Thistles Among Figs AsiaConference 2010

This got my attention. There are some shocking preachers speaking. Does anyone know if any of the other preachers among the thistles are figs?



Richard Bernal | Chang Mao-Song | Mark Conner | Jeff Crabtree | Ken Eldred | Kim Sung-Hae | Abraham Ku | Kevin Loo

Sidney Mohede | Peter Mortlock | Steve Munsey | George Ong | Christine Pringle | Jeffrey Rachmat

David Sumrall | Robb Thompson | Casey Treat | Beverley Wolmarans | Theo Wolmarans


Ang Yong-Guan | Bobby Chaw | Michael Choy | Jaslynn Khoo | Bernard Lim | Kenny Lo

Jill Lowe | Annabel Soh | Tan Seow-How | Tan Ye-Peng | Teo Poh-Heng | Eileen Toh

MARK CONNER (Australia)

Mark Conner is the Senior Minister of CityLife Church, a diverse community of Christ-followers meeting in multiple locations in Melbourne, Australia. Mark has a genuine love for people and a passion to help them grow and change. He has a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. Mark is married to Nicole and they have three young adult children.


Jeff Crabtree is a speaker, author, filmmaker and multi-award-winning songwriter and music producer. He has won four international awards for songwriting and more than 90 of his songs have been recorded and commercially released on 27 albums worldwide. He is an accomplished piano player and keyboardist, and has performed on 65 commercially released albums. Some of his works could be heard underscoring the 2000 Sydney Olympics and his music currently flies around the world on a major airline. For 16 years, he was the principal of Christian City Church’s School of Creative Arts where he designed and wrote its unique training programs. Crabtree also oversaw the accreditation of the college as a registered training organization in the VET sector by the NSW Government.

Since 1996 he has written or co-written the scripts for six theatrical productions that have played before a collective audience exceeding 30,000. As a consequence of all of his experience and research, he is currently co-authoring the book Living With A Creative Mind with his wife Julie.

KIM SUNG-HAE (South Korea)

Kim Sung-Hae is the president of Hansei University in Seoul, South Korea. She is the wife of David Yonggi Cho, the founder/senior pastor-emeritus of the 800,000-member Yoido Full Gospel Church, the largest Protestant church in the world. Kim has a doctoral degree in music and has studied theology. She is a professional music minister and utilizes her God-given talents and skills widely for the kingdom of God. She has composed many songs that are sung by Koreans worldwide, and is used mightily by the Lord for the preaching of the gospel.


Abraham Ku is the founder/senior pastor of New Life Church in Taipei, Taiwan. Under his leadership and influence, this church has grown to become a powerful influence in their society and community. NLC thrives in student campus ministry and is a positive testimony in the marketplace. Embracing the cultural mandate, Ku and his members have made inroads into the Taiwan entertainment industry and have seen many celebrities turning to Christ. Through the church’s many creative outreaches, NLC has seen phenomenal growth from 200 members in 2002 to nearly 3,000 attendees today.

KEVIN LOO (Malaysia)

Kevin Loo is the founder/senior pastor of City Harvest Church in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A graduate of the School of Theology (Singapore), he holds a Master of Theology from the University of Wales. Last year, in recognition of his contribution to the Malaysian society, Loo was awarded The Outstanding Young Person of Sabah (2009) in the moral and religious leadership category. In a short span of nine years, CHC KL has now grown from 20 youths to 1,800 weekly attendees. Loo is one of the most dynamic preachers in the Asian church scene today.


Sidney Mohede is the youth pastor in Jakarta Praise Community Church, and is widely regarded as one of the best worship leaders and songwriters in Asia today. He has shared the stage with popular Christian artists, such as, Delirious?, Reuben Morgan, Israel Houghton, Joel Houston and the Hillsong band. As the producer/creative manager in True Worshippers Productions, he has released several albums. Conversant in both English and Bahasa Indonesia, Mohede carries a passionate love for God and a tremendous desire to lead His people into the presence of God. His songs in both these languages have touched thousands all over Asia with heartfelt adoration to God.


Peter Mortlock is the senior pastor of City Impact Church in Auckland, New Zealand. Under his visionary leadership, the church he started with his wife Bev has over 3,500 people today, with locations in Queenstown, Invercargill, Gore, Balclutha and Canada. Together with the rest of his team, Mortlock has succeeded in building a church that is impacting the community. He is an inspiring speaker, and his passion for God is contagious. He uses every opportunity he has to share the difference that Jesus has made in his life and to help people build their lives upon the principles of God’s Word.


