Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Speaking in Other Cultures

When I sit back, close my eyes and dream big dreams, I picture speakers impacted by Next Step speaking in front of women from every nation, tribe and tongue.  It tickles me pink to know that dream is slowly coming to fruition!  I have clients heading out all over the world this summer on mission trips with their church or local ministries.

In November of 2011, some of my friends from Encouraging Words and I headed to India to lead two women’s conferences.  It was completely life-changing for me, and I pray that I was able to bring lasting encouragement to the women at our conferences.

Although it was an amazing experience, it also was a huge learning curve, so I thought I’d gather some advice for those of you who may be heading out of the country on a missions trip this year.  My friends who traveled to India with me–Barry (our one brave man!), Peggy, Nanette and Cathy–sent me these fabulous tips to pass on to you.  Some pertain to speakers, and others can be used in any missions circumstance.

General Thoughts

  • Paul said, ” To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.  I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.”  (I Cor. 9:22)  BE WITH the people you’re ministering to.  If they’re barefoot, then you be barefoot.  If they eat with their fingers, then you eat with your fingers.  If they sit on the floor, then you sit on the floor.  Talk, laugh, hug, relate, play, join in!
  • Pray for the Father’s heart to embrace your heart.  Pray to see, hear, feel, hurt, love, and understand the people as He does.
  • Bring some small, inexpensive gifts for your hosts and others.  Be gracious, because they always are.  You’ll find even very poor people who are overwhelmingly generous and hospitable, and you’ll long to bless them too.
  • Be prepared for culture shock, jet-lag, sensory-overload and physically demanding shedules that sap every bit of your physical and emotional energies.  See this as a precious opportunity to lean on God’s unending strength and empowerment like never before!
  • Know the appropriate dress in a given country, but also make sure to know the weather and dress comfortably.  (That was my friend Cathy’s great tip, and I’m going to add something that might seem gross….  Think about clothing that will be easy to handle in “challenging” bathroom situations.  I’m just keeping it real.  I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.)

When Speaking

  • Know your audience.  Research on-line, in books and by interviewing people so you understand the culture, religion, politics, economy, needs of the people, etc.
  • Use some of your research to make your message relevant to the culture to which you’re speaking.  ie.  I talked about the smells associated with funerals in one of my messages, so I talked about the smells you might smell at an American funeral vs. the ones at an Indian funeral.
  • Connect on a deep, emotional level.  Our team did a mock wedding after Nanette shared on being the bride of Christ.  It was concrete, emotional and powerful!

Working with an Interpreter

  • Develop a relationship with your translator.  They are key to a successful message in a mission context.  Our often made us better than we were!  :)
  • Give them access to your written notes beforehand so they know the content of your message before they translate “on the fly”.  This allows them to ask your for clarification of particular phrases or words ahead of time.
  • Remember a 30 min. message translated takes 1 hr. to give.
  • Speak in phrases easy for the translator to repeat.  If you say an entire sentence before pausing, it could be too long for the translator to remember and translate.
  • Don’t look at the interpreter when you are speaking.  Always keep eye contact with your audience and stay in the moment emotionally.  Keep the intensity in your eye contact with the audience, and let the interpreter do the same.  You’re working as a powerful team that way!

My friend Peggy sent a final and powerful piece of advice with which I’d like to end. It’s the heart of missions and the heart of God…

“I’m sure there are some distinctives about each culture that we should prepare for. But the primary thing I believe the Lord would have us to become is humble: to realize our own weaknesses, lacks, faults and needs, and to honor others as better than ourselves. So often we are so ready to teach, expound our opinions and our ingrained manners of thinking. We often overlook the wonder of the other person. We entirely miss what our Father is teaching us through that person He imagined into being.”

We also have a fun prize for today’s post!  Next Step is partnering with Trades of Hope, an organization to sells fair trade products at home parties to help women world wide, to give away this beautiful scarf.

Here are the steps to enter to win this Nepali Aqua Scarf:


#1  Leave a comment on this blog.  If you’ve done a missions trip, we’d love to hear your tips or where you went.  If you haven’t, tell us a country you’d love to visit.
#2  “Like”
#3  Leave a comment on the above Facebook page.  Done!

The last day to enter is July 1st at midnight.  The winner will be chosen randomly and announced on the July 2nd blog post.

