The Prophet’s Tasks
Preaching: There is no substitute for sound, doctrinally solid, Spirit-invoked preaching that has as its aim the connection of God’s intent with God’s people. In other words, prophets make God’s intent known so that God followers can live rightly. Much preaching these days is more therapeutic than prophetic. While prophetic preaching does heal (it’s God’s intent that we find wholeness and healing in Him), it is not merely therapeutic in the most popular sense (aimed at helping people feel good about themselves and/or have felt needs met). Decision-making: Prophetic leadership happens from the pulpit, but it also happens in board meetings, in one-on-one ministry settings, and in the budgeting processes. Churches need prophetic pastors who challenge their institutional processes, question the status quo, and push for godly change within the church. Prophetic pastors resist mere pragmatism and opt for decision-making processes that implement God’s intent. Vision casting: A key pastoral role is to inspire a shared vision of who a congregation is to be in the midst of their community and world and what the church is to do in order to live out this vision. The vision comes from God and is oftentimes first witnessed by mature church members (they catch glimpses of what God is calling the church to be and do). It is the pastor’s responsibility to listen deeply, discern prayerfully, and then speak compassionately so that the entire church community can see clearly the vision God has for their body and then carry out that vision. Community engagement: The prophetic pastoral role extends beyond leading the local body of believers to being a God-ordained witness to the world. As the OT prophets challenged Israel and their neighbors, a prophetic pastor will bring a message of God’s intent to the church, to those who are marginal to the church, and to the community in which the church lives. This does not mean the pastor calls the unchurched to behave as if they were all Christ-followers. Instead, this is a specific type of evangelism: sharing the good news of God’s intent with those who are currently far from God in expectation that they will repent and align themselves with God through Christ.