When I first began speaking nearly two decades ago, I wanted to be sure my message was well prepared, practiced and polished. The weight of the responsibility of bringing a biblical and encouraging message to the audience God had gathered together was something I didn’t take lightly.
While I still encourage spending focusing time preparing, practicing and polishing your message, I have also discovered that so much of the ministry that happens at our events does not take place during the 45-60 minutes that we are on the platform. Rather, it is quiet, unassuming and often out of the limelight.
Here are some tips I have learned along the way for preparing for this seemingly sidebar ministry which is actually where God may choose to use us most!
- Be sure to ask the event coordinator about the audience make up and any issues and challenges they may be facing. You’ll want to know if it is being held in a city where there have been many employment layoffs or perhaps a town tragedy involving an accident or other occurrence.
- Inquire about how you can be specifically praying for the event leader and her team. Make note of it including names and particulars of her request. Be sure to pray and then to follow up with her as the event approaches and on the night of the engagement as well.
- Take along a few little token gifts to give to those who help you at your event by providing transportation, bringing you water and snacks or helping with your other needs. Some fragrant bottles of lotion or body wash tied with a pretty ribbon or a whimsical pack of note cards will do the trick!
- Make sure to get the names of any women who are on the committee or with whom you connect at your event in a special way. Be sure to write them a hand-written note after the event. Mail it to the church and put it to their attention.
- Take along a few new Bibles in an accurate but easy-to-understand translation. You may give these to any women who decide to become followers of Christ after hearing you speak. You can do the same thing with a practical devotional book.
Overall, be on the lookout for the women at your event who least expect to be noticed. Speak to them. Show interest in their lives. Offer to pray. Realize that, although you should take seriously your time behind the podium, often your greatest impact may be off on the sidelines serving.