Cath – tell us a bit about yourself:
I live in Sheffield and have been involved in prophetic ministry for over 15 years. For the last 10 years, I have overseen the prophetic ministry here at St Thomas’ Church, which has involved things like teaching, mentoring, leading ministry sessions, and leading a prophetic counsel to serve the church.
Over the last few years I have worked a lot more with other churches that have wanted to learn what we have developed here and how they can embrace this kind of culture too. That’s involved developing various forms of training, coaching and resourcing, which I have done as part of the 3DM Europe team here.
My vision has always been to make prophecy normal and accessible to everyone. There are lots of perspectives on what prophecy is, but in its simplest form I would say prophecy is hearing God speak and being able to repeat what He says, communicating the heart, mind and intention of God. That’s what I am passionate about training individuals and churches to do.
So, where’s this book come from?
I’ve always had a heart to help other people grow in being able to hearing God’s voice and use the gift of prophecy. I believe in the 5-fold ministry of Ephesians 4 and as someone who would see themselves as a “prophet”, I believe that one of the key roles of the prophets is very much about helping other people learn how to hear God for themselves. So if I can do it, I am going to make sure as many other people as possible can too!
My journey with learning to hear God’s voice has been an interesting one. I wouldn’t see myself as a ‘born natural’. I know of many people who have grown up naturally being able to hear God speak to them in various ways from a very young age, which is brilliant. But I believe they are in the minority! In my experience, for the majority Christians it’s much more of a journey and a process to learn to do this. That’s certainly been my personal story. It’s something I have actively and intentionally gone after – and haven’t just waited for “it” to happen. I’ve read lots of books, been to conferences, prayed for God to teach me and generally used lots of ways to pursue the gift of prophecy. So because I have been on this journey, I know what that experience is like for the majority of us. I think this has really enabled me to help and teach others who are struggling to hear God speak. If I’m honest, I think it can sometimes be much harder for people who really easily hear God’s voice to teach others, as it’s not a skill they have had to learn in the same way.
From your perspective, what would some of the aims of the book be?
We are all about making prophecy accessible (its in the name!) so I really wanted to unpack the process of what it actually looks like for someone to hear God. I make the point in the book that the bible is full of stories about God speaking to people, but it doesn’t really tell you much of HOW that actually happened. Was it an audible voice? Was it internal? I think hearing stories from ordinary people about how they hear God is always helpful, so there are lots of these in the book too.
This is aimed at people and churches who would like to be open to the prophetic, but are perhaps looking for a few tips and some practical teaching on what it looks like in the life of a disciple on a day to day basis to use this gift. I think that in the past, there have been some expressions of the gift of prophecy that have come wrapped up in unhelpful packaging! This has led at points to bad experiences and consequently an unhelpful reputation, as it can become associated with things like unaccountable, lone ranger style prophets hopping from church to church speaking judgement over people. I have seen that kind of thing go on myself and it’s awful, which is why having the context of community and discipleship is so key to ground all of this and allow it to edify the body in the way that God intended. I feel it’s important not to allow our bad experiences of particular practices to create a fear that stops us from reading the scriptures and learning about the way that the Holy Spirit was always intended to operate within the church. My prayer is that through this book I am able to offer something on this amazing gift of prophecy God has given us in a way that people can easily take hold of.
In addition, one of the clear themes throughout the book is community – that we hear God together and we weigh things together. Prophecy doesn’t happen in an isolated vacuum, rather its part of community life as disciples go on a journey together. I have read so many good books on prophecy, but lots of them are generally focussed on how I as an individual can learn to hear God better for myself. I don’t believe you can practice the gift of prophecy healthily outside of community. The strategic part of my book is working through the questions “How can we hear God together and how can we grow this culture together?” I explore some practical ways to do this.
How does this book relate to the 3DM movement?
As I have worked with 3DM much more closely over the
recent years, its been
a huge opportunity to reflect on what God has taught me in the area of prophecy through the lenses of discipleship and mission. This journey is reflected in the book and much of the perspective I write from is one of missional discipleship. So my hope is that anyone who is generally interested in the prophetic would be able to pick up this book and find it helpful, but also people who are already familiar with the DNA of missional discipleship will find it uses much of the same language. For example, one of the questions I look at is “how do you really thrive as a prophet?” The way I approach the answer to this question is by using the Triangle from Lifeshapes and explore how this tool can be specifically applied to the life of someone who is “prophet shaped” and the particular nuances that may have.
One of the key questions the whole ministry of Accessible Prophecy seeks to help people answer is: “How can we grow a healthy, biblical prophetic culture that both resources discipleship and empowers mission?”
In this movement we are part of, we know that discipleship is all about asking “what is God saying to me?” and “what am I going to do about it?” So teaching people how to hear God is a key part of discipleship! In addition, God is by nature a missional God, so if we are hearing his heart and responding to his voice, then we will find ourselves being sent out on the mission field. So resourcing discipleship and empowering mission are two strong themes of the book.
Lastly, what would your hopes be for someone who picks up a copy of this book?
There would probably be two things: Firstly – there is just joy in hearing the voice of the Father. Knowing as a disciples that your heavenly Father is speaking directly to you and that you can hear the Shepherd’s voice is something I would want for everyone and its why I have worked so hard over the years to equip people to do this as much as I can. My book is an expression of this.
Secondly – I would love this to help people explore how they can become a church that embraces the prophetic. To me this kind of church is a place where people are confident in hearing God for themselves and there is a sense of individual and cooperate vision, inspired by hearing God together. But it’s also a place where the gift of prophecy is taken out in to the world and God’s word is released to others.
If you would like more info on the book or to pre-order a copy, you can visit 3dmpublishinguk.com today.