I spent a whole morning this week on a delightful task, updating the speaking calendar on my website! It felt like sunshine… like lemonade on a hot day… like a fresh start!
It’s been a full year since I’ve needed to do that task. Like you’ve experienced too, it’s been a trying year of scheduling, rescheduling, and cancellations of upcoming speaking events. But next year will be brimming with events filled with excited attendees who can’t wait to be together again.
There’s nothing as exhilarating as a do-over, and planning for the speaking season ahead feels like a true re-start. Our Proverbs 31 Ministries Speaker Team was presented with two questions in a call that I want to pass on to you. These questions give us a head-start on a fresh start! Before we head into a new season, let’s evaluate the messages that are listed on our biosheets and/or websites.
What old messages are past their prime and need to be retired for a fresh start?
It’s easy to default to our tried-and-true messages, but each year we need to prayerfully consider what we’ll deliver to audiences. If we want to bring the best that God has given us to our listeners, then we need to retire messages when:
- We no longer feel a fire about the topic. For instance, mentoring and the generations were once my top-of-the-list topics. Those are still important places for focus, but now I believe they belong to someone else. God has shifted my heart in new directions.
- The stories are dated and far in the distance of our rearview mirror. (Sometimes messages can be refreshed with new stories like I talked about here, but sometimes tired is just tired.)
- The topic isn’t a current felt need in our culture. Scripture is timeless, certainly, but topics seem to have trends. For example, I’ve taught on comparison, but that topic feels like it’s been covered thoroughly (and really well by authors like my friend Shannon Popkin!). I’ve got one session in a retreat where I still talk about comparison, but the rest of my comparison messages are being retired.
Pray-cess through your list of messages and ask the Lord, “Which of these messages need to be retired?”
What new messages need to be written for a fresh start?
I’ve experienced lots of spiritual growth in the good-bad-and-ugly of the last 18 months. I’ll bet you have too! In that growth, God has stoked a fire to address some of the things I’ve learned. It’s time to write new messages when:
- We’ve learned something that we know will help others with a common problem. To illustrate, I was highly challenged last year in the area of emotional growth. I started speaking into a controversial area or two and realized that my skin was too thin for the calling God has given me. He’s been teaching me to stretch my emotional resilience while maintaining a tender heart. That’s a message I’ll be working to write!
- A new passion is pushing us to a new area. For me, God sent me on a hard left turn about two years ago in my personal ministry. I had been writing and speaking about overcoming perfectionism for about a decade, but suddenly God sent me into the racial equity space. My new assignment is to equip godly women to speak up in godly ways into their own area of personalized purpose. All my new blog posts and messages are going in that direction.
I encourage you to put time on your calendar this week to assess your messages. This is beautiful timing to prepare for a fresh start in a new speaking season. How to Write a Meaningful Message, a workbook that I created to help you write new messages, is one tool that you might want to pick up as you consider changes to your topics.
Let me know what messages you’re axing and what you’re adding!