Do you feel called to speak?
Do you feel that God has given you gifts, talents, and a message to share?
If so, that’s wonderful! But here’s a problem that many women in ministry have. They feel called, but they’re also a little embarrassed about it. Who am I to say that I have something special to share? Is it arrogant to think that I’m called to be a speaker? What about my “real” job, or my duties as a wife and a mom? I can’t let speaking interfere in the slightest bit with that, so speaking will always get last place.
I certainly struggle with these things. Finding a balance between my ministry at home and my ministry as I speak is a challenge, because home is my top priority. But I fear that often we diminish our calling too much out of embarrassment, shame, fear, or confusion.
If God is calling you to speak, then embrace it. Recognize it. Or, if you’re honestly not sure (and it’s okay not to be sure!), then pray about it, and decide that you will dedicate a certain amount of time exploring it. If God doesn’t want you to speak, ask Him to close the doors.
When I read Scripture, I see that God steers people that are moving far more often than He steers people that are standing still. Remember Paul, when he was called to go minister in Macedonia? He had prayed, and was heading in the wrong direction when God called him elsewhere. But at least he was heading somewhere! He wasn’t sitting there until revelation struck. Sometimes we do need to wait on God, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you don’t sense God telling you to wait, then maybe it’s time to explore the opportunities to speak, praying that if this is not where God wants you, that He will shut the door.
And remember: if God has called you to something, there doesn’t need to be any fear! He is the One who will help you and equip you.
That being said, I do believe there’s also a point to giving a year for training and building your skills (and quite often it takes more than that!). If you’re interested in how to treat yourself seriously, next week’s Blog Talk Radio show has to do with exactly that: how to treat your speaking like a business, and learn good business principles that will help you grow. It’s totally free to listen, and if you head over here now, you can set a reminder to notify you when it’s about to start. We’ll be going live Tuesday at noon EST!
Of course, there often is a tension between speaking as a business and speaking as a ministry. When we’re scared or a little ashamed that people will think we’re arrogant, we may focus solely on the ministry side, and ignore the business side. But there’s a problem with that: if God truly has called you to speak, you need to appear professional, and that includes treating it like a business. I don’t mean that you have to make buckets of money–not by a longshot! And I don’t mean that you have to be concerned primarily about fees. But what is important about a business?
First, a business invests in itself, and you should, too. A business stays current and tries to cater to the market (in other words, give talks that people can relate to and that touch people’s hearts where they’re at). A business gives off a professional air, one with authority, that will help people to be more open to listening to you. A business invests the time it takes to do things well. A business works on growing itself.
Do you want to do these things? Or do you want to figure out how to make some fees from speaking, because from a practical standpoint you do need to make some money at this?
Then come and listen! If you can’t make it, you can listen after the fact. And don’t forget my inexpensive resources to help you launch your speaking ministry!
As a writer, I’ve travelled to Christian bookstores across North America. I’ve seen a wide range of them: some huge, some small. Some stuffed with “junk”, some with only bestsellers visible. Some have fancy cafes, and some have no room to walk.
What I’ve noticed is that size doesn’t matter. What makes a good bookstore, and one that I enjoy being in, is the attitude of the owners. Some owners firmly believe that the bookstore is “simply a ministry”. And you can tell that’s what they think. They don’t necessarily invest in a comfortable store. They seem to feel intrinsically that the store will lose money, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. On the other hand, the stores where owners do focus on customer service and making a profit often tend to be the ones that are most fun to be in. They’re innovative. They’re doing a lot to attract customers. They have interesting stock. Their salespeople are knowledgeable.
Now, which is more of a ministry? The one that sees itself as solely a ministry, and is always on the brink of folding, or the one that is trying to turn a profit by attracting customers? I know the analogy isn’t perfect, but I don’t agree with all that goes into marketing Christian books and products today. But I do think that the general statement is still true: if we want to have the most impact, we need to take ourselves seriously. If we don’t, our ministry won’t expand.
So take yourself seriously. Invest in your speaking. And then see where God leads you!