Steve Munsey is a pastor, author, director, producer, fund-raiser and church-growth expert. Together with his wife, Melodye, he leads the 12,000-member Family Christian Center (Munster, Indiana) along with their son, Kent. He has been featured in national magazines, newspapers and network television as a cutting-edge innovator, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ through many avenues. His influence is felt at national and international levels with his television program Yes, You Can! being seen across the USA and carried by short-wave radio throughout the world.

Munsey also wrote a Passion Drama called Jesus of Nazareth which has captivated many audiences, both local and international. One of his latest books, entitled Unleashing Your God-Given Dreams, is a highly motivational message presented in a style relative to readers of various ages and cultures. He also published two other books, Seven Blessings Of The Passover and Seven Blessings Of The Atonement, both well-received across the Christian community.

GEORGE ONG (Malaysia)

George Ong came to know the Lord in 1966, and was filled with the Holy Spirit in 1970. He entered full-time Christian ministry in 1977 and has pastored congregations in both Singapore and Malaysia. In the late 1990s, he founded Church of Singapore (Harvest) and Skudai Harvest Church (Johor, Malaysia). Today, these two congregations are growing rapidly. His passion for God and His people is evident as he preaches and trains church workers and leaders under a strong anointing. Ong is the founder/president of Harvest School of Ministry, a church-planting movement that has dozens of new generation churches strategically positioned throughout East and West Malaysia.


Christine Pringle is one of the most gifted and articulate communicators in our generation, and continues to be an inspiration to many people around her. She and her husband, Phil, co-pastor Christian City Church in Sydney, Australia, which is possibly one of the most creative and exciting churches in the world today. Affectionately likened to “bubbles in champagne” by her husband, Chris is a great delight to listen to in any meeting. Her zest for life and the energy she exudes are captivating and infectious as she shares with much openness, honesty and loads of hilarity.


Jeffrey Rachmat is the founder/senior pastor of the 7,000-member Jakarta Praise Community Church since 1999. He is a sought-after speaker and is constantly invited to teach in many seminars and conferences on topics such as leadership, relationship, marriage, and business. His passion in life is to impact the leaders of this generation as outlined in his first book, Permainan Cantik (The Art of Winning). It has been reprinted five times, and an English version has also been published.

DAVID SUMRALL (Philippines)

David Sumrall has been the senior pastor of Cathedral of Praise in Manila, Philippines, for 27 years. Dedicated to the study and teaching of sound biblical doctrines, he is highly respected among the Christian community around the world. Together with his wife Beverley and daughter Alisha, Sumrall serves God fervently in the Philippines and enjoys the privilege of seeing people grow and prosper in their walk with Him. Sumrall is a board member of Church Growth International.


Robb Thompson is the founder/president of Robb Thompson International, an innovative company that focuses on developing leaders and leadership skills. His character-centered leadership principles have impacted business owners and their employees world-wide. He is also president/CEO of Robb Thompson Foundation, an organization devoted to helping the less fortunate in the US and other countries. The depth of knowledge and understanding reflected in Robb’s teachings are the result of his practical experience gleaned over 25 years of effective ministry. He is widely known as one of the world’s leading teachers on personal excellence and character development, having trained and coached business executives and mentored government leaders, heads of state, cabinet members, and royalties in over 40 countries around the world. Author of more than 25 books and hundreds of personal development resources, Thompson speaks to millions of people across the earth each week through his televised broadcast The Issues Of Life.


Casey Treat is the senior pastor of Christian Faith Center, Seattle, Washington, a multicultural, nondenominational church. Today, CFC is the largest church in the Pacific Northwest, with two campuses (Federal Way and Mill Creek) and more than 10,000 weekly attendees. In addition, Treat’s media ministry Christian Faith International has a worldwide outreach. Treat is the founder/president of Vision College (formally known as Dominion College). He is also the founder of the Vision Conference, an annual leadership/spiritual life conference for pastors and leaders. He presides over Vision Ministries Fellowship and hosts his own television program called Living On Course. Treat is a successful author of many books and audio/video series, and is a board member of Church Growth International.


