The Prophetic in Leadership

Updated: May 17, 2019

By Peter McArthur

What do we mean by "the Prophetic"?

The term “prophet” and “the prophetic” these days has come to mean virtually the same thing – something to do with giving correct words to encourage and build up. But there's a vast difference between the two terms.

"Prophet" quite correctly has a fairly narrow term of reference, but "the prophetic" covers a much greater area. It basically means an anointed ministry, which in revealing divine direction during a given season, points you to new life in Christ.

It may not even include a single Prophetic Word! And the person giving the counsel of God may not even have the calling of a Prophet! Rather, it is a person who is open to the voice of the Holy Spirit and who knows how to offer a Rhema Word of counsel from the throne room of heaven without taint.

Note that I say counsel and not advice . Avoid Christians who give you advice. That is man’s view of a matter, and it may sound reasonable, logical, sensible and even a little spiritual . But it's still Man and not God. So the Prophetic Person speaks from God’s mind, thereby avoiding the advice of the human mind and experience (Prov. 16: 1 and 9).


Let’s look at my definition of "The Prophetic" - (1) an anointed ministry, (2) that in revealing divine direction (3) during a given season (4)opens you to new life in Christ.

There are four points in this that are vital to understand:

1 an anointed ministry

2 revealing divine direction

3 during a given season

4 that opens you to new life in God.

First, the ministry or person needs to be Anointed. The word means to be enchristened and refers to being Christ-like. [Strongs G5548 chrio: it has the idea of contact, to smear or rub with oil, and by implication to consecrate].

In other words the person needs to be in contact with The Christ, to be smeared and covered with the same anointing that Jesus had, and to be set aside (consecrated) to that calling and work. We need to look for such a heart attitude in the person we are intending to trust, minister or allow us to lead.

Second, the prophetic person will not give advice, but reveal to you God’s direction for that moment or next stage of your life. They will reveal ( take off the cover, disclose ) what God wants you to see and know.

They will not add their bit to it nor attempt to direct you they will take off the cover over your mind, life and spiritual eyes, allowing you to see what God alone wants. The Prophetic Person must never be tempted to give direction or voice their own opinion, but must allow God to speak, and God alone.

Third, the revealing of God’s ways comes during set seasons, and rarely as regular occurrences. The Lord has given us the natural seasons, the seasons of one’s life, and even the seasonal feasts of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles, as parables of how He works in us. He uses seasons or stages to instruct us because the inbetween times are meant for us to learn how to apply the teaching and lesson presented by Him.

A wise person will take advantage of these seasons of God and draw as much as possible from them. To ignore them brings us into disobedience and stunts our spiritual growth. Each season has its own spiritual character just like the natural seasons can be identified by how much heat, cold, rain, snow etc is in them.

The Prophetic will speak revelation into these seasons of our life. It's vital that we listen to the Rhema Word and act on it. We will not advance to the next season of our spiritual development until we've lived through the season God gives at that appointed time. We cannot short circuit God’s dealings with us! Have you noticed that prophetic ministries have the knack of turning up at just the right season and imparting a Word that brings change? This is a noticeable feature of their calling.

Fourth, the ministry of The Prophetic will always lead you into a new realm in God. It imparts life and it transforms. This is one way you can gauge the validity of a prophetic ministry: have they deposited truth and change in you?


Don’t be tempted to see the prophetic as some sort of wonder tool that will bring instant revelation and guidance to those you're shepherding. Keep your eyes on Jesus, not the prophetic, no matter how anointed and effective it might be.

Allow others to see that you model this lifestyle by sharing your own experiences of how the prophetic has helped you. They need to know they can trust this type of guidance.

Once a person has received counsel from you on a matter, you will need to re-adjust them from time to time as they begin to apply the Truth in their situation. This may happen a number of times before it clicks. Be patient. Keep humble in all this. Often those you re shepherding will perceive your prophetic guidance as great wisdom, and may be tempted to idolize you.

Some pointers from my own experience:

  • Speak and minister with authority, but not pride.

  • Try to bring the person to a place of accountability regarding the counsel you’ve given.

  • Be wary of their words as they’re often couched in spiritual jargon, but behind it can be self-interest, ambition and a hasty spirit.

  • Look for the motives behind their heart.

  • Don’t be afraid to be bold in declaring what you know God is saying to the person.

  • Check your own spirit so you know it s not your advice you re giving but what God wants to say.

  • Use the occasion to teach and impart God’s ways to the person (Psa. 25:4).

May the Lord and His teaching Spirit guide us into ALL of His wondrous ways!

Blessings and grace to you,

Peter McArthur The Issachar Ministry

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