Posted on February 24, 2010 by sheilagregoire
As Christian speakers, we want our talks to centre on God’s word. I’m reminded of what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:2:
“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
Nevertheless, I think there are right ways and wrong ways to use the Bible in a talk. What I’m going to say comes from my own personal experience; you may not agree with me, and indeed, feel free to disagree in the comments! Let’s get a discussion going here! But here are some thoughts to get us talking:
1. People will only remember a few things.
Think back to the last sermon you heard. How many points from that sermon can you remember? How many Bible verses? Chances are it’s quite low; on average we remember 1 or 2 things.
I think, however, that most speakers forget this, and use too many Bible verses when they speak, which makes their talks less effective. I’ve seen speakers speak and then everytime they say anything, they put a Bible verse up on PowerPoint to prove what they’re saying. It’s good to have Scirptural support for what you say (and indeed, we should), but I would caution against putting too many verses up there. As soon as you do, people go into “student” mode. They think you’re expecting them to remember all of these, and they know it’s hopeless, so they often tune out.
Or, they get a pen and start frantically writing everything down. The problem with introducing too many verses is that it diminishes the importance of the verses that you DO want them to remember especially.
I tend to have one Scriptural passage that my talks revolve around. Maybe it’s Hebrews 12:1-3, or Philippians 3:4-14, or Romans 8. I use different ones for different retreats. But those are the passages that I want them to remember. So I say them several times. I have them on the screen, if I’m using Powerpoint. We make bookmarks with them.
I often do bring in other portions of Scripture, but I’ll do it by way of illustration, like using an anecdote. I don’t tend to make my main point from that Scripture. So I’ll retell a parable, or I’ll recount a story from the Old Testament. When I do this, however, it’s in a different tone, so that people realize they don’t have to remember everything I’m saying; it’s an illustration to help them remember the main point, so they can relax and just listen.
Here’s a rule in speaking that I have found:
The number of points/Bible verses that people will remember is inversely proportional to the number of points/Bible verses that you use.
If you have a ton of points, they’ll likely remember none. If you have only 1 or 2, they’ll likely remember them. It’s just easier. So I would suggest having one main Bible passage, and use Scripture otherwise to illustrate your one passage. Don’t prooftext everything; it confuses people. Stick to the main passage, and recite it several times at several points in your talk.
2. Don’t Open with Scripture
God’s Word is the answer to the problems that we face in our lives. It’s the roadmap for what we should do. However, you can’t seek for the roadmap until you know you’re lost; you can’t find an answer until you ask a question.
A talk is not like a sermon. We’re not there primarily to teach; we’re there to connect with people and lead them on a journey so that they’re willing to listen to God. If you open with Scripture, people immediately start thinking, “she’s preaching at me”, and they get their backs up. Or they start thinking that this doesn’t apply to them, because they don’t have that particular problem. Or, perhaps even more commonly, they assume you’re going to be boring. It’s not pretty, but that’s the way it is.
Instead of opening with Scripture, open your talk by “selling” the problem. Show people that they have a heart need. Use stories and anecdotes to show them that there is something wrong in their lives. Then you bring out Scripture as the solution to that heartfelt need that they have already acknowledged. It makes them much more willing to listen to the solution Scripture offers.
If you’re not sure how to do this, I have a marvelous teleseminar on how to Craft a Life Changing Talk, which takes people step by step through this process of what goes into a talk and when. We talk about how to use Scripture and much more! Find out more here.
3. Actually Use Your Bible
It sounds silly, but do read from the Bible. Don’t just print out the passage with your notes and read from your notes. Hold a Bible up and read it–even if you have the passage memorized. There’s something about seeing someone hold a Bible which matters to people. It gives the Bible the reverence it deserves, and it shows people that they should be cracking theirs open, too. It’s subliminal, but important. So read from your Bible!
What do you think? How do you handle Scripture during a talk? And do you have a favourite version that you use? Let me know in the comments!
- Thinking About Your Audience First (christianwomensspeaker.wordpress.com)
- Speaking Isn’t For Sissies – Guest Post (christianwomensspeaker.wordpress.com)
- Do You Ever Think About Heaven? (tolovehonorandvacuum.blogspot.com)
- Two Spiritual Roadblocks in Speaking (christianwomensspeaker.wordpress.com)
Filed under: Anecdotes, Purpose of a Talk, Spiritual Aspects of Speaking | Tagged: Christianity, preaching, speaking | 6 Comments »
Posted on February 17, 2010 by sheilagregoire
I love mentoring all of you in speaking–but what I’ve been telling is you is what works FOR ME. I think it’s time that we get some perspectives from other people who have been speaking for God and sharing His message.
So today I’ve asked my friend Heidi McLaughlin to join us. I met Heidi at a conference recently, and was so struck by her openness to the Holy Spirit. I know that when she speaks, God moves.
