blessed watching Him move on His people.

Some of the prophetic ministry God has me do is one-on-one and very private. The sunday before Christmas, I was in the back area where the dancer's dance. I was dancing and worshipping. Suddenly God spoke to me about one lady, let's call her Debbie (not her real name). He said that Debbie was upset because she did not have any enough money to take care of her family for Christmas and God wanted me to give her $100.00 in His name and tell her He was going to meet her financial needs. He also said that I must do this before worship ended. I said ok, stopped dancing, opened my eyes and began to look for her. She was not in the service.

"Lord," I said, "She's not here."

"Don't worry, she will be."

I kept an eye out for her for the next 15 minutes or so, then I gave up and wend back to dancing. I had only been worship dancing about 2 minutes when I felt impressed to look to my left. There was Debbie standing in the back of the auditorium, talking to someone. I stopped dancing and put on my shoes to go over and talk to her. But she left the auditorium. So I followed her out into the foyer. She was talking to someone else now, her back to me. Worship was about over. How was I going to meet the Lord's mandate to give her the message/gift before the worship ended. I threw up one of those quick "What now, Lord??" prayers.

Suddenly she turned and started walking to me. I asked her if she had a few minutes. She said she had been trying to telephone me during the week regarding a prayer request. God told me to stop her and not let her share her request with me. I told her God had given me a word for her and asked if I could give that before she told me anything. She said, "sure."

The word expanded as I began to deliver it.. God spoke of His great care for her and how He was going to demonstrate His faithfulness in providing for her needs. He was giving her this $100 as a prophetic token of His promise to take care of her. Tears came to her eyes. She shared about how the prayer request she unsuccessfully tried to telephone me mid-week about was financial. I prayed for her and the Holy Spirit showed up. When we got back inside, the sermon had already started. It was on tithing. Now, I had no idea what Rodney was going to teach on, but it suddenly made sense why God wanted this message delivered before the sermon, not after it. During the service, the Lord ministered to her heart regarding tithing. He had demonstrated how He would take care of her. She used to tithe, but finances had gotten so tight she'd stopped. God dealt with her heart on this. Since she knew God was committed to taking care of her, she recommitted to give Him lordship of her finances, including tithing. The following week, God miraculously orchestrated for her to get a new oven and a new furnace. He met her needs in awesome ways.. and I got to be the prophetic voice that launched her on this adventure in giving God Lordship of her finances. But He was the one who orchestrated circumstances and met her in so many wonderful ways.

Here is another story. I normally sit in the front row, but one day God impressed me to sit in the middle of the room. I had no idea why He wanted me to do that, but I know it is always a good idea to obey Him when He tells me to do something. During worship, I happened to glance across the aisle and see a woman, eyes closed and hands uplifted in worship. The Holy Spirit was all over her and she was receiving from God. Suddenly she pulled out of it and look around the room. I could sense the Lord's sadness as she pulled out of worship... because He had more that He desired to minister to her. I began to quietly intercede for her. As I did, the Lord gave me a word for her. But she was not accessible, there were people on both sides of her. So I prayed and watched. Later on, during teaching, I jotted down the word the Lord had given me for her, intending to give her the written word after service.

Near the end of the service, we did a bit more worship and the people near her had moved away. So I slid over next to her to give her the piece of paper with the word. The Holy Spirit whispered in my ear to give it to her verbally first. So I shared how I'd seen the Holy Spirit on her earlier in the service and felt God had laid something on my heart for her. I asked her if I could share it. She said yes. The Lord began to give me a strong word of encouragement for her, of how He was inviting her to a place of increased intimacy and closeness with Him. I could see His strength pouring into her as I shared. After I gave the word verbally, I handed her the paper which also had the word on it, though not quite as detailed. She was deeply ministered to. Just as I finished, her husband came back and sat down next to her. I went back to my seat, mission accomplished.

Not all of the opportunities are "impromptu." Some of them are carefully planned and scheduled. In early October, I felt the Lord prompting me to teach a prophecy class at church.. similar to the Prophetic Training 101 course that the prophetic-school offers. I mentioned this to some leaders and to the pastor. They seemed to think it was a good idea, but it had to be "fit into" the church's active calendar. It took a few monthes to determine the best time frame for the class, day of the week, etc and get it on the church's calendar. The class was reviewed and approved the the executive committee (our governing elders). The class began in January. There was a lot of interest in it, and it started with 25 members. The class lasted for 6 monthes, meeting twice a month. Most of the people in the class now move in the prophetic, some fairly strongly. A few had been considered "prophetic" before the class began, but we found that many of the "non-prophetic" ones began hearing God's voice and moving in the prophetic as well. After the course ended, we set up a prophetic ministry team that offers prophetic ministry on 2nd and 4th Mondays by appointment. We have sign-up forms in the bulletin. The original class members form the ministry team. Typically we have teams of 3-4 minister to 3 or 4 people on a given evening. The Lord had been blessing this ministry and the team members are excited and pleased to see God moving through them. The people who come for ministry have been greatly blessed and encouraged. This Monday night prophetic ministry is fairly new, but it is being well received. Our "non-prophetic" church now formally offers prophetic ministry sessions by a trained prophetic team. Isn't God amazing!

Building The Ministry

Prophetic ministry is starting to happen outside of the stuff I initiate. For instance, a few sundays ago, the bulletin had an insert in it containing three prophetic words from people I'd been training. They were good words. I was surprised and delighted to find them there!

About 6 weeks ago, at a monthly woman's group meeting, I had a sense that God wanted to prophesy to all the women sitting in one certain area of the room. I prophecied to about 1/2 of them and suddenly God told me to stop prophesying. Then our pastor's wife jumped in with a word for one of the women sitting in that area. It matched what God had shown me and it blessed me to see her minister. Then I opened it up for anyone else who thought they had a word for someone to share it. Several of the women began prophesying to one another, and they were all good words. The Holy Spirit came with a great deal of power and anointing. I was so blessed watching them minister that I forgot I was leading the meeting -- in fact, I really wasn't leading the meeting at the time, the Holy Spirit was.

One of the staff members signed up for the Monday night prophetic ministry recently. We had two teams running that night. I was on one team, and she was being ministered to be the other team. She contacted me afterwards and said that she was deeply and powerfully ministered to by the team, and that the prophetic insights were keen and accurate. She felt that the team that ministered to her was very competent and highly qualified and she was excited that they were able to function so effectively without me being there with them. I was pleased and excited to hear the teams are able to function effectively on their own.

Finally, my church and the ministry I lead (GodSpeak International) are co-sponsoring a prophetic conference in September. The conference is entitled "Hearing God's Voice" and the main speaker is John Webster. This conference is targeted at our own church but also at other traditionally "non-prophetic" churches in the area. The goal is to teach believers to can hear God for themselves. We desire to demonstrate that they can make the prophetic a part of their evangelical services without having to embrace pentecostal or charismatic theologies and practices. Pastors and leaders from several local evangelical churches are expected to come. My desire is that the Lord will begin to open up the prophetic in many evangelical churches in my area as a result of this conference.

You Can Do It Too

The reason I have shared my experiences with you is to let you know that you can do it too. You can move with God in the prophetic in your own church... you are not disqualified if you attend a church that does not have the prophetic built into the format of the services.

Ask the Lord to show you what part of the existing structure the Lord would like you to "build into." Make encouragement and support and "building up" your main agenda, as per 1 Corth 14. Look for ways to fit effectively into the existing structures instead of trying to change them.

Invite the Holy Spirit to use you where He has put you, and He will.

[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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