Friday, 26 February 2016


Going gaga over prominent visiting speakers has its dangers

“Come on, this renowned prophet or apostle is in town. Let’s go and attend his seminar.”

Surely, many a church member must have been encouraged by their leaders and friends to attend meetings where highly sought-after personalities minister.

One of the notable characteristics of modern-day churches is the tendency to look for the next big wave. Almost like surfers on their summer holidays, we feel the excitement in the air when a celebrity minister comes to town.

It makes me wonder whether we are the spiritual counterpart of thrill-seeking adrenaline junkies.

Why do we run after all these big-time conferences? Perhaps we think that we will benefit from periodic, intermittent “spiritual injections”. We hope their teaching will fire us up when our zeal flags. Could they have an impartation from God, through the laying on of hands, to awaken us from our spiritual doldrums? Can we get a revelation of God’s special calling for our lives? Do they have a word of knowledge that offers insight and encouragement to us as we face life challenges?

While such conferences may have their merits, we need to observe certain precautions and understand the limitations of “chronic overdependence” on prominent visiting speakers.

Firstly, attendance at such events must not supersede or replace our personal devotion with God.

Secondly, it is our consistency in seeking God, not intermittent spurts of fervour that really bring about lasting and deep transformation in us—with far-reaching impact on others.

Thirdly, God primarily reveals to us His plans when we set aside time to seek Him. We can hear his voice because we are His sheep (John 10:27). And because we have direct access to God, we can come into His presence at our own designated time and place—not only when we attend a special meeting (Hebrews 4:16).

Fourthly, if we have been spiritually dry, we need to examine our life for causes like unrepentant sin. Excitement and revelation at special meetings can never undo the ravaging effects of personal sin.

Fifthly, we must not view such meetings as a “fast track” way to launch us into ministry success. An anointed minister may grant us encouragement and confirmation of our calling. But this should not supersede or replace what God has personally revealed to us. God often speaks to us over a period of time in a still small voice as to what He wants us to do in order to glorify Him. Could there be an impatient streak in us as we run after such meetings?

It is better to be like the unnamed men of Issacharwho understood the times and seasons, and knew what God had called them to do (1 Chronicles 12:32)than aspire to be “instant” apostles, prophets and miracle workers by attending such special meetings.

Next, we should look into the credibility aspects of the ministers or ministries.

Some of these ministries may be hyped-up—with all the glitz, glitter, music and showmanship—but lacking in substance while others may be peddling the gospel for selfish gain.

Have we looked into their doctrine and statement of faith?

Have they overemphasised signs and wonders, and downplayed doctrine and faithfulness to the Word?

We need to be wary of ministries that aim to churn out, “assembly line style”, prophets and apostles as God’s calling for each believer is distinctive and unique. There is no ‘one size fits all’ calling for believers. Not every believer is called to be a high-profile minister. Some operate in quieter gifts while others function as workplace beacons. Let God be sovereign as He apportions his gifts to whoever He wills and empowers us to fulfill our calling (1 Corinthians 12:11).

The background of visiting speakers needs to be checked. We are already familiar with ministers who have fallen from grace. Some have quickly gone back to minister without a significant period set aside for genuine restoration and repentance. Surely, we cannot expect to get any credible impartation or blessing from God through them.

Yet, the days of celebrity ministers and their ministries are certainly not over. As we sit at the feet of great men of God, we may well receive God’s special anointing and encouragement.

However, before attending such events, we should be wary of its benefits and limitations, its pros and cons. We also need to be armed with wisdom and discernment in order to “test everything”.


Test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
(1 Thessalonians 5:21-22)

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
(1 John 4:1)

So are you still running after big names? Think again … at least for the above reasons. We have to test and discern whether this or that big name is sound and credible before attending his conference. Also, do not idolise him but let our focus be on God as no one, no matter how great, is infallible or exempt from moral failures


Would you follow a leader who performs miracles (such as genuine healing) but whose theology is unsound and source of power is questionable? Would you follow him because he is a big name and has many followers going after him?

Unaware that there are counterfeits in the spiritual realm, some believers pursue supernatural experiences. After all, they want to feel good—and discover what it is like to be zapped by power.

We must never judge the validity of a premise solely based on a teacher’s fame, popularity, credentials or the fact he has written many books. Each premise has to be tested against the infallible and objective Word without any preconceived ideas on our part. We cannot say to ourselves or others, “Coming from this great man of God, it must be right.”

A prominent leader teaches that Jesus operated only as a man and not God during His earthly ministry. But did Jesus set aside His divinity when He came down to earth?


“I see more of a hunger in the prophetic movement to obtain power than to walk in intimacy. I see more of a desire to live under the anointing than to demonstrate Christlike character. I see more of an appetite to publicly prophesy over thousands than to privately pray to the Father in heaven. I see more of an obsession to chase after someone else’s prophetic mantle than to giving our time to discovering our own unique divine design given by the Father alone. I see more of an urge to chase gold dust, feathers and angels than to encounter the person of Jesus Christ.”

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