Together with her husband Theo, Beverley Wolmarans co-founded Christian Family Church International in September 1979, and has worked tirelessly alongside her husband in building this dynamic ministry. She is a popular speaker and an anointed preacher of the Word, often injecting a practical, down-to-earth approach in her messages. One of her deepest desires is to see women set free and be everything God planned and designed them to be. However, her greatest passion is to teach on prayer and encouraging others to pray. In her ministry around the world, Mrs. Wolmarans loves to pray for the sick and the oppressed and has seen many signs and miracles following. She is also actively involved in humanitarian work, particularly in Africa, visiting orphanages to spread the love and compassion of Jesus to those around her.


Theo Wolmarans is an anointed teacher who presents the Word of God with complete clarity and simplicity, bringing understanding to hearts and minds, and captivating listeners with his bold, dynamic style of delivering God’s Word. As a leading international minister and a board member on Church Growth International, Wolmarans is a much sought-after speaker throughout the world. Through his apostolic calling, he is responsible for the formation of many churches throughout Africa and various parts of the world, including the US. Together with his wife, Beverley, he founded Christian Family Church International in Johannesburg, which is one of the largest churches in South Africa.


Ang Yong-Guan graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1979 with a medical degree. He did his post-graduate training in psychiatry at the University of Edinburgh from 1984 to 1986. Upon his return from Edinburgh, he served as a psychiatrist with the Singapore Armed Forces for 17 years from 1986 to 2003. He retired as a Colonel, holding the appointment as the head of Psychological Medicine Branch (currently known as Psychological Care Centre) at the Military Medicine Institute, HQMC.

Ang was the president of Singapore Psychiatric Association (1997-1998), chairman of the Chapter of Psychiatrists, Academy of Medicine (2001- 2003), founder/chairman of Action Group for Mental Illness (since 2004), member of National Council on Problem Gambling (since 2005), and member of Clinical Advisory Committee for Chronic Disease Management Programme (since 2009). He was awarded the Public Service Medal in 1995 for community work, and the Public Administration Medal in 1996 for military services.

He is currently in private practice at Paragon Medical. He is also a Visiting Consultant to the Institute of Mental Health and Woodbridge Hospital. His special clinical interests include stress-related disorders, psychosis, mood disorders, anxiety and personality disorders.


Bobby Chaw received Christ in CHC back in 1989. As a young believer, Chaw’s love for the Word of God and his heart for world missions grew deeper over time. This gradually defined a large part of his full-time ministry in the church. Upon graduation from the National University of Singapore in 1997 and Bible school in 1999, Chaw started working for CHC, conducting Bible study classes as well as cell group leadership training sessions in the church. Today, Chaw is the dean of SOT, overseeing the operational aspects of the Bible schools in Singapore and other Asian countries. Since entering full-time ministry, Bobby is involved in missions work and travels frequently to countries in Asia. He is the chairman of the missions committee in CHC and has ministered in 13 nations around the world. He has one more semester to complete his Master of Divinity at Trinity Theological College.


Michael Choy sits on the Learning Styles International Board based in St. John’s University, New York. He is a certified learning styles consultant and has trained more than 4,500 teachers and 1,000 parents personally, in addition to the 30,000 students trained by him and his team. He has addressed undergraduates and lecturers at the Beijing University and on the Shandong Educational TV Network. Prior to him setting up Active Intelligence Consultancy, Michael was a psychologist with the Ministry of Education. His experience in working with students spans different countries and age groups. Besides his work as a trainer, Choy has also written numerous articles and books on children’s development and learning. He was awarded Associate of Teachers Network, and nominated for Spirit of Enterprise 2006 Award. He has published articles on MOE Contact Online, Harvest Times, and Teenage magazines. He lectures at conferences around the Asia-Pacific region.


Jaslynn Khoo graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications. Before entering the full-time ministry, she was an associate producer in MediaCorp for five years, producing entertainment and infotainment programs for Channel 8, such as, Star Search, NKF Charity Show, President’s Star Charity, and National Day Parade celebrations. She has an associate diploma from Trinity College (London) and a diploma in acting and theatercraft from the School of Creative Arts (Singapore). For the past nine years, Khoo has headed the drama ministry in CHC together with Sandy Yeo, directing and producing all the drama performances and musicals in the church. She has also acted in several of these productions and was actively involved in bringing these dramas to Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia.


