“If you’re not growin’, you’re dyin’.”
I love that quote as applied to spiritual growth, but I’m also challenged to continue growing as a speaker. Recently I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the weight of responsibility that we carry along with the blessing of our speaker calling.
I never want to get over that weight.
For me, getting over the weight of responsibility would mean that I’ve wandered into the dangerous territory of self-sufficiency, so I keep asking God to raise the bar for me. I want to be an increasingly better teacher and speaker, not so that I can be known as a great speaker, but so that the Gospel is communicated effectively and winsomely and God is glorified as a result.
So today I want to share some ways that I keep growing as a speaker:
1. Take advantage of outside resources–One great resource that has been both feeding a pushing me is Preaching Rocket. Although they provide a subscription service for pastors, they also have a Free Resources page that you just can’t miss. You can sign up for their emails and get in on their fantastic free webinars.
2. Keep honing message development skills–Every time I learn something new about developing effective messages, I realize how much I still have to learn. This really is a journey! You’ve heard me say how much Andy Stanley’s book Communicating for a Change has impacted me. I still love it and use it extensively, but I’m also trying to break out of my formula-loving, rule-following ways just a little. Even Andy doesn’t follow his own outline in every sermon (!), and I’m trying to be more flexible and creative about writing my messages while including the essential parts. Whether you’re a beginning speaker or a pro, if you would like to hear someone else’s perspective on message development, we’d love to have you join us for Brass Tacks, our next conference call. I’ll share some of the new things I’m learning!
3. Ask others “How do you do that?”–Just over a year ago, I watched my friend Lynn Cowell speak, and I was struck with the powerful connection she had with her audience. She had notes on the stage but barely used them. I was convicted about my own heavy leaning on my notes, so I asked her how she was able to internalize her message so thoroughly. Lynn shared several great tips including how she reads her message into a tape recorder and listens to it to help learn it. I try to make it a habit to ask speakers about their strengths so that I can learn something new. I’ll try to share those tips both here on the blog and on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. I invite you to join us there!
4. Seek out evaluation–I know, I know…this is tough and makes me shake in my shoes a little too. Karen Ehman evaluates messages for our Proverbs 31 speaker team, though, and I’ve found her to be a tremendous gift. She approaches evaluation with the heart of an encourager, so her approach is to tell me what is strong in a message in addition to what would make it stronger. Karen does our Message Evaluation service for Next Step, so you have access to her expertise and encouragement too! Listening to yourself (also excruciating) is a must too.
How are you stretching yourself as a speaker, and how have you grown? We’d love for you to add to the list!