Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What’s Your Value? Part 1

By the time I got home, I felt small and defeated.   I had spent the day with other women in ministry. Instead of gaining the encouragement and strength that I should have breathed in from being with women that I love, I sank into the comparison trapbuilt thought by thought in my head.

These were the thoughts that filled my head and trickled into my shrinking heart:  “She has the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art blog and thousands of readers.  I need to learn more and work harder.  That woman over there speaks almost every weekend.  What can I do to work to market my speaking ministry better?  So many of these women have published books.  Maybe I just don’t have what it takes…”

Not one single woman in that room said or did anything besides loving me.  The comparison trap is one that’s self-built in my life and one that I have struggled with mightily since I began speaking.

It’s my desire to write a blog post next week to talk about the unique value you bring to audiences, but I wanted to start here this week, because I have a little inkling that I’m not the only one who struggles.  :)

Although each of us has value that we bring with us when we speak, I want to start with this reminder.  Our value to God, the most important One of all, doesn’t have anything to do with what we do.  Anna, my best friend in college, once was asked by her brother, “Anna what about you do you think pleases God?”  (This question was meant to be a little bit of a trap, because her brother was slightly disapproving about some of Anna’s actions.  He wanted an accounting of her activities.)  Anna replied with such a profound answer.  She said, “It pleases God that when I get out of the shower in the morning and I shake my head, my hair curls in tiny ringlets all over.”

Do you believe that?  Do you believe that God values you and delights in you just because He created you unique in all the world?

Here’s a quote that sets me free from my tendency to want to work to show God that I have value:  “You are more than a ministry machine.”

Let that soak in for a minute.

Even though you are called to speaking ministry, that is not your value.  Your value isn’t in having the most tech savvy website.  It’s not in how many articles you have published.  It’s not even how many people give their lives to Christ at your next event.  It pleases God when we want to serve Him well, but mostly He is pleased by us.

Friend, carry this through your day.  You are God’s dearly loved child.  He delights in you.  Your value is in Him.



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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What’s It Like to Work with NSSS?

I don’t know about you, but even though I’m an extrovert, I have a hard time entering a room full of strangers and unknown circumstances without discomfort.  In a job that I held that required attendance at local Chamber of Commerce meetings, that was especially true.  There was something about the unknown that gave me pause.

Today I want to do a little dispelling of the unknown about Next Step Speaker Services.  Since Message Development has been our most popular service so far, here’s a little peak at what using this service would feel like and what you’d receive.

Introductory call:  After receiving “Request Information” forms, I give a personal call just to see if I can answer questions about the service.  It’s informal and free. I love to hear about the unique calling that each woman has and how God is beginning to open doors for ministry.  In this call we decide together whether NSSS is a good fit for your needs.  If not, I’ve got some other great referrals!

First Call:  I do some teaching about finding your niche and creating a tagline for your ministry.  We also talk through the contract for the service to make sure you’re comfortable and understand how the service works.  For each call, I give a homework assignment.  That might sound horrible, but the most consistent feedback that I’ve gotten so far is that accountability is the most valuable part of working with NSSS.  (Maybe some day someone will say it’s my fabulous and dynamic teaching.  Sigh. LOL)  Creating your personal tagline is the homework.

Second Call:  We work together on your tagline and polish it up.  Next, I share my message development process that I’ve learned from other great speakers on our team and some reading I’ve done.  I also talk through an amazing Bible study tool that I’ve learned and assign Bible study as the research phase and homework.

Third Call:  After discussing any questions about homework, I go over the message outline taught in Communicating for a Change.  I also share a concept from Made to Stick that ties into the outline.  Homework is to create the first part of your message.

Fourth Call:  I teach another concept from Made to Stick and we brainstorm the other parts of your message.  The homework is to finish creating a message outline.

Fifth Call:  I give you written and oral feedback on the written version of your message.  This is the piece that lots of people worry about!  You should know that one of my spiritual gifts is encouragement.  You’ll get lots of that along with gentle suggestions to make your message even better.

I’m laughing as I write this, because now I think all of you will just do it on your own!  If you want to, then I am your biggest cheerleader–go, girl, go!!  My heart’s desire is to see women grow in confidence and effectiveness in their speaking ministry.  If you’d like to have a partner in that who will encourage you, share what she’s learned and hold you to some deadlines, then I’d love to work with you.  Fill out the form on the “Request Information” tab, and let’s talk!


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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What is NSSS Really?

Good afternoon!  Sorry this is late, but we’re iced in today.  For our family that meant sleeping later, sipping coffee longer and an appointment for me with Miss Clairol.  I knew ya’ll would understand.

Although I don’t want to use this blog just have a soap box for Next Step Speaker Services (If this is your first time here, please take a few minutes to look at old posts and see how much fantastic free speaker help there is.  We’re glad you’re here!), I want to take this post to clarify what we’re about and what enlisting our service looks like. This week I’ll tell you about Proverbs 31 Ministries’ three services for speakers. 

