Monday, January 25, 2016

Reader Question 1

It was so nice to see your questions popping into my email box this week. This Q & A series may spur some of your own, so keep ’em coming! My email is . I’ll make this an open-ended series until we run out of questions.

Here’s the first question..

I am a new Christian Speaker and Author. I am a Christian of 5 years, who has been intentional about following God for the past 2 years. I am 45 years old.

There is no doubt in my mind that God is leading me to write and speak. He created me with natural talents for both, and He has given me many examples of His power to share with others.

My question is how to put myself out there to speak in venues other than my own church? I find it difficult to “convince” others I have a firm grounding in my faith that Jesus is Lord, God is Our Father and His Spirit lives in me.  Others who hear I have had a late in life conversion experience want some tangible evidence that I am true to my word!  ~Julie

I found this an interesting question. I think there are actually 2 questions embedded within the one. The one I’ll reword and handle first is–Do I need to be spiritually mature to be a speaker?

My short answer is yes. I believe spiritual maturity is very important for a speaker, and for me, one of the greatest indicators for maturity is knowing that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways higher than our ways. When you listen to spiritually immature people express themselves, there’s usually lots of opinion and overly-high esteem for themselves. A spiritually mature person is marked by humility and a high value on scripture.

Having said all that, there’s not always a direct correlation between the number of years you’ve been a Christian and your spiritual maturity. I’ve known people who have been believers for decades who are very immature in their faith. These are people who haven’t invested in the spiritual disciplines or much self-discipline.

Conversely, I can think of two personal friends who became Christians as adults who, because of their passion and discipline, grew into maturity with shocking speed. I was personally convicted to see what God can do with a life that’s completely surrendered to Him.

Julie, if you have surrendered and matured quickly, I would say you’re qualified. Not only that, but you have a very unique platform. You have rare insight into how God works in an adult’s life not only to save but to transform. That’s powerful stuff for you to share!

Since you are young in spiritual years, this scripture immediately popped to mind when I read your question. I hope it encourages you! (Claire the wonder-intern made it especially for you!)


The second question is this– How much information is enough when we’re communicating with event planners?

I don’t mean that any speaker should hide things and certainly not that we should lie. However, we do have to decide what is important to share on marketing pieces like biosheets. Often, our life experiences can be mentioned as credentials as well as letting event planners know a little about our background. Julie, I suggest that you create a biosheet and write this information something like this…

Julie’s late-in-life connection to Jesus has allowed her the rare ability to give her audiences insight into their unchurched friends’ minds.

See how that works? What people have considered a negative isn’t hidden, yet you’ve just allowed people to view the positives that come with your experience. Speakers who are divorced, single moms, or have other challenging parts of their pasts should ask themselves this question. What did I learn in that season that could be valuable to my audience? Weave the two together and you have magic instead of a liability.

Tune in next week, for question #2!

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Questions Are Welcome


I’ll bet you wondered why you got two blog posts from me last week. Well… that would be because my fuzzy, post-Christmas brain is still re-acclimating to work. The second one was supposed to come to you today, but I hit “publish” instead of “schedule”.

And I was so proud of being 2 weeks ahead. Sigh.

Anyhoo… I thought I’d take this opportunity to say that I’d love to hear from you. What’s bugging you that you’d like to see addressed here? What speaking problems do you have that you’d like to hear another perspective? What questions do you have that are begging for an answer?

If you’d either put your answers to those questions in the comments or email them to , I’d love to address them right here in our speaker community. It’s a safe place here–Fire away!


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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

What’s My Job (And What’s Not)


Marketing our messages is one of those areas that most women in ministry hate. I sure have in the past, and my guess is that you’ve struggled too.

There are lines between what’s acceptable both as a professional and as a Christian, but it’s hard to know exactly where they are. That’s what’s so angst-producing for most of us!

When is it ok to get the word out, and when have we crossed over into self-promotion?

When is it ok to “knock on doors” of opportunity, and when have we converted to knocking doors down?

When should we promote our messages, and when should we be silent to receive a new message?

These are hard questions, and I actually think that the answers are not the same for all of us all the time. There are some clear scriptural imperatives, but God didn’t say anything about how often I should post on social networks. How do we know when we’ve crossed a line then?

Our heart condition reveals when we have mixed marketing motives.

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Just this week, I realized that I was off kilter when I took my heart’s “temperature”. Instead of peace, it was filled with anxiety. Instead of trust, it was filled with doubt. Instead of confidence, it was filled with fear.

Anxiety, doubt, and fear are never the results when God is in control. They are almost always an indicator that I’ve crossed the border into God’s territory.

Lysa TerKeurst has said something that always helps me stay in my boundaries. She says, “I feel responsible to do all that I can do and to trust God to do what only He can do.” This week I realized all my negative emotions came into play when I started feeling responsible for what only God can do.

We can write a message, but only God can open the door for it to be delivered.

