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Maggie attended my very first outside-of-my-own-church speaking event, a women’s beach retreat.
We gathered for a weekend with the women from the church that she’d been visiting, but she was just learning about Jesus. She didn’t know Him yet. Our group worshipped together, and I taught three sessions. I was new. I was clueless. But I was on FIRE to teach those women, and Jesus showed up in a way I’ve rarely experienced.
I was the speaker for the next beach retreat too, and Maggie came back… made new. During that year, she’d given her life to Him, and He was already doing a radical work in her. We spent time together during that second retreat, and Maggie breathlessly told me about her journey.
“I saw something in you last year,” she said. “I didn’t know what it was, but I wanted it.” That “it” was an intimate relationship with Jesus.
I still get teary when I think about that first retreat I lead and the impact on Maggie’s life. I was an inexperienced speaker, but Maggie still saw Jesus in me. She knew she needed Him, and she reached out to Him in a way that changed her forever.
That’s what we want as speakers, isn’t it? We want to speak and teach in a way that takes our audience members to someplace new. In a way that makes them new.
Yet, I had spotty results as a speaker after that. Sometimes I knew that I was successful in leading people to change, and other times, I flopped. What was the difference?
Over the years, I’ve learned some tools that don’t guarantee results (that’s the Holy Spirit’s job!), but they have helped to make me more consistent. It’s not that I want to be known as a great speaker, but I do want to present Jesus in the most compelling way possible.
Dynamic speakers know how to create and deliver a message that moves.
Great messages move people emotionally, yes, but more importantly, great messages move people forward. Forward to salvation. Forward to deeper intimacy with God. Forward to greater obedience to His Word. Here are 2 of the tools that I’ve learned that create a message that moves:
Tool #1: Creating movement starts with a widening and a weight.
In Psalm 81:10, God says, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” God has promised a divine partnership with us. His part is provision, and for speakers, our need is words. Powerful words. God faithfully gives us His Words when we’re in partnership with Him.
Our part is obedience. We open our mouth, and God fills it. To be a dynamic speaker, we need a widening of dependency. A widening of faith. A widening of obedience.
We also need to feel the weight of the responsibility that we’ve been given. James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” Do you feel the weight of handling God’s Word faithfully? Great! I used to chafe at that weight, but now I embrace it as part of my calling. When I don’t feel the weight, it’s usually because I’ve moved into disobedience or self-sufficiency. Time to repent and re-widen!
Tool #2: Creating movement requires insider information.
There’s no one who knows our audience members like their leader, so she’s the insider that we need to consult before we ever start writing a message. Neglecting to tap the wisdom of event planners and ministry leaders is a sure-fire way to create a message that misfires.
We need to ask them questions like:
- What’s the age range of the audience?
- What’s the spiritual maturity?
- Will there be unchurched people in this group?
- Are there any special populations that I should be aware of? ie. military wives
- Has the church been through anything that I need to know about? ie. church splits, traumatic losses
When we start with the insider information of the leaders, our messages will be more likely to impact our audiences’ places of need and/or hurt.
These are two of the six tools that I’ll be presenting to speakers in group trainings next month. I’m excited about equipping others who have a call to speak! If you’re interested in hearing the other tools too, here are some options for you:
- Fill out the form to request a free consultation call with me, and if it’s a good fit, we’ll work through the rest of the tools together through coaching.
- Contact me about doing a training for your group of speakers (or one that you gather). My email is [email protected].
- I’m thinking about developing an eCourse on this topic, so let me know in the comments if you’d be interested!
One last thing… I have a new book coming out for speakers. We’ll release it here in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned!