I can still see myself as a young teenager in France sitting in church Sunday after Sunday at our afternoon Gospel meeting. When some of the pastors were giving the evangelistic message, I can remember thinking: “Does it have to be so long, so joyless, so dry? Can’t it be done differently?”
Over the years, after hearing speakers and preachers at all kinds of events, I have sometimes wondered if the one standing behind the pulpit really thinks that what he or she is preaching is the greatest news in the world.
Imagine for a moment that I have with me a most precious jewel. I want to give it to an old Christian lady who faithfully prays for me. It is the most expensive present I have ever given someone. I wrap the precious gift in an old newspaper. I visit the dear grandmother’s house, ring the bell and hand it to her: “It’s for you as a thankyou gift for all the years you’ve spent praying for me. You can have a look at it when I’ve left”. I wave her goodbye. The old woman is now holding a wonderful present but the presentation is of the worst kind.
In the same way, we have the greatest story ever told but so often, the way we present it is very poor.
How it is that rotten politicians, corrupt leaders, atheists and preachers of radical Islam have people listening to their talks all over the world, hanging on to every word they say.
Something is wrong.
The Church is called to celebrate the art of public speaking. God is looking to anoint disciples who are willing to stand up and speak out with clarity, boldness and creativity.
We can come out of the old ‘3 point sermons’.
We can rediscover storytelling.
Story telling was never meant to stay locked up in Sunday schools. Stories are still the most powerful tools to teach everyone, everywhere keys of the Kingdom.
Talented public speaking has more to do with conviction and passion than sound system and PowerPoint.
I have spent most of my life in public speaking; a path the Lord led me into when I was 12 years old. I have preached in all kind of places, from posh British universities to overcrowded Cambodian prisons. I have discovered that public speaking is still the greatest way to stir and challenge people’s hearts.
Since July 2016, I am passing on, coaching and praying for those who are also called to stand up and speak out the Gospel. There is a great number of potential talented speakers out there. They deserve to be recognized and encouraged.
Many of those speakers do believe the Gospel is the best story in the world but they are frustrated of not being able to get their audience to be fully engaged with them.
The first GospelTALK training course that I put together began at the YWAM School in Battambang Cambodia. Then overseas: France, Colombia, Malaysia…Each participant gets to prepare a simple, short but attractive Gospel presentation.
GospelTALK wants to equip God’s people to speak in such a way that people will want to listen till the end.
Each GospelTALK student learns how to communicate one key principle, one strong idea in his or her presentation.
In a world where computer screens, smartphones and social (or antisocial) media are taking over our lives, I believe public speaking is still the most effective means of communication. The popular TED Talks around the world are an example of how powerful public speaking is.
The Apostle Paul reminds us that it is ‘the preaching of the Cross that is the power of God to those who believe.’
From ‘theatrical’ Billy Sunday who preached to thousands across America without even a microphone, to Archange the uneducated Gypsy evangelist who attracted crowds in Paris, Gospel public speaking has never ceased to change lives and nations.