The word used for "prophecies" is more about forth-telling than it is about foretelling. In other words, it refers to preaching not predicting.
Many things in the church have changed over the generations but thankfully, preaching remains central in churches. The Word is the life-blood of any healthy church. Those who are fortunate enough to be called to preach the Word should devote themselves to prayer and study to assure they do it as well as they can.
It has been my great joy to preach and teach the Word for 44 years now. I would be thrilled to have another 44 years to do it!
I want to establish my high regard for preaching the Word before I move on in this article.
Now, for some context and perspective. The Corinthian church had one of the greatest preachers ever in the Apostle Paul but it was an extremely unhealthy church. They also had another dynamic preacher named Apollos!
So, as important as preaching is, building a church solely on the foundation of preaching is not the best way to build. I know that sounds contradictory so let me explain.
As evidenced in the Corinthian Church, preaching easily becomes intricately identified with the preacher and over time his persona and personality can steal the church's focus.
When that happens, the church begins to become unhealthy.
One church that comes to mind is the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. For forty years this church prospered in the shadow of Hollywood and Disneyland under the preaching and promotion skills of Dr. Robert Schuller. His engaging personality and positive self-help sermons were featured on a weekly television show "The Hour of Power!". Using the world-wide platform of television and a score of best-selling books He leveraged his popularity to build an amazing architectural marvel known as "The Crystal Cathedral".
But, unfortunately, as age took a toll on his energy, his mental sharpness, and his judgment, he was unable to maintain the level of performance needed to sustain the momentum. For all his success he had failed to raise up a successor. The ministry went bankrupt and the building was purchased by the Catholic Diocese.
This story is a high profile example but by no means an isolated case. It serves as a sad reminder that while it is important to build a church around Biblical preaching the leadership should be very careful not to allow it to be built around the preacher.
Preachers can fail. Preachers come and go. Churches that build primarily around a preacher will ultimately fail. "Love never fails!"