Embracing the Prophetic Blessing
In November of 1996, after about 10 months of full-time fundraising and part-time Junior High study hall proctoring, I started getting paid to do ministry. It’s still mind-boggling to me that what started as a 3 year “blip” between college and the “real world” has now lasted 18 years.
Indeed, somewhere along the way, vocational ministry became the real world!
And when you’ve been doing this 18 years, you’ve learned a few things. For instance, I’ve learned how I’m wired (and how I’m not). I am an introvert. I love to write. Put me in charge of a conference, or a system, or a project, and you’ll be in good shape. And, for the love of God, let’s have fun while we’re doing our ministry work.
I’ve also learned how I’m gifted. Like spiritually gifted. And, for the most part, my gifts are in the “behind the scenes” things. I’m a director/administrator. I like to help new things happen. I have a passion for service.
Truth be told, at least in my contexts, this gift mix makes me somewhat unique. Because many of the ministers around me are gifted in different, “louder” areas. Like preaching. Or evangelism. Or discernment. Or healing. Or pastoring.
Which is why my initial reaction to being blessed to be a prophet caused me to recoil.
There I was, two weeks ago now, in a corporate prayer time, when a good friend of mine came over to me, laid his hand on my shoulder, and whispered this in my ear:
“I think God wants me to anoint you to be a prophet in your DMiss work.”
Me? A prophet?!? Heck no.
I mean, have you read the Old Testament? As a group, prophets strike me as ornery and cantankerous. They probably smell bad. They eat locusts. No one likes them. It’s like they’re permanently pissed off and in turn want to piss others off.
If that’s what the prophetic blessing entails, I’ll pass.
But, as I’ve received that prayer blessing and pondered it a bit, what if there was room for a different kind of prophetic ministry? Maybe one that involves writing. Or blogging. Or a certain DMiss program? What if you could speak truth into the culture–into the church culture–by doing excellent research, reading and writing?
Several months ago, I introduced you to F. Pierce Beaver, missiologist, professor, and prophet. In writing about the profession of missiology, my chosen field of study, Beaver wrote this:
“The missiologist is called to be the pioneer and to blaze the trail. The missionary will not escape from his (or her) uncertainty until the missiologist points the way, and the church will not move ahead in mission unless the missiologist sounds a ‘prophetic call.’”
Today I’ll start writing my Literature Review in earnest. The idea will be to enter the “conversation” that other authors, theologians, sociologists and historians have been having about my topic of inter-gender partnerships in mission. Over the course of some 50 pages, I’ll hope to discern what could make such partnerships flourish, in my organization and, more broadly, in the church.
And, in all of it, I’ll hope to be prophetic.
So, this introverted, fun-loving administrator is going to take his prophetic unction out for a test spin. We’ll see how this goes. I’m all in.
Well, except for the locust-eating part…