Public Speaking – church leadership skills:
Where are all the articulate laymen?
Although I passionately disagree with his final conclusion on the purpose of man as well as the nature and finality of this life, I admire the style, articulation and passion with which John Marshall Roberts delivers his convictions.
Somewhere along the way the Christian church in general has relegated the responsibility of communicating faith and faith based ideas to the hands of the very few (by percentage or per capita) “professional clergy.” Somewhere along the way, the passion for deeply held beliefs has given way to the fear of not being politically correct, the fear of being called out, the fear of being “Tim Tebow’d”.
I believe that fear is motivated by a “fear of man” in general, but more specifically by a fear that “I won’t be prepared.” “I won’t have all the answers.” “I won’t know what to say, what verses to quote, what philosophy or theology or psychology sources to quote.”
I also believe that those are not the answers that most people want to discuss about the Christian faith. Most people want to know why we believe what we believe. Why are we so convinced this relationship to an unseen God is real? What proof (in our daily existence) can we provide that there is a reason for the hope that we have? How can we keep believing in a benevolent and merciful God and Creator when the whole world seems to be “going to Hell in a handbag”?
Most people, not withstanding those who want to argue for the sake of arguing or those who have firmly decided there is no God and if there is he/she is distant, hateful and destructive, want to believe that love is real, forgiveness is available, pain will one day cease and eternity is worth the effort and the wait.
The answer they are seeking is not deep theology, theosophy or psychology – its more real than that. The answer they seek is more like “Help me see how God has been there for you, how He has rescued, stood beside, walked before, watched over, provided, protected, defended, and cherished you.” I want a God like that. I could believe in a God like that.
So here are three tips for those who find themselves standing at the gas pump faced with the “How do you know God is real?” opportunity.
1. Be real – Stop lying
No one will believe that your life never has struggle. No one wants to hear it, even if it were true, because their life does have struggle. No one will believe that becoming a Christ follower will eliminate pain, make you rich, restore your family or business to the golden age of perfection or make you loose weight overnight. Tell the truth as you have lived it. God is just as real and faithful when life sucks and circumstances are haunting you as He is when all of life is awesome.
2. Be an expert – Talk about what you know best – YOUR LIFE!
Many people dive into a conversation and forget that they are eye witnesses to the hand of the Almighty. They immediately want to speak of the “hand of God” in foreign lands, the acts of God in the days of Paul, the miracles witnessed by the select few thousands of years ago. Your day to day life is filled with miracles. As Michael Jr. likes to say “God has another name that we often forget. ‘Sumpum’ As in Sumpum told me not to buy that car, date that girl, go when the light first turned green.” Tell the stories of your life, the way they really happened. Tell how God has revealed himself to you, through you and in you. Tell how He is real and you are changed. Your transformation is the greatest evidence to a real and powerful Savior.
3. Be brief – Life is too short
Do you know someone who needs the gong?! “Help I am talking and I can’t shut up!” Life is too short for long and boring stories. When given the opportunity to express the reason for the hope that you have, be ready in season and out of season. Rehearse your testimony so well that you can share any segment of it, at a moments notice, in any crowd. Know what you would like to express based on the type of crowd, environment and expectation of the listener(s). If you have a few seasons, transformations and events in your life that really stand out as miraculous, spend time praying, meditating and rehearsing them until you can deliver them with emotional authenticity, powerful impact, poignancy, and brevity. Speak the truth, then stop speaking! Listen and pray.
How long does it take to get ketchup from a pineapple?
FOREVER! Its not in there.
You need only speak what is true.
You need only speak what you have lived.
You need only speak until you have left an impression.
If the average church goer would learn to share their testimony in this way, we would see faith confessions abundantly, discipleship on the rise, and a whole new worldview begin to take root in society.
Kudos to John Marshall Roberts for his bravery to articulate what he believes. Are you ready in season and out of season to do the same?
Here is a brief demonstration of a public testimony delivered to about 600 people in the park.
If you would like help in this area, please consider attending the next Communication Inspired Leadership workshop in July.
Please like, share and most of all comment with a link to your video testimony!