Bernard Lim (CFP®, CFEd®, FSWW) is the president of Wealth College™ (a division of Wealth Hub). He has 20 years of experience as a financial practitioner and has been instrumental in developing and delivering highly-quality, finance-related courses in the region. His recent public financial education program, L.i.F.E.™ (Living in Financial Excellence) has drawn raved reviews around the world. Lim was the first Asian to be awarded the Certified Financial Educator®. He is also a Fellow of the Society of Will Writers & Estate Planning Practitioners (UK). In 2007, he was invited to be the first Asian focus session speaker on estate planning at the world’s premier financial services association meeting—the Million Dollar Round Table in Denver, Colorado.

Lim regularly contributes articles on the subject of estate planning for the Asian Wall Street Journal. He has written two books, Seeds Of Godliness: Thoughts On Biblical Parenting and The Oil That Never Runs Dry: Discovering Your Most Valued Resource In Times Of Crisis. Recently, he appeared in the popular Money & You series on Malaysian network TV7. He has also lectured at the Law Society, ICPAS, IFPAS, FPAS, IBF, and many overseas meetings.


Kenny Low is the founder of two social enterprises in Singapore, City College and O School. For his vision and businesses that seek to fill social gaps, Low was presented with the SIP-Schwab Foundation’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2007. In the same year, he was also the first runner-up for the DHL Young Entrepreneur for Sustainability Award. Low is often invited to share about social innovation and his personal experiences to both local and international audiences. He has spoken at tertiary institutions and conventions in Singapore, China and South Korea.


Jill Lowe is the founder/chief image consultant of Jill Lowe International, an award-winning image mastery consultancy established in 1985. Its mission is to provide premium personal and corporate image services, people profiling, communication skills, visual and verbal intelligence mastery, etc. Lowe acquired her professional certification in cosmetology in Hong Kong and the UK in 1983. In 1984, she worked with Color Me Beautiful Inc. and Always In Style Inc., two leading image specialists in the USA. JLI was launched in 1985 and the company went on to win the Gold Award in Service Excellence by American Express (1993 to 1994). Lowe is recognized by the Association of Image Consultants International and appointed as a president of liaison for South East Asia. She has also attained the platinum award for Best Performing Color Me Beautiful Consultants Worldwide consecutively from 1991 to 1999.


Annabel Soh grew up in CHC and started singing at the age of 15. She was in the first batch of graduating students in the School of Theology in 1994. In 1996, Soh started to serve as a full-time church staff. She spent two more years in the School of Creative Arts (Singapore), majoring in vocals and worship leading. She was involved in a series of music concerts in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia and Taiwan. Soh also received vocal training in New York under top vocal coach Wendy Parr, a certified Level 5 IMT Speech Level Singing™ Instructor. Apart from singing on CHC’s worship albums, Soh has also performed in front of the President of Singapore and has sung in secular movie soundtracks.


Tan Seow-How is a visionary, pastor, leader, teacher and businessman, all rolled into one.

In 1999, together with his wife, Cecilia, he founded Heart of God Church with 3 other members. Now in 2010, this vibrant church is home to more than 1,600 members; most of whom are under 25 years old.

How’s vision is to raise up a generation of believers who are willing to give God the best years of their lives, having lived it out personally. He gave up the lucrative prospects of taking over his family’s multimillion-dollar business and chose to heed God’s call to become a pastor. 13 years later, it has come a full circle and How has taken over the reins of the business, building it up to become a major South-East Asian distributor of branded home audio products, such as, Sonos and Klipsch.


Tan Ye-Peng is one of the founding members of City Harvest Church (CHC), Singapore. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Comp. Sc.) from the National University of Singapore in January 1997. He also graduated in December 1997 with a Diploma in Advanced Theology. Tan is currently the Deputy Senior Pastor of CHC as well as the head of the Chinese Church department in CHC. As such, he is very fluent in both English and Mandarin, ministering the Word of God effectively in the English and Chinese congregations. He also lectures regularly in CHC’s School of Theology, teaches church-wide Bible study classes and conducts leadership training courses for the Cell Group Leaders in CHC.

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Teo Poh-Heng is one of the founding members in CHC who started the church together with Kong Hee. As one of the early members, Teo has served in the music ministry as a guitarist and worship leader and continues to song lead today. He graduated in 1996 from the Yamaha Music Academy and from Sydney’s School of Creative Arts in 2001, majoring in songwriting and worship leading. He has been a contributing songwriter, singer and musician in more than 12 albums in his 15 years as a professional musician. He has helped to train many worship leaders, music directors and worship bands in Asia. Apart from the church ministry, Teo was also musically involved in two movies: Gone Shopping (Singapore) and Rule No. 1 (foreign). His guitar work can also be heard on the commercial for U Are U Shampoo in China.


