I call prophets heart revealers because they reveal the heart of God and the hearts of those in the congregation. Prophets call the church to God’s new social order and help the congregation to stand with the poor and oppressed. In the Old Testament, prophets were “God-intoxicated advocates of social justice… Their authority and their social passion came from the immediacy of their experience of God and not from institutional authorization. Prophets have the ability to perceive reality when others are lost in a world of illusion. When prophets come on the scene, reality invades illusion and hearts are laid bare before the living God. Prophets have a way of ripping open our hearts, shattering our illusions and bringing us face to face with our Maker (1 Cor 14:24-25).
JR Woodward, “Creating A Missional Culture: Equipping the Church for the Sake of the World” Page 132-133.
Prophets make things uncomfortable. Generally, people do not strive to be uncomfortable. They offer words that challenge our status quo and offer an alternative reality saturated within God’s new social order. Prophets pursue shalom, and are not afraid to call us out when we are working, living, conforming counter intuitively to that divine call.
We need more prophets. It seems strange to make this call, as it goes against the grain to equip people to make us uncomfortable, to challenge us.
Yet we need it. Desperately.
We need people who are willing to point us to God’s new social order. We need people to reveal the heart of God to us.
Do you know anyone you would consider a prophet? How can the church encourage the growth and development of prophets even though they make us terribly uncomfortable?