We can build a website, but only God can draw subscribers.

We can write a book, but only God can move people to buy them.

Are there tasks of obedience we can do to work alongside God? Of course! But that’s different than taking responsibility for the results.

When I wrote Breaking Up with Perfect last year, I promised myself that in the marketing realm I’d do just what God spoke to me and not a bit more. Work done in our own strength is simply disobedience after all and not productive! Unfortunately, my heart’s anxiety, doubt, and fear told me that I had broken that promise.

Starting Feb. 1st, I’m going to fast for 30 days to recalibrate my heart’s motives and methods. I’m not sure exactly what it’s going to look like yet, but I’m sure that I’ll fast from new marketing tasks for a month. I’m also going to implement a spiritual discipline or two to make sure that freed-up time is spent with God. I might also fast from social networks.

Why all of this? I need to move my heart back to a place of rest and trust. A place that knows God is in control of results no matter whether they’re the ones I hoped for or expected. A place of knowing my job and respecting God’s.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I’m Not Sure You Can Really Help Me


Although I love speaking, I love coaching even more, so when I hear about my former clients’ successes, it’s thrills my soul.

If you’ve been thinking about possibly hiring me as a coach, but you’re on the fence, these stories will give you a little glimpse of how others have experienced coaching.

From Nanette…

The Problem: When I first talked to Nanette, I realized she was an experienced speaker, but she had two issues. She wasn’t sure how to narrow and define her ministry niche. Also, her speaking experience came from the corporate world, and she needed some help on transitioning into faith-based speaking.

The Solution: After talking through Nanette’s experiences and passions, she and I worked together to

  • Create an engaging tagline that described her ministry niche.
  • Develop a “signature message” that allowed her to share from a biblical foundation combined her her personal experience.

The Results:

Here’s what followed in Nanette’s own words (used with her permission)…

Nanette-0007“I had the opportunity in late October to speak (and facilitate) a 90-minute session with an international group of 250+ women representing Dress for Success affiliates around the globe at the organization’s worldwide conference in Charlotte. While it was a secular presentation I was able to incorporate some of what I learned working with you, and to infuse a Christian ‘other-centeredness’ in the information I shared. The feedback I received was extremely positive and the experience was SO rewarding!

That morning I got on my knees and prayed for God to give me composure so that my message could be heard and so the focus would not be on me but on the message. I have to tell you that I have never felt SO calm presenting in my life. It was a real milestone for me personally because God used it to heal me of anxiety around presenting that developed in my last corporate job. I used to love it and came to really fear it. Now I love it once again!

You have given me tools and skills that helped me to create great content and deliver it with confidence. SO grateful to you, Amy!”

~Nanette Kirsch, speaker and blogger at Faith Runner

From Amy B…

Problem: Amy is an accomplished and confident blogger with a year-old podcast. Because she has felt God calling her to speak, she attended She Speaks last year but still felt shaky about standing in front of an audience for the first time. During one conversation about a scripture she had chosen, I realized how much Amy had inside of her if only she had the confidence of a cohesive message in-hand.

The Solution:

Amy worked hard to develop an amazing message around a scripture God had been using in her life, and I gave her guidance about staying focused and organized in her message. She was ready for an opportunity, and the invite to speak at her church’s youth retreat happened the very week we finished her message! We did another coaching service together to brain-storm and polish the messages she created for the retreat.

The Results:

Here’s what Amy shared with me and allowed me to share with you. It sounds like an incredible weekend–starting with a video teaching she created for their Friday night gathering.

amy b“Friday’s session with the varied topics about how God created us, chose us, etc was a near bust when I recorded it with my dog (remember she was in the intro?) and then she kept wanting in and out of the room. I had to edit the video where I was doing that and thought it would ruin everything, but as it turns out the girls LOVED those moments and said it felt very real.

Saturday when I showed up everyone was genuinely excited to have me there–I think it was actually kind of cool for them to see the video of me Friday night and then see me in person the next day.

Saturday morning was the session I was most nervous about and it ended up being the best out of all of them.  I was able to pracitially teach how to remain by read, pray and obey. I had one of the older girls come up to me afterwards and say it was so awesome. She has ADD and she can’t normally pay attention but she did. Many great, deep conversations were started in their small groups after that.

After the weekend, I heard all kinds of wonderful feedback–phenomenal, awesome, etc.

I know so much of that is the Holy Spirit stirring in them as they hear God’s word, but also, I appreciate your help helping me organize it for them to hear it clearly. The interactive stuff on Saturday morning really made the whole weekend.

Thank you again for your help–keep doing what you’re doing.”

~Amy Bennett, Speaker, blogger and host of Feathers podcast

Thanks so much, Nanette and Amy, for letting me know how God is using your gift and allowing me to share here!  If you’d like to do a FREE consultation to talk to me about how I might be able to help your speaking ministry grow, click here to fill out the form. I’ll be back with you as quickly as I can!
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