Building Prophetic Community: Diversity in Expression—Unity in Purpose
Paul David Guidry's picture

Ephesians 4:14-16 (New Living Translation) Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

A key element to being a vital part of this thing we call The Body of Christ is understanding the diversity in which “every joint supplies”. We have essential truths that we agree on but our expressions of those truths tend to vary based on the filters of our giftings and callings in Christ. These are good filters that feed the purpose of the Body which is the Church.  The vitality of kingdom, prophetic, Christ centered community is not based on agreement of expression. The vitality of community is codified when love and acceptance of diversity, in expressions of foundational truths of faith in Jesus, is displayed.

We have a problem when we decide our way of doing things is the only way God moves in His Church. It is unreasonable to think that people whose primary gifting and function is that of an evangelist, will have the same expression of faith in operation as someone whose primary gifting and function is prophetic. And then even that which is within the prophetic will have a variety of of expressions.

I loved watching the World Cup in soccer this summer. It is a team sport with many positions that serve specific functions. The primary purpose of a striker is to score goals. The primary purpose of a goalie is to keep the other team from scoring. The common goal of the team is to score more goals than the opponent. Yet each player has a different purpose and skill set that uniquely qualifies them to help the team reach the common goal. At any point in time, a player may need to temporarily lay down the “identity” of their position in order to properly support the common goal of the team. Sometimes a striker, whose primary purpose is to score goals, must rotate back and make defense his primary purpose for a set period of time as the needs of the team dictate. In the same way, a defender may need to rotate forward and have his eye on the ball with the purpose of scoring. Many positions. Many parts. A well balanced team has one common goal that supersedes the identity of the individual.

I remember sitting in a meeting with a prophetic teacher named Jim Driscoll years ago. He said one thing that I will never forget: Don’t have a “thing.” A problem will arise when we decide that our “thing” (the way our gifting seems to uniquely work in a season of time) is the thing that defines our gift. The problem gets worse if we allow that gifting to define us. Whatever your “thing” is, rest assured it is not THE thing by which all people similarly gifted must operate.

Let Jesus be your “thing”. Then He will manifest Himself in and through you however He sees fit at any particular moment—if you are willing. Don’t let your gift define you. When you allow your identity to be rooted in Jesus and not your gifting you will never be thrown when people don’t acknowledge or honor your gift or role in the kingdom. You will be satisfied in Him and won’t be grasping for something that may just be a bit out of your reach in that moment. When your identity is secure in Jesus then you won’t be swayed or disturbed by the differing methods and expressions that others display in their giftings and callings.
God is infinite in nature. His heart is expressing the infinite range of His thoughts, His will and His emotions in every instance of time. It takes an entire body of people with diverse giftings, personalities and expressions of the truth of abundant life in Jesus to even begin to represent a fraction of the nature of His infinite heart.

When we truly begin to understand that there are many parts to this Church that will express themselves in unique ways to propel the Body forward as a whole, we have the underpinnings necessary to build a solid prophetic community. Many parts with one common value and one common goal: love.

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