People often ask me how I come up with ideas for my speaking and writing ministry. The good news is, it’s easy! Today we’ll look at 7 ways you can find ideas for topics and presentations. (Thanks to my friend and worship leader, Jeff Hall, for sharing these ideas in a recent message at my home church, Westside Church.) As Jeff said, God gave us these experiences so we can use them to help others. And developing your speaking ministry is a powerful way to give to and help others!
1. Life experiences that matured you. This is by far the most used tool for a speaking ministry. My first presentation, given under duress and without any desire on my part, was how God saved my marriage and grew me in the process. My second topic, in which God required that I be equally transparent, was the realization that God had protected me from becoming an abusive mom. Those two experiences catapulted me into a deeper study of God’s Word and a search for all the ways He had matured me through the years. And the amazing thing is that as long as we’re searching and growing, we’ll never run out of things to talk about!
2. Pain that deepened you. What hardship and pain have you had to endure? Illness? The untimely death of one you loved? Poverty? Whatever that pain, it can be used for His glory. And we don’t have to find people who have experienced the exact same suffering. After all, whatever the pain, He is the answer.
3. Blessings of education that taught you. Regardless of what we’re trained to do, whether it’s a nurse, a teacher, an engineer, or a stay at home mom, we will learn from the training, as well as the job itself. How can you use the blessings of your professional or life-learned education to bless others through your messages?
4. Skills learned in the home or marketplace that trained you. Beyond the actual education and training, we learn life skills by simply doing our jobs. I learned how to write clearer emails by discovering that someone had misunderstood my intent. I learned the value of handwritten thank you notes by receiving them myself. I learned that it’s better to clean up a mess when it happens than to put it off until later. All of those lessons have been used in presentations in one way or another.
5. Passions that drive you. What drives you? Is it the desire to start a new ministry? Grow an established one? The study of God’s Word? Music? Theater? Writing? That passion can reach beyond our own personal desires and help others in reaching theirs. I have a passion for speaking, writing, theater, and music…and God has used each of those drives to allow me to speak and train others through presentations. What joy!
6. God-given gifts and talents that equip you. Yes, God promises that He has instilled gifts and talents into each of us, and He expects us to use them for His kingdom. It may or may not even be an actual personal passion, but it is a gift nonetheless. And as such, He wants us to use them in our topics, teachings, and heartfelt messages.
7. Love for people that inspires you. What has God taught you through His command to love others? Some of the best lessons I have learned and have been able to share from the stage or on paper have come out of a love lesson. Sometimes the loving part was easy. Other times it would have been impossible without God’s intervention. But that love and the lessons I learned through it can be used to teach others. Remember 1 Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter? Remember when it says love is patient? One of my most transparent presentations includes a time when I did NOT portray God’s picture of love. It’s a powerful message of how I fell from carrying the aroma of Christ to smelling like the devil himself…all in a matter of minutes. Another message shares a time God allowed me to love someone who, by most standards, was unlovable. And yet, through His power, I was able to shine Light into the darkness. By sharing my successes and failures in my walk with Christ, I’m able to share the hope, grace, and mercy that’s available through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. That love inspires me to reach out in love, even when it means being painfully real.
So there you have them, 7 ways you can search your own life and find the messages God would have you share from the stage and in your writing. What lessons is He nudging you to share today?
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…1 Peter 3:15
Grace and peace,
To find out how you can learn to begin or grow your speaking ministry, we hope you’ll check out the Christian Communicators Conference, coming August 28-September 1, 2013 at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Only 15 spots remaining!