The Nature of Prophetic Leadership
Undoubtedly, the greatest challenge facing the church today is leadership. It is not the pandemic or natural disasters or any of the range of calamities that now confronts us. The important issue here is the question, how are we going to cope with the barrage of disasters all around us. The simple answer to this question is potent, powerful and prophetic leadership.
We cannot evade the facts of life; however, our attitude to the facts, the manner in which we respond, will determine how successful we can navigate through the challenges. For the child of God, it is not positive thinking but rather an unrelenting trust in the Lord. A complete dependence on the Holy Spirit, to guide and lead us every step of the uncharted way.
What is Prophetic Leadership?
Many have written on leadership. There are numerous definitions floating around for leadership. Indeed, they all have merits and captures different aspects of the nature of leadership. However, when one examines the discourse of Jesus on the subject, one discovers that He laid down some very important revolutionary principles and definitions, as it related to God, accepted leadership. He spoke of servant leadership, metaphor-based leadership and prophetic leadership.
What makes a word, a person or an event prophetic? It has to do with the source; a word is prophetic based on the source of that word. The prophetic nature surrounding a word, a person or an event originates from the heart of God. The source at all times is God.
The Church in the Heart of God
In this context, for example, the church is prophetic because it originates from the heart of God. The creation of the church was not an after-thought as some are teaching, but it was in the heart of God even before the foundation of the world, according to Revelation 13:8:
“All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
According to the apostle John, before the foundation of the world, the Lamb (Jesus Christ) was symbolically slain. It was for the purpose of man’s redemption. God initiated the redemption of the human race even before sin entered the world. The apostle Peter confirms this mystery when he wrote in 1 Peter 1:19-20:
“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.”
When a person accepts the redemptive work of Christ, by confessing and repenting of their sins and receiving Jesus as Lord and Saviour into their lives, they become part of the “church” or the “ecclesia,” or the “called-out ones.” The church then is not a building or a physical structure but people who have been called out of the world to be followers of Jesus. The Lord had all this worked out from before the foundation of the world. This is indeed a profound mystery to which we have been called.
In this context and against this background, the church, the called-out ones is prophetic in nature as it is rooted in the heart of God. There are two aspects to the prophetic; the first is the origination, coming from the heart of God. The second is declaratory, a declaration of events to come.
Based on the foregoing, Christian leadership is deeply prophetic in nature, as it originates from in the heart of God even before the creation of the world. In Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus explained the difference between worldly leadership and kingdom leadership. Kingdom leadership is prophetic in nature. It originates from the heart of God while worldly leadership comes from the mind of man.
“But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
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