Proverbs 31 Ministries now has 3 separate arms/services to help train, equip and encourage speakers.  They are:

  • She SpeaksAn amazing conference for speakers, writers and women’s ministry leaders.  In a nutshell, She Speaks is designed to not only give the nuts and bolts of speaking but to nurture and encourage women to share God’s message wherever they go.  It’s truly a feast for the spirit and mind.  God amazes me every year with how He is very present at She Speaks.  Registration will be opening soon.  We’ve sold out and had waiting lists for the past few years, so visit the website, put it in your favorites and visit often.  We’d love to see you there this year!
  • Next Step Conference Calls–She Speaks attendees are given the opportunity to register for Next Step Conference Calls, 12 weeks of conference calls for speakers and writers.  The first six weeks are for writers and the next 6 for speakers.  This year’s topics included working with event coordinators, finding fresh topics, and tayloring your messages for different groups.  Although registration primarily is done at She Speaks, the conference is not a requirement for participation.  You can call the office to register after She Speaks is over, and I think we’ll be including more information about these calls on our new website.
  • Next Step Speaker Services–I (Amy Carroll) began this service out of a deep desire to share all the things that I’m continually learning from our incredible Proverbs 31 Speaker Team.  It’s been invaluable to me to have Karen Ehman give me feedback on my messages, Melanie Chitwood help me write values statements and LeAnn Rice critique my new bio sheet before I spent beaucoups of dollars to print those babies in color.  Next Step Speaker Services teaches some of the topics that you might learn from the other two branches (although participation in those is not a requirement to use the service) but gives you personal, individual feedback on your messages or marketing pieces.  I’ll give you a glimpse of what it looks like to work with Karen or me in our next post, but here’s what a few of our clients are saying about our new service:

“Working one-on-one with Amy was not the kind of ‘journey’ we speak about sweetly.  No, it was more of the put your helmet on, goggles down, hold onto the wheel tightly, fast-paced, crash course that took the mystery out of getting started, uncovered my unique core – who I am and what consistent beating message God has put on my heart, provided a step-by-step manageable process that taught me to let God lead the dance, and the most terrifying, but exhilarating piece to moving forward – she held me accountable for completing each lap of the race with weekly calls.”                                                                                                                          

Susie Wilson
Christian Life Coach

“‘Amy has offered honest and insightful feedback for my writing and speaking ideas. Our weekly phone meetings have kept me focused with practical steps to help frame the unique ministry to which God has called me.”

 Charlotte Angles

“Next Step Speaker Services was exactly what I needed to push forward in ministry. Working with Amy helped me clarify the direction in which God was leading me. The process also helped me better understand the value I bring to my audience by helping me see how my varied experiences contributed to the trajectory of my ministry. I was provided with many helpful resources to help me develop as a professional speaker. I now feel more focused in this area of life and definitely plan to use Next Step Speaker services again as I move forward.”

N. D. Pemberton-Todd, MS, MA, LPC

For any of you who have participated in one of these branches, I’d love for you to leave a comment telling about your experience!

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

10 Ways to Sharpen Up

Happy New Year, friends!  I hope everyone had a restful and renewing Christmas and that you’re chomping at the bit for a new year.

My pastor preached the best sermon from Acts 4 on Sunday with a question that I believe will form my year.  “Do you want to please God, or do you just want God to please you?”

Wow!  That cuts right to the heart of the matter, doesn’t it?

As I pursue the calling of speaking this year, I want to make sure that each step is a step that will please God.  Here are 10 ways to consider sharpening your speaking as you seek God about your next steps:

1.  Spend a day (or as much time as you can carve out) in a quiet place with just your Bible and a journal.  Worship, pray and read God’s Word.  Ask Him to speak to you about His agenda for you for the year.  (See my blog at www.amycarroll.org on Jan. 5 for more details about a retreat with Jesus.)

2.   Pray before you speak, “Lord, help me to love you first and love these women as you love them.”  Watch your focus change and your nerves subside.

3.  Prayerfully lay aside a percentage of each of your speaking fees for reinvestment back into your ministry.

4.  Purchase a book that will challenge you in your speaking and implement at least one new idea in your next message.  We’ve got some great suggestions in our reading list on the sidebar!

5.  Schedule time each week to work on your speaking ministry–studying, writing new messages or working on marketing tasks.

6. Prayerfully choose 12 of Tracie’s marketing ideas, and implement one each month this year.

7.  Attend She Speaks. (As an aside, I know I’m prejudiced, but I can’t imagine a more inspiring or equipping conference for Christian speakers.  If finances are a concern, I’ll publish a post soon about ideas for covering registration.)

8.  Be open to all kinds of venues for speaking, and speak as often as possible.  Pray for chances to share God’s message and exercise your “speaking muscle”.

9.  Record yourself (digital recorders are worth the investment) or ask to be recorded each time you speak.  Then listen to yourself!  I know it’s excruciating, but you’ll identify more needs for improvement by doing this than by any other single thing.

10.  And last but not least…use Next Step Speaker Services to help you individually with message development, message evaluation or developing marketing pieces.  Next week, I’ll give you a little picture of what you’ll receive through our services.

In His great Love,


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