My Philosophy & Strategy of Preacher/Speaker/Teacher Coaching
Nothing matches the power of spoken word. Our culture is inundated with a multitude of messages — talking heads, podcasts, YouTube, Ted Talks, and more — yet people are drawn to a real moment in a room with a real person, giving a real message. In an information age where everything is instantly available, we find that we are long on content but short on the inspiration that comes from a personal connection with a speaker who is in the room and able to interact in real time.
Like anything that matters, speaking to groups requires a certain skill set and ongoing development to master. The finest communicators in the world consider themselves lifelong students of communication, seeking to not to merely talk but to connect with an audience. Ideas are shared, imaginations sparked, and whole trajectories are changed when a speaker hits home. Every speaker wants to do this, but it’s never as easy as it looks.
The prophets, poets, and preachers through time have spoken a word that, no matter how well it was received (or outright rejected), connected in a human way that can’t quite be replicated online. God calls men and women to preach from an ancient text enlivened by an eternal Spirit and centered on Christ. We are those who speak the Word made flesh, not of our own power but of the Kingdom. If you are called to preach, God has given you the passion, the context, and the gifts to connect with a spiritually hungry world.
As much as we’d like to just sit back and let the Holy Spirit do all the work, we who preach know that we must continually develop our craft, sharpen our skills, and “fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Timothy 1:6). Intentionally working on our skill as a preacher/teacher is an act of stewardship and, ultimately, an act of worship. We’re saying, “God, I recognize that you’ve called me, now help me grow.” I believe God really loves it when we pray like that.
My coaching approach:
My primary goal with you is to help you find your voice within your unique context. In other words, I’m not going to give you a proven system or formula that countless people have used over the years, nor am I going to teach you how to preach like I do. Instead, I take a journey with you as we work together on developing your style so that you can connect with the congregation and community that God has called you to serve. Along the way, I listen, encourage, challenge, and support. Your role is to be reflective, open, and ready to grow as a communicator. That means that every case and approach is unique, customizable, and geared toward helping you.
What business do I have putting myself out there as a preaching coach? I’d be asking that question, too! Listen, I’m no expert on this. However, I am passionate, and there are some skills I have that can help you grow as a preacher.
- I started speaking on a regular basis in 2002 and haven’t really stopped. However, with my young family and a daughter with special needs, I often have to decline invitations to speak. Rather than sit around until our life situation changes, I want to keep contributing to the Kingdom by helping those who continue to speak.
- I’ve taught college speech classes since 2009. Most people dread public speaking, which presents quite a challenge for me as an instructor. Over the years, I learned how to create an environment of encouragement and challenge that allows students to spread their wings, try new approaches, and simply get better at speaking to groups.
- I’m a lifelong student of communication. I plan on us learning from each other.
- I’ve spoken to huge groups (2,000+) and small groups of 3-4 people. I’ve learned that every group, no matter the size, has a unique dynamic that needs to be understood in order to connect. In other words, no matter how many, I can show you the next steps to take.
- I love pastors, and what a strange bunch we are! I enjoy every opportunity I get to encourage and serve pastors by nudging them toward something greater.
- I did morning drive-time radio for so long that I can’t help but think about traffic and weather every 10 minutes or so. I can talk and talk, but that doesn’t mean I should just say whatever. Every word counts, and I can help you make it count. If nothing else, you can always get a reliable forecast from me.
- Sermon delivery is remarkably mysterious yet so very fun — a one of a kind experience that isn’t quite like anything else because of how God uses people like me to connect with people like these. The art of the sermon is a sacred act that can change the world.
- I have people in my life who help me see my blind spots when it comes to speaking. I know from experience that sometimes all you need is someone on the outside looking in to say “you know, if you tried this, it might make a big difference…” I’d like to be that for you.
- When I work with people on their speaking, I lose track of time and get zapped with lots of energy, which tells me that I must really be wired for this!
- Enough people have asked me to do this that it’s time I took it as a serious part of God’s calling on my life. That you would allow me to serve you like this is a gift to me.