Monday, August 25, 2014

Should You Speak at Your Weekly Meeting?

I just read an excellent article by Tim Casteel about why you should not speak at your weekly collegiate meeting. I agree with all his points (prep time, exposure to local pastors, etc). I also think there is too much emphasis on College Ministers being speakers or even preachers (yes; I think there is a difference.). My main concern about the emphasis of some on College Ministers as preachers is twofold. First, many are trying to be Louie Giglio....and they aren't! Second, a healthy College Ministry is much more than a weekly large group meeting. If your ministry becomes all about your speaking, it is too centered in one person and lots of very important things are not happening. Plus, it often collapses when that person leaves. It is not built for the long term

So, why should you consider speaking at your weekly meeting? You know your students best and know what questions and concerns they have. You can assign guest speakers different topics out of your knowledge. But, after years of doing that in our our large Lunch Program event, I know how often someone is assigned a topic they are not good with and it shows from start to finish.

Through a process over time, I became the speaker for our large group worship event. Then, some years ago, we had a speaker for our Back-2-School Retreat our students loved. I came up with the plan to have him come speak at our Thursday night event once a month. The thought was he is terrific; our students love him and we will reach even more people at those monthly "special events". I did not tell anyone, but in my mind I thought, if this goes like I think it will, I will raise the money to bring him in on a weekly basis next year.

A crazy thing happened....our attendance went down on the nights he spoke. I am not a better speaker. I know that! But, our students felt like it was not as personal. He was not with them on a daily basis. They could not stop him in the Student Center or campus food court and ask a question about last week's message....or... talk about that personal struggle in their own life.

No one knows your students like you do! No one is as available to them on a daily basis as you are. God uses that relationship.

My best friend in College Ministry who I talk to from 2 or 3 times a week to 2 or 3 times a day does not speak at his weekly event and he has one of the larger ministries in the country. So, it's not a right or wrong question. It is what fits your gifts and strengths and your situation.

Prep time is obviously an argument against your speaking weekly. That's why I always laid out a semester's worth of topics and a rough outline during the summer. Some say, "But, what if some immediate situation arises I need to speak to"? You can always change away from that planned topic and already prepared outline. Then, you have a spare!

Should you speak at your weekly event? The answer is a definite.....maybe!

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