Eileen Toh pastors one of the fastest growing children’s ministries in South East Asia. Toh and her team run dynamic, fun-filled children’s church services and nursery playgroups with attendances ranging from 2,000 to 10,000. Her strong conviction that children are future leaders has enabled her to work tirelessly to produce her own curriculum, which introduces positive stories with good role models and moral values to young minds. Toh is dedicated to helping children achieve their individual dreams and fulfill their highest potential.

8 thoughts on “Thistles Among Figs AsiaConference 2010

  1. I don’t think Church Growth International is exclusively AOG. It’s probably far bigger, in Asian and international terms, than the New Apostolic Reformation grouping already, and has almost certainly embraced most of what you would find controversial about NAR long ago, since Dr Cho is one of the movers and shakers.

    It’s an association which gathers successful ministries to give information and encouragement to others in developing a stronger and more effective Church, focusing on local churches and ministries. There are several groups of this kind, and it demonstrates that the Body is not diminishing, but gathering momentum.

    Nothing new or startling here.

  2. Of course, if one was at all cynical, one could say that listing a vast swag of well-known ministries like this could be very useful, because it adds to the number of tags listed at the end of the post, which could generate increased traffic to the site.

    Kind of like using the things you loathe the most because they’re successful, to bring success to your own enterprise which criticises them.

    Still, that would be a cynical view.

  3. Sorry. I started working on that post last month and didn’t realise how naive that beginning blurb sounded. I’ve removed it.

    I would say a thistle is a minister like Steve Munsey. In tagging all the other names, I’ve never heard of them before.

    My motive was to see who actually comes to Signposts02 from South East Asia to inform us about some of our Asian brothers and the things they teach. I would like to know if either they are thistles or figs.

    I’d like to personally know. I don’t know who’s bad or who’s good. I think it would be good for Signposts02 to see what is happening in the developing church in Asia and how that may affect the church of Asutralia.

    You do have a cynical view. I don’t mind. I just explained my motive. You can either accept that or reject that. I’ve heard some fantastic preachers from Asia and am hoping some are in the above article because I would love to hear some of their sermons.

  4. I am not sure how helpful just getting an unknown person’s opinion is. Really, you need to get hold of some teaching from those you are interested in. Also, it is not clear what the conference is about.

    I don’t think its possible for anyone to identify every good or bad speaker around. There are bound to be a mixture.

    Knowing the difference between good and bad teaching is probably more profitable, so that its easy to recognise whatever you are confronted with at the time. Also, some teachers have good teaching in one area, yet we’d disagree with them in others.

    Trying to be completely black and white won’t necessarily work. Dividing the world into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ creates evil despite good intentions.

    Mark Conner would have a pretty respectable degree, from Fullers Seminary. It’s pretty awful to tar him with Steve Munsey’s methods. Don’t know much about the others.

  5. Well I didn’t know about Yonngi Cho founding this event. I’m getting myself into too much so am having trouble knowing what to look into. Any information on what these speakers are like would be great.

    And by the way, I didn’t tar him with Steve Munsey. It’s obviously he’s a thistle. They are all speaking at the same event. I grabbed the information the way it was.

    I would also like to know what the Conference is about. I’ve heard some fantastic young asian men who preach a solid gospel theology. I’m hoping some of them are in the above profiles.

  6. @RP, “Mark Conner would have a pretty respectable degree, from Fullers Seminary.”

    I am really worried now when ever I hear someone is a graduate from Fullers Seminary. I’m investigating a lot that has gone behind the scenes there. Not sure how to take it in. I’ll post on this later maybe when I do a bit more digging. That’s been a three year investigation and what type of teacher, leader, prophet or apostle are coming out of them.

    But I do like Mark Conner and the things he writes. I have no problem with him.

  7. Gosh, man, why bother with it all? These things will go on, and they’re huge. As soon as one ends another will begin. You can’t stop this. It’s gathering momentum. Why are you asking people to tell if so and so is OK? Who are you going to believe anyway? Stick to what you do know, and leave what you don’t.

    Spend some time looking at the people you really trust, and get some good spiritual food into you. Who spends their life deliberately chasing controversy and error? Is that actually scriptural?

    Surely if it’s out there it will find you, and then you can be a good Berean, and test it against scripture. Why seek it out. Waste of time, and totally bad for the heart.

    ‘See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.’

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