Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Only You

Do you know how many species of butterflies that there are?  Over 17,000!  Now as I see it, if God was only interested in utility, He would have created 1 species of butterfly.  One species that could spread it’s wings and pollinate one type of flower.

Instead, God shows us that He delights in variety–color, pattern, form, beauty. He is the Creator God who is endlessly creative and brings delight and awe to His creation by creating unique beings in butterflies, snowflakes and…humans.

Then why do I so often berate myself for not being like her, or her, or her?  I read Ann Voskamp’s impossibly beautiful words that float around my head like music and wonder, “Why can’t I write like her?”  I listen to Lysa TerKeurst relate to thousands of women with the voice of their closest friend and agonize, “How can I communicate more like her?”

Of late, I’ve come to peace with the fact that Lysa’s shoes in the world are filled by Lysa.  Ann’s voice rings clear as a bell as Ann.  The one that won’t be heard if I try to imitate them is my own.

You were created as one-of-a-kind by God to contribute your unique voice to the world.  Speak.


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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Some Great Advice from Lysa

Yesterday I was cruising around a site that is new to me, and I came across this video with great speaking advice from our own Lysa TerKeurst about how to overcome your nerves when you’re speaking.  Click here to watch the video.

The website is Women’s Ministry.net, a fabulous resource for women’s ministry leaders produce by Jennifer and Phil Rothschild.  Just like we’d love for you to subscribe to our free weekly tips, you can also subscribe there for weekly women’s ministry tips. 

Have a great week!


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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Time Constraints

There’s an African saying that goes, “Africans have time but no watches.  Americans have watches but no time.”  How true!  I hear that you can literally preach for hours in African churches, but I can tell you from personal experience that Americans don’t have that kind of attention span or time-tolerance.

The one time that I’ve gotten negative feedback from an event, it was because I had gone significantly over the time I had been allotted.  I was embarrassed that I had forgotten my friend Macon’s rule about speaking.  She says, “I’d much rather stop early making the listeners wish that I had added more than speaking too long and making them wish I hadn’t said so much.”

Sage advice.

There are two things that can happen at an event that  cause time concerns.  Very often during an event someone will run long.  If that someone is before you, your time may be cut.  It’s not unusual for an event coordinator to ask you to cut your time.  (Even if she doesn’t, I have decided that it’s my philosophy to end on time.  People watch those watches!)

The other dilemma is if you’ve caused your own time problem by spending too long on one section of your message.  It’s tough to cut a message “on the fly”, so what do you do?

Karen Ehman presented our team with the easiest method I’ve heard.  Prepare your entire talk to be the length of the time you’ve been given.  Go back through your talk when it’s finished and decide the parts that are absolutely essential to your message.  These parts must be maintained to make the message a complete thought.  Keep those parts printed in black.

As you go through, think about sections (a story, a thought) that could be cut if needed.  Print these sections in a different color.  You may want to end with black and two additional colors.  Here’s how it works.  If you have your entire time, you do the black, blue and purple parts of the message.  If you are cut by 10 minutes, you do the black and blue part of your message.  If you’re time is cut drastically, you do the black part only.

Isn’t that wonderful?  This method allows you to plan ahead for time cuts instead of testing your deodorant when the decision is handed down.  Hope this helps you like it’s helped me!


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Monday, May 9, 2011

Living Your Dream

Today I have two treats for you.  First, I’d like to announce a new service that we’ll be offering from now until She Speaks.  Being in a speaker evaluation group at She Speaks was one of the most valuable and most terrifying things that I did as a “newbie” speaker.  For those of you who are already developing heart palpitations every time you think about it, I promise that you didn’t make a mistake in signing up.  It will be a wonderful experience, and don’t forget that everyone in the room will be feeling the same way. 
There’s lots of great information about your Speaker Evaluation Group on the She Speaks website, but Karen Ehman and I would like to offer a service to those of you who would like some additional help.  Next Step Speaker Service is offering a 45 minute call to women in a speaker evaluation group who would like to talk through your 3 minute testimony and 5 minute Bible teaching.  We will give you some basic principles and then talk through your ideas one on one.  We can also answer any questions you have about how the groups are structured with any extra time we have. 
The cost of the call will be $45, and you can register by filling out the “Request Information” form.  At the bottom, please indicate you are interested in this specific service by typing “Speaker Eval Group service.”  Either Karen or I will contact you via email to schedule the time and day for the call.
Treat number 2 is getting to hear from Karen’s heart today.  Drink it in!  
You have ideas in your head and desires in your heart. Deep within your soul is a passion to help women by sharing with them biblical truths or by offering “I’ve been there advice” on a particular topic or issue through which you have worked. 

Often, when you are at an event or watching a teaching dvd and experience a speaker delivering a life-changing message, you whisper to yourself, “I want to do what she does”. But you just don’t know exactly how or where to begin. 

Most of all, you sense there is a gifted speaker hiding inside your soul just longing to break out and do her thing. 

What’s a gal to do? 

Here are some practical tips to give you perspective and get you started in the right direction:

  • Pray specifically. Begin a little notebook of prayer. In it jot your heartfelt prayers to God on the area of your speaking ministry. Nothing is too small. “God, please show me the topics you’d like for me to explore and share with women.”  “Father, will you bring stories, ideas and examples my way to help punctuate my messages?” “God, would you guide me in finding groups that need to hear the messages you’ve laid upon my heart. Show me what I am to do to connect with them.”
  • Be a student of life. Be on the lookout for analogies, stories, quotes on the sides of coffee cups or lyrics to songs that go along with topics you feel passionately about. This will help to load your quarry from which you can mine gems in the future for your talks.  
  • Don’t waste a bad story.  When you experience disappointment, frustration, setbacks or periods of waiting, write down your experiences, facts and feelings. God will use them in the future to warn, encourage and bless others in your audience.
  • Utilize family & friends. Craft a sample message. Start short–maybe a 15 minute devotional. Then, get on the phone, text message or email some friends to gather an audience. Test drive your material on them and solicit feedback. Ask them to tell you what worked and what didn’t and offer suggestions for how it could be better. Then, re-write, re-gather and repeat!
  • Be patient. Nationally known speakers also started out small often times speaking to very tiny groups for no more than a potted plant or Starbucks gift card. Do not worry about reaching vast audiences just yet. Work on bettering your messages not enlarging your platform. God will open doors when He thinks you are ready.
With a keen eye, a desire to learn through life’s experiences and a little help from your friends, you’ll soon be on your way to building the speaking ministry about which you’ve always dreamed!!!


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