When I was in high school, I made a poster and hung it in my bedroom that said “Men love Profits, not Prophets.” Over the years, I have found that to be true. You rarely find a prophetic person on the staff of a church; they’re too dangerous.
Well, it appears I am not the only one to notice this, because the Christianity Today blog, Out of Ur, has a very nice post asking Where have all the prophets gone? He has three points—he must have gone to seminary :) Here’s the second one:
Church structures are unsafe for prophets:
A prophet by definition is going to disturb the status quo, make people uncomfortable, and rock the boat. But when a pastor with a prophetic function is completely dependant upon the congregation for his/her livelihood it creates a conflict of interests
Why? Because the prophet may tell them that their method of obtaining profits is wrong! Nobody likes to be told they are wrong, it is part of that whole Genesis 3 thing. People especially don’t like to be told they are wrong by someone whom they are paying. After all, we are paying them; shouldn’t we be able to dictate what we are hearing? (I just had this flashback to the scene in the movie Pollyanna, where the woman sends Pollyanna with a message to the preacher about what to preach that coming Sunday).
Of course, this is nothing new; Timothy was warned about it way back in the New Testament.
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5 RSV
The other two points are also well worth considering:
1. Seminaries are not training prophets
I question whether a prophet can be trained, after all it appears to be a gift of the Holy Spirit, but nonetheless, seminary training should contain classes that show people how to question the status quo
3. Ministries evaluate size not depth
This is one of my big soap box items, but I’ll not expound on it this time!