Christian speakers inspire and motivate people to live their best life. Speaking to a Christian audience is, in some key ways, no different from speaking to general audiences. You have to get their attention, you have to filter them for their areas of interest, you have to speak in such a way that your main point impacts their areas of interests or needs regardless of what these are, and you have to, in some way or level, call them to action. These elements are required regardless of whether you are talking to a Christian audience or a convention of bakers and any audience in between. These key elements must be present for your speech to truly motivate and encourage people. The seven keys to effective speaking for Christian speakers listed below incorporate these classic public speaking elements and taps their power for increased effectiveness when speaking to Christian audiences.
Key Number 1: Don’t exclude by ‘keeping it real’
If a Christian speaker wants to truly motivate his or her audience, the speaker must not approach the speech from the perspective of a person preaching to the choir. When you are preaching only to the ‘saved,’ you are ignoring the reality that even though we claim victory over sin and death through Christ’s death, many of us are still caught in the tentacles of guilt and shame and haven’t fully turned over our lives to Jesus Christ. In short, we are still Mary Magdalene inside and listening to a speech by the ‘saved’ directed to the ‘saved,’ isn’t ‘real’ enough for us. The effective Christian speaker must approach the speech from the perspective that everyone in the audience is still seeking Christ and still have lots of unanswered questions in their daily struggle to walk with Jesus. By approaching Christ from the eyes of a sinner and a contrite heart yearning to be filled with Christ’s comforting Spirit, you can more easily capture the attention and, more importantly, the imagination of the audience.
Key Number 2: Make it personal
Most people, whether Christian or not, would rather see a sermon rather than hear one. It’s one thing to talk about Christ’s ability to turn broken and fallen people into His powerful transformed witness, it’s another to genuinely embody such transformation. Regardless of how exemplary your life is, there is at least one area in your life where a close walk with Christ transformed you. After all, as Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians teaches us, beholding Christ’s word like beholding a mirror never fails to change us and transform us. People are more apt to truly listen and, more importantly, absorb a motivational speech when they see the practical consequences of the ideas in the speech.
Key Number 3: Everyone needs Jesus
When you look out at your audience, you might see people in smart business suits, polished outfits, and the best attire. Beneath it all, people are starving spiritually and wearing their rags of unrighteousness yearning to wear Christ’s glorious robes of righteousness. Everyone has space in their hearts for Christ’s peace. This is why your motivational talk must address the common needs everyone has. Everyone needs to be loved. Everyone needs to be reassured. Everyone needs to be told that everything will be okay. As Revelation teaches us, we are living in the Laodicean Age where the church and its members seem like they have it all together. In reality, we are all naked, starving, poor, and wretched. A really motivational and inspiring speech hits on this deep and persistent inner hunger for calm and deep spiritual peace.
Key Number 4: No person’s needs are unique
Whatever separates the Christian speaker from the audience, whether it be language, culture, color, ethnicity, income level, or background, the speaker must remember that there is no such thing as unique needs. That’s right-we are all the same inside with a fixed range of needs and emotions. In short, the speaker should craft his or her speech in a way that reduces seemingly nuanced or specific needs into more universal needs. For example, the fear of losing one’s home to foreclosure is not much different from the fear of being kicked out by your landlord because you can’t come up with this month’s rent. In short, the speaker must think in terms of root common causes when surveying the range of needs his or her speech will focus on. From these root common fears, worries, and pain, Christian speakers should list nuanced examples briefly and quickly. This clearly communicates to the audience that the speaker gets their situation and can connect their situation to a larger subset of needs felt by others. No one leaves the speech feeling overlooked or ignored.
Key Number 5: Jesus is the Solution
Now that the Christian speaker has emotionally fused with the real world needs and angst and yearning of the audience, the next step is to connect the audience’s needs with the solution: Jesus Christ. This should be done in as personally engaging a way as possible. It is not enough to rattle off summations of Bible stories followed shortly with citations from the Bible. This won’t register. The audience must relate, at the heart level, with Jesus’ power to solve their deep inner spiritual hunger and thirst with his Grace. This means you need to relate the relevant Bible passage in a vivid and palpable manner. Make it real by conveying the sights, the smells, the sounds, and the emotional urgency of the story to drive home its emotional impact. Make the audience put themselves in the shoes of the leper who realized he was healed or Mary Magdalene who lifted her head up from the dirt ground to see her that her stone-wielding accusers have melted away or any of the many other flesh and blood people in the Bible who have had their lives renewed by their contact with Jesus.
Key Number 6: Focus on the easiness of surrender
Christian speakers who successfully motivate and inspire audiences time and time again are able to predictably deliver rousing and life-changing speeches when they focus on the key truth of Scriptures: real change and real liberation are only possible through a total surrender to Christ. Since we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus, this frees us from having to work to achieve our liberation. We only need to say YES to Christ. He, according to Philippians, will do the rest. He will not only cover us with His blood so we escape the judgment of Death that sin brings, He also changes our heart, on a day to day basis, so that we can escape the power of temptation and sin. In short, surrendering and saying YES to Jesus gives Jesus the permission to change us from within. This is easy because there is no human work, penance, or mortification involved. Just one word: YES…
Key Number 7: Call to action: Jesus IS the Prize
While many people believe in Jesus because they want to go to Heaven, the real treasure of surrendering one’s life to Jesus is Jesus himself. He, his life, and his example is the reward. Surrendering to Him helps us transform our lives. Our hurts, our unforgiveness, our guilt, our anger, and our inner wounds are transformed not for our own selfish benefit but because our lives have become the canvas on which Christ can draw other people to Himself. In short, by surrendering to Christ, we become part of Christ’s plan to draw and convert the rest of the world. Heaven is great. Healing is grand. But Jesus himself is the prize. You must emphasize this central reality to call the audience to action to turn their lives into living banners for Jesus’ message. From filthy rags held aloft, Christ’s grace transforms our lives into bright banners we can proudly wave for the Son of Man who loved us first. Make this emotional and intellectual crescendo the punctuation point for your call to action to the crowd.
Use the seven keys above to move your audience to action. Just as Jesus healed sick, troubled, and broken people so they and others could see God’s righteousness through their healing, Christian speakers can draw more people to Christ by speaking to the deeply common and all too human needs of the audience.
Robert Moment is a life coach, speaker and author of several life-changing books including, Christian Youth: Its Cool to Believe in God for Love, Acceptance, Friendship , Protection and Direction. Robert loves people and enjoys helping them. Robert specializes in maximizing human potential for happiness, purpose and success. Visit http://www.AChristianYouth.com and sign-up for the FREE 5 Day e-Course titled, Christian Youth: Be Inspired to Live for God.