Over the next few weeks, I will be exploring what it means to have a prophetic culture in church life, and what this means for every Christian, including those who do not have a spiritual gift of prophecy.
What is a Prophetic Culture?
A prophetic culture is an environment in which prophetic gifts, expressions and abilities are encouraged and released in a healthy way. It may also be one in which itinerant prophetic ministries are received to speak into the life of the church. However, it is much more than that.
A prophetic culture is one in which all Christians are encouraged to hear from God and respond to what He is saying.
Benefits of a Prophetic Culture
A prophetic environment can positively impact every ministry in the church, as well as the daily life of every believer. Some benefits include:
- Guidance and confirmation
- Miracles and healing
- Intimacy and encounter with God
- Cutting edge in evangelism
But in spite of these advantages, many church leaders today are reluctant to openly encourage prophecy.
Why? Because of the propensity for things to go wrong.
Prophetic Abuses in Church Life
Many of us have heard of damage taking place, or experienced it ourselves, where the leadership or vision of the church has been hijacked (or attempted to be hijacked) in the guise of a so-called ‘prophetic word from God’ that is different (or even opposed) to leadership led vision or values.
However, there is another danger. And that is, that in our attempts to shut out potential abuses, true prophetic ministry can also be stifled.
Prophetic abuse does not occur because we are fostering a prophetic culture, or because we have a community of strong-minded prophetic people.
It is not ‘the prophetic’ that can hijack a church. It is ungodly control, taking advantage of:
- Weaknesses in prophetic people
- Lack of protection in our church structure and philosophy, and
- Misbeliefs that individuals or groups may have about prophetic ministry and receiving revelation from God.
What is the answer?
4 Ways to Safeguard a Prophetic Culture in Church Life
Because of the power of prophetic ministry, the enemy will continually seek to discredit or disempower it.
It will not always be possible to avoid problems or conflict. However, we can provide a strong foundation upon which prophetic ministry can thrive—and any problems that occur become fuel to further sharpen and develop our prophetic ministry.
1. Provide a Foundation of Instruction
Many abuses in prophetic ministry today, are fuelled by a misguided, Old Testament approach to prophecy and hearing from God. So it is vital that people clearly understand the difference between Old and New Testament Prophetic Ministry.
Having a clear doctrine and understanding about prophetic ministry (and a prophetic lifestyle) keeps everyone ‘on the same page’. It also provides something to point to when difficulties occur. 
2. Foster a Culture of Honour and Blessing
Prophetic ministry is about conveying the heart and intent of the Father towards people. Prophetic ministry builds and edifies the church. (1 Cor 14:4,5)
Do we desire to have a prophetic mindset and ministry that encourages, comforts and builds up? (1 Cor 14:3) The best way to do this is to feed (teach and impart into) our culture and environment an attitude of honour (each other and leadership), blessing, and grace-giving.
In this way, a condemning, divisive or judgmental approach will be alien in our culture and stand out for what it is.
3. Provide the Safety of Guidelines
In 1 Cor 14, the Apostle Paul gave some guidelines to help the Corinthian church include prophecy in their gatherings in a healthy way. This shows us the principle of accepting protocols, responding to leadership and having accountability in the use of our gifts.
Far from controlling or stifling prophetic ministry, protocols and prophetic guidelines provide an environment in which prophetic gifts can be released.
Protocols are unique to every church and situation—adapted according to factors such as size of the church and culture. 
4. Model and Encourage Accountability
Accountability is a vital safeguard to prophetic ministry in the church. It fosters an attitude of humility, empowers community, sharpens our ability to hear from God, and helps prevent deception.
Through accountability to leadership, we weigh up what God is saying and gain wisdom on how to respond to Him. This is not only helpful for the church as a whole, it can be particularly important for personal guidance, where timing is involved.
Accountability does not just apply to prophetic individuals; it is also a safeguard for prophetic leadership, who should themselves have a clear process of accountability in place.
 One way in which churches can do this is through hosting prophetic training on a regular basis. It can be helpful to have resources at hand such as articles and books to point people to. For information about our training, see our Prophetic Training Page.
 For more on this subject, see Prophetic Ministry in Church Life: Why Have Guidelines?
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church