For more information about Trades of Hope, .


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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Summer Resource List

If you’re like me, summer is your big reading time.  It’s the time I usually transition from headier material to lighter fluff.  There’s nothing like baking on the beach, toes curled in the sand, with a great book propped in front of your sunscreened nose.

It’s also a great time to do some reading for strengthening your speaking or writing ministry.  Here are some resources that contain outstanding information:

For Writers:

  •  The Writers’ View (free online group for CBA writers who are beginning to intermediate)
  • Christian Writer’s Guild – www.christianwritersguild.com (great conference, Writer’s Market Guide, courses for writers)
  • Rachelle Gardner, Books and Such Literary Agent (she shares CBA news, as well as how-to’s of writing full-time in CBA) http://www.rachellegardner.com/
  • One of my favorite Rachelle Gardner posts (How to Get Published): http://www.rachellegardner.com/2011/02/how-to-get-published/
  • Novel Rocket – http://www.novelrocket.com/ (Don’t love the design or website, but good content for writers)
  • American Christian Fiction Writers http://www.acfw.com/index.php/ (Recognized by CBA as industry leader in fiction writing)
  • The Writing Life with Terry Whalen (Has worked in CBA as a publisher, editor, author. Terry’s always offering great resources and help for writers) 
 For Speakers:

For Ministry Development:

Happy resourcing!!




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Thursday, June 13, 2013

To Read Part II…

I think we’re still having a few technical difficulties, because Part II of Un-Mixing Your Motives wasn’t send out to subscribers when it posted.  Please click here to read Un-Mixing Your Motives Part II.

Also, leave a comment to enter the contest for a Real-Life Devotional Bible!

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Un-Mixing Your Motives Part II

It’s so easy to get our motives tangled and off-kilter.  Read last week’s post about my first desire to be a speaker.

Several years after my prayer to kill off my “speaker envy”, God started whispering to me about speaking ministry during my quiet time.  My first reaction was to think, “There’s that old, nasty envy again.  God purify my heart!”

This time was different, though.  The desire to speak didn’t come with the same thoughts and emotions as before.  This time I fought against the desire even as it continued to grow.  This time it was a desire to make God known instead of making myself known. Within that year, God started opening doors for me to speak, and I was filled with joy instead of ambition.  The timing was right, my motives were pure, and it was a calling instead of covetousness.

It was a desire to please One while I was becoming more like Him.  This time was different, because God had refined my motive to just one.

“Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 2:5 NIV)

My motive is to follow Him and be made more like Him.  That’s the one motive that supersedes and reigns over any others.  How do we practically live that out?  I think the clue is in the following verses.

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”  (Phil. 2:6-7 NIV)

There is something in every speaker’s and writer’s heart that loves MORE.  More speaking opportunities with bigger audiences.  More books published with bigger numbers.  I don’t actually think that’s a completely bad motive if our desire is to spread more of God’s message.  But God is the giver of that kind of more.

I think our focus has to be on becoming NOTHING.  Let me be clear.  Nothing is not our status.  Our status is holy and dearly loved daughters of the King.  Nothing is to be our chosen position.  Just as Jesus, reigning King of heaven and earth, made Himself nothing, we are to choose that position as well.

As I’ve thought about this important task of making myself nothing, I’ve been given two questions to ask myself when I’m making ministry (or life) choices:

  • Does this put self first or others first?
  • Is this a choice to be more or to be nothing?  (To elevate myself or to submit myself?)

These two questions are efficiently exposing twisted motives and bringing me back to my chosen position of nothing.  Day by day my motives are being heated, purified and refined.  It’s a painful process sometimes, but it’s a good process that I believe allows God to be more and therefore potentially for my ministry to be more.

I’d love to do something that puts the readers of this blog first today!  I have a beautiful  Real-Life Devotional Bible  to give away.  Please leave a comment on the blog to enter.  (If you’re a subscriber, you’ll need to click over to the blog.  Reply emails won’t count as entries.) I’m not going to put any requirements on your comment, so express your heart freely!  If you also let me know in your comment that you’ve Tweeted or Facebooked a link to this post, I’ll enter you twice.  Since these tips cost NOTHING , we’ll see if God does MORE.  :)


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