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Five Signs Your Church Is Being Run by a Bad Motivational Speaker

Cheryl is a poet, freelance writer, author, and former newspaper columnist. She has degrees in Psychology and Biblical studies


1.Does not lead to salvation

It is common today for pastors to be Jacks of all trades and wearing many hats. Facebook profiles often show that pastors also list themselves as mentors, life coaches, motivators, and encouragers. Once upon a time, preachers preached the gospel of salvation, only. Motivational speakers would encourage people to pursue their dreams, goals, and a happy financially lucrative lifestyle. Pastors used to tell parishioners to be humble servants and please Jesus Christ, but now there is an attempt to be all things to all people. Lines have been blurred and it’s important to know what you should look for in a man or woman who says they are preaching the gospel of Christ. There are tremendous differences between "motivational speaking" and "biblical preaching." and you should know the difference. The first one is that motivating people inside church buildings do not lead to the salvation of souls. Talking for an hour about things that encourage the listener, does not lead to repentance of sin. Even if at the end of the service there is a call to come forward to give one's life to Christ, there has been nothing in the message that explains the sacrifice on the cross. Someone may go forward and go through the motions, but later may have doubts and change their mind. This is a serious matter because people will die and go to hell unless the gospel is presented properly.

Luke 1:77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins.

2. Emphasis on the flesh and not the spirit

In America today, many churches have leaders who leave congregants “uplifted, motivated, and encouraged" in their emotions. They also say things to build self-esteem. Preachers should help believers build their identity in Christ through Spiritual growth with the Holy Spirit. The main goal of a gospel preacher is leading souls to Christ and teaching them to live for him.

Motivational speakers tell a lot of stories that make you laugh and seek to sway your opinions through emotion and pop sugar psychology. Some preachers use stories, in their sermons but the focus should be on the Bible and the biggest influence should always be the Holy Spirit. Motivational speakers who masquerade as Gospel preachers may sometimes use a few Bible verses for good measure. True Biblical preachers rely totally upon the Word of the Lord to feed His sheep. There is enough information in scriptures that a Holy Ghost inspired preacher won’t need to draw from other sources all the time.

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.

3. Addressing sin

Motivational speakers give the impression that winning is the goal. They almost never speak of things which might offend anyone in their audience. The focus is to be positive and not speak negative and expect great things from this life. Biblical preachers are to proclaim God's Word in love but sin has to be addressed. Preachers who never address sin and repentance and only say what makes you feel good are doing a disservice to those who sit in the pews. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

Motivators who pretend they have been called by God spend a lot of time telling parishioners how great they are rather than teaching that they should be humble servants of Christ. They have married couples calling each other kings and queens and often thinking more highly of themselves. Never addressing sin and causing people to get a big head leads to trouble. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 4:10.

5. Pep rally services

Rah, rah, rah, sis boom bah, yeah team! When every week you are being coached and encouraged to have team spirit and being motivated from the pulpit, beware. Are you being told to turn to your neighbor and say their future is so bright they need shades? Perhaps you are asked to slap your neighbor a high five or grab their hand and run around the church. Maybe you read confessions from a big screen or your pastor leads the congregation in financial declarations prior to the offering. These antics will not make the Lord answer your prayers and they do not replace personal faith. They do encourage and motivate you to be in a mode of excitement and expectancy for all those promised blessings that never come. Those who truly are shepherds after His heart will not manipulate or misinform you. Jeremiah 3:15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

4. Earth versus heaven

Life coaches who say they are preachers are almost always those who also teach the false health and wealth doctrine. They spend more time talking about how to enjoy life in this world than discuss everlasting life. They twist scripture to attempt to validate their point that you are destined for greatness in this life.

I John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

I John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Cheryl E Preston


OLUSEGUN from NIGERIA on March 06, 2020:

Cheryl E Preston, it is quite appalling that this kind of message has enveloped many of the churches today, it is verily disturbing to some of us who are spiritually conscious.

Wonderful article that gingers my mind to remember how i have started and not miss the focus for many there be that follow multitudes today to do evil and pervert the gospel.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 05, 2020:

I have heard pastor with some of these issues but fortunately my church has a pastor that does not do any of these things you listed. It is a shame when pastors are not led by the scriptures. i know some of the behaviors you listed certainly occur unfortunately.

Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on March 05, 2020:

Thank you

Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on March 05, 2020:

Me either Margaret.

Margaret Minnicks from Richmond, VA on March 05, 2020:

Cheryl, you cited a lot of sound information. I especially like what you said about pep rally services. You are exactly right. I don't like that part of the service at all.

Lorna Lamon on March 05, 2020:

I once attended a Pentecostal service in Ireland and it was certainly very motivational. However, it did feel more like a rally than a church service. I think there is a place for motivational speakers in other walks of life. Your articles always make me think Cheryl.

manatita44 from london on March 05, 2020:

I am an optimist as God Itself is an optimist

But yes, your article reminds us that himanuty has lost its way.

These guys tell us how to be rich or find love. They have sussed our weaknesses. Not their fault. Are we interested in eternal life?

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