What Is Presbytery?

We've had presbytery services at Gateway from the very beginning, and it’s one of my favorite times of the year! The word presbytery comes from the Greek word presbuterion, which means body of elders. This is why we bring in a group of elders (pastors and teachers) from both inside and outside of Gateway to speak prophetic words to individuals and couples. The purpose of a prophecy is to encourage and edify people, not to embarrass people or call them out on past sins.

In 1983, Debbie and I attended our first presbytery service with Pastor Olen Griffing at Shady Grove Church, which is now our Grand Prairie Campus. Pastor Olen asked me to stand up and the ministers, none of whom knew us, began speaking prophetic words about me and my life. One of the things they said was, “You will do presbyteries and prophesy over people.” And within just a few years, God began using me to speak prophetic words that were so accurate and specific I could hardly believe it! Now, nearly 35 years later, many of the things I’m doing in ministry were prophesied over me that very day.

Here are a few other things you need to know about presbytery.

1. It’s God speaking.
God speaks through prophecy. I’ve seen many people give their lives to the Lord, and I’ve seen others turn their lives around based on a prophetic word spoken during a presbytery service.

2. It’s an impartation.
When God wants something, He speaks. It’s how He created the earth and everything in it. So when He wants you to do something, He’s going to speak it, or in other words, He’s going to impart it to you. Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:14, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.”

3. It’s team ministry.
It’s not just one person giving all the words—it’s a team of ministers who have spent a good deal of time praying in advance for the individuals going through presbytery, and they’ll often write down the words God gives them. 1 Corinthians 14:29 says, “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.” There’s accountability when prophetic ministry is done in a team. The most accurate prophetic words I’ve heard have come through presbytery because God is speaking to multiple people. And it’s incredible to hear when the words coming from different people are similar. It’s confirmation the word truly came from the Lord.

It’s amazing what happens when God speaks to us! While I encourage everyone at Gateway to attend our presbytery services, I want you to know you can hear God’s voice in your own quiet time—just you and your Bible. You may need God to speak to a certain area of your life right now. If so, simply ask Him for a word and listen for Him to speak. It could change your life!

 

Gateway's Presbytery Services are August 12–15. To learn more, visit presbytery.gatewaypeople.com.

Have a difficult question? Email askapastor@gatewaypeople.com, and look for your answer in a future issue of Gateway Life.