Administering prophecy in church services and in church life is such a large topic, an entire book could be devoted to it, so this short post will not be exhaustive by any means. I do want to lay out some helpful guidelines, however.
First, we have to lay down the fear of the unknown. Because allowing prophecy to function in your church is possibly one of the most uncomfortable unknowns out there. It’s not so much the fear of what God will do, but what people will do thinking they speak for God. If you are a pastor, set your mind from the beginning that you will have some messes to clean up—but know that what you gain from the messes can be worth the trouble (Proverbs 14:4)
Next, have a plan in place to gently and lovingly correct and mentor people who take the risk to step out in prophetic ministry and miss it. Use the least public way possible to correct them so they don’t shy away from trying again. If you don’t have a plan in place beforehand on how to deal with problems, then prophetic ministry can become an unmitigated disaster. I’ve seen it—it’s not pretty.
Third, learn from mistakes in administering prophetic ministry. Don’t be so bound by the original plan on how to deal with things that you don’t adapt. Each church, each small group and each ministry will be different. What has worked for others may or may not work for you—after all, you are inviting God to directly speak and lead your group, right? Let Him do it.
Ask God to guide and direct your prophetic ministry. If He can (and He can) speak to you, He will definitely help you learn and grow in administering prophetic ministry. Be firm, but don’t be rigid. There is a difference—and that goes for everyone involved. All too often people who are open to the notion of prophetic ministry lay aside all diligence and discernment. Everyone involved needs to be willing to embrace prophetic ministry while lovingly and honestly throwing away things that aren’t God.
When we “call a spade a spade” things go much better. It helps pastors and it helps everyone else to confidently know when God has spoken and when He hasn’t. It takes humility on the part of the pastor and everyone else to admit when they miss it, either in what they heard from the Lord or in administration of prophetic words.
In the end, everyone gets humbled, everyone grows and God has an open door to touch and woo the hearts of a congregation or ministry.