Heidi McLaughlin is an international speaker and author of BEAUTY UNLEASHED: Transforming a Woman’s Soul. For twenty-five years Heidi has been teaching and inspiring women to reach their full potential for who they were created to be. She does this through speaking, teaching Bible Studies, mentoring and writing. Her favorite part is sitting across from a woman over a freshly brewed cup of coffee and sharing heart connection stories. Heidi is married to Pastor Jack and they have a blended family of 5 children and 9 grandchildren. They live in the beautiful vineyards of West Kelowna, British Columbia.
Let’s hear what Heidi has to say:
My last hope was that the hot shower water would calm my churning stomach and destroy the relentless nausea. I couldn’t stop the words in my head; I kept imagining what it would sound like when the woman in charge of the Conference told the audience, “It is with our deepest apologies that we had to take our speaker, Heidi McLaughlin, to the Emergency Ward.” This would probably be my most humiliating speaking attempt; and now many women would know that it was not cut out for this.
Then a light bulb revelation hit me between the eyes; I was being deceived. How could I be so fearful and prideful to believe the comment a friend made just before I got on the plane, “The success of the conference depends on you Heidi.”
I straightened up and flew into action. I started praying and declaring to the deceiver, that evil prowling lion; that he was not going to rob my joy. God had appointed me for this event; I was qualified and God would give me the words and confidence that I needed to fulfill this wonderful opportunity to speak God’s love and truth and into women’s lives. Within moments the turmoil in my body ceased. I got out of that shower with a new God assurance and courage to tackle all that was ahead of me for the weekend. That defining flash of truth changed my fear and lack of assurance, to pure joy and determination.
Here is what I learned from that crucial, teachable moment:
1. What is my motive for wanting to be a speaker?
I need to be crystal clear about this. If it is about me becoming successful, getting my name in lights, becoming popular, then yes, it hinges on my ability to perform. If I feel this is a gift that God has given me, has appointed me to do His Kingdom work here on earth as it is in Heaven, that I can have peace know God will do His work through me. If I know it is God’s purpose for me, then I can surely resist the lies of the deceiver telling me I’m pathetic.
2. Be prepared-Be prepared-Be prepared.
Did I say enough prepared’s? I need to be so passionate about my topic that I can do it without notes, say it in my sleep and be able to answer questions about the topic. I have tried to take short cuts, but for me it doesn’t work. I always need to know I give people the value they deserve and that I am always honoring God with my voice.
3. Take training.
If I am going to build muscles in my arms, I need to go to the gym. If I have passion and gifts without training, I am not building all my God given muscles for that purpose. I continue to take training whenever there is some available. I must never think I am too good that I don’t need to learn and grow.
4. Be myself. I am not Carol Kent, Beth Moore, Joyce Meyers or Sheila Gregoire.
I am Heidi McLaughlin with my own sense of humor, storytelling abilities, the way I dress and the manner in which I connect with my audience. When I try to emulate other speaker’s styles, I get lost in who I am and this is not the time to “fake it until you make it.”
5. I need people to pray for me.
Speakers are on the front firing lines doing Kingdom work and we need to be covered with the armor of the Holy Spirit. It’s tough work preparing for a conference or weekend retreat. Absolutely need to hear from God about what I am going to speak on, but it’s also exhausting getting through all the airport hassle, frustrations rise up when technical equipment doesn’t always work, agendas don’t start on time, snow storms cause flight cancellations, and sleeping in hotel rooms and retreat centers isn’t always like sleeping in the 4 Seasons. We need people to pray so that we don’t grow weary or discouraged and that God will anoint us with his wisdom and power.
6. God’s timing is always perfect.
A few years ago I was in Atlanta, Georgia; surrounded with famous speakers and authors who had agents and were walking around with their leather briefcases and linking arms with their private publicists. I realized I was in over my head, and for me that is a good realization. When I went to bed that night I clearly remember the words of my desperate prayer, “God, I can’t do this-it’s too big. I can’t afford a publicist and I don’t even know how to get my speaking engagements. God, you are going to have to be my agent and publicist.”
To this day, my bookings come strictly through “word of mouth.” I believe if we have a powerful message, passion, and fully believe we are part of God’s Kingdom work, and are joining Him where He is already at work, God will open the necessary doors. Pray and wait expectantly for Him to orchestrate your calendar.
I agree with the apostle Paul when he said, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him (1 Timothy 1:12 NLT).
If you feel you have been given the gifts and passion to be a speaker, then I say go in the power of the Holy Spirit and be a spiritually dangerous woman. Because speaking is not for sissies.
Follow Heidi on Twitter
Filed under: Purpose of a Talk, Speaking Skills | 8 Comments »