Reader Question 9
I am a member of a very large church in suburban Los Angeles. I have found that most churches–including ones where I was a member in the past and on the Women’s Ministries team–no longer have Women’s Ministries and do not hire speakers with the exception of a once per year Christmas tea. Without exception, the speakers they hire are the big names – nationally known women – who have published books, and are known on the national speaking circuit, as opposed to anyone local. There are many talented women locally. Are there any speaking opportunities for us? ~ Brenda
Brenda has tapped into a frustration that lots of speakers feel. More and more, as our Christian community buys into a celebrity culture (which I’ve written about here and here), there are fewer opportunities for local speakers. Here are a few ways you can address the issue:
- MOPS groups are great places to speak. Although they generally don’t have much of a budget, they need many speakers a year, so they are always looking. MOPS International has a great website where you can find locations in your area as well as seeing their theme for the year. (This year it’s “A Fierce Flourishing”.) You could create a message around the theme and weave your ideas into communications with the leaders. Although these groups can’t pay much, it’s a great place to get your feet wet and also to establish your credibility as a speaker in your community. You never know who is on a women’s ministry team that’s listening in your audience!
- Consider speaking in secular settings. Local clubs and organizations are often looking for speakers for their meetings. What truth can you share that would translate into their world? You could develop a message about leadership or creating relationship connections with God’s truths embedded in it. Since God’s ways are always best, it’s not a stretch to do this, and I’ll write more about how to do this in coming weeks!
- Change the culture at your church. A few weekends ago I was at a retreat where the weekend was peppered with testimonies of the women in the church along with my sessions. It was wonderful! If you’re in women’s ministry leadership, why not suggest that to the group? Or why not volunteer to share your testimony for the next women’s retreat at your church? I know it’s a little awkward, so follow the Lord’s leading, but sharing in a small way may lead to larger speaking responsibilities later.
This has been the hardest question yet to answer. The truth is that being on the P31 speaker team gives me lots of opportunities I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’d love for our community to weigh in! Where do you find opportunities to speak?
Right now I am not looking for paid opportunities, just a number of opportunities to get out there and spread my message. I started a CBWC group in the fall (Christian Business Women cbwc.biz) which is a sister group to CBMC. I have a couple of other leaders that work with me, but we need to present a new topic each month, and I get some practice there. That has also helped me to find other opportunities in the area for speaking at ministry events, and even on the radio. That being said, once I published my book (just in February of this year) many other opportunities opened up for me. I never wanted to be a writer, but doing that automatically gave me a lot of credibility. Something to consider!
I’ve found quite a bit of opportunity at Christian Colleges & Universities. A lot of times they are looking for Keynote Speakers for the various Conferences they host, as well as, speakers for their weekly Chapel Services!
Great tip, Erika!