My Question: How have you established opportunities to speak in front of a crowd?


(Johnathan Melneek James) #1

Hi everyone,

I have been teaching on the scriptures for many years and I am looking to expand to more speaking opportunities, what suggestions or advice has God given you on the best way to do this? What has God shown you as far as what to charge for differing events?


(Warner Joseph Miller) #2

Hey there, Johnathan! First off…glad to have you, here, man! Welcome to CONNECT!

Secondly, with regard to your question, I can offer you some humble suggestions from my experience and what I’ve had the opportunity and privilege to observe in others.

Just a little background on myself, first, to build context. So, I’m one of a small group of moderators here on CONNECT. However, that’s been a fairly recent, endeavor. I’ve been serving as a youth minister at my fellowship in Brooklyn, NY where I teach, preach and have the privilege of leading young men and women for the last few years – ever since I completed my coursework studies at Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics in 2015. That, along with working as a professional artist, has (I’ve been told) given me a unique perspective. NOTE: NOT a unique perspective or interpretation on Scripture. Scripture stays Scripture. Orthodoxy remains orthodoxy. Rather, the application (orthopraxy) of Scripture and insight that comes along with being a young, Black, Christian male living in Brooklyn, New York City, who’s also a professional actor and youth minister with an evangelistic/Gospel proclamation bent – trained in and often incorporating Christian apologetics. All of that preamble to say this: YOUR unique background – whatever it may be – along with your ability to mine the Scriptures for all their worth and effectively & efficiently communicate them to others, will factor in on actual opportunities to speak. The deciding factor will ultimately be God’s calling and election to speak in and to particular contexts. However, the whole of your experience factors in. We see this from speakers and teachers ranging from Ravi Zacharias and the late Nabeel Qureshi and Billy Graham to Matt Chandler, Da T.R.U.T.H. (Emmanuel Lambert) and RZIM speaker Tanya Walker. Their unique backgrounds along with their handle and integrity of Scripture, ability to communicate, teach and offer practical application with regard to Scripture AND, OF COURSE, the HOLY SPIRIT’S qualifying, equipping and filling provoke a desire to hear what they have to say.

However, I would humbly caution this: although being granted opportunity to speak and teach in front of one person, let alone many, is a profound honor…I would heavily caution to NOT make this your absolute goal. Be honest with yourself as to why you aspire to this opportunity. And while you’re self-examining, be diligent in aspiring to be a man of integrity and a deep thinker; a loving and compassionate neighbor; a humble and Holy Spirit-lead leader; a perpetual student and follower of Jesus that has and maintains a healthy grasp of Scripture. (2 Tim.2:15) The stakes are extremely high with regard to those who teach.

“Not many [of you] should become teachers [serving in an official teaching capacity], my brothers and sisters, for you know that we [who are teachers] will be judged by a higher standard [because we have assumed greater accountability and more condemnation if we teach incorrectly].” ~ James 3:1 AMP

Lastly, when you get that first opportunity or two to share out of the overflow of what you’ve been learning, it has been my experience, that that speaking opportunity begets other speaking opportunities. When people begin to trust what you say, how it applies to their life and times and in many cases, observe the consistency, credibility and connection between how you live and what you teach…then folks may be more inclined to invite you to speak.

Again, that has been my experience…of which, I believe, is consistent with my understanding of biblical truth. I began life as a, kind of, Moses…at least, in this sense: stuttered, shy, not extraordinarily smart, in my opinion, and definitely had no plans or aspirations, starting out, to speak about anything!:smiley: But as I got older, got saved, walked with & learned of the Lord, found myself in situations and contexts where my Christocentric perspective was – believe it or not – needed, valued, sought after and inquired of…well…God did what He did and here I am. :man_shrugging:t6:

I truly hope that helps a little bit, brother. I’m sure (and I hope) others might chime in with wisdom that they’ve amassed with regard to your question. Much love, man! Grace and peace!

PS - I probably should’ve included this somewhere at the top. How do you establish opportunities to speak in front of a crowd? HAVE SOMETHING SUBSTANTIVE TO SPEAK ABOUT. That should be either 1A, 1B or 1C! There’s nothing worse than someone with influence and a platform to speak to the masses…but have nothing of value, worth or substance to say. Fill the ‘bank’ with good stuff and trust that God will give you the opportunity to pour it into whomever He wills.


(Johnathan Melneek James) #3

Warner,

I am blown away by how much time you took to craft this response. More impactful still is the depth behind it. It is a great reminder to keep God first.

A followup question if I may,

How has God revealed to you the balance between resting and trusting God and taking initiative and moving in faith?


(Warner Joseph Miller) #4

Hey man!! Thank YOU for enduring the lengthy read!:wink: And please forgive me for the delay in response.

With regard to what you asked:

In all transparency, the balance that I now have and, in all sincerity, am still pursuing in most of my endeavors can somewhat be summed up in this old saying:

“Work as if everything depended on you. Pray as if everything depended on God."

I try to be proactive in making sure I’ve done all I know to do to with regard to talk preparation but also with making known that I’m willing and available for speaking engagements. That’s the “work as if everything depends on you” part. As I’m doing all those things; making all those preparations, I’m ALSO trusting that God will do what He wills and I rest in His love and care of me. It’s very much in line with James 2:14,17-18:

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"My brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does nothing, his faith is worth nothing. Can faith like that save him? […] So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead). But someone will say [to you then], You [claim to] have faith, and I have [good] works. Now you show me your [alleged] faith apart from any [good] works [if you can], and I by [good] works [of obedience] will show you my faith [that is, by what I do].”

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Do ALL you know to do:

WORK
take initiative and move in faithful pursuit of the calling with humility and gratitude
• self-examine your motivations
• prepare
• study
• speak clearly

WHILE ALSO relying solely on God…

PRAY
trusting in and leaning/depending completely on God to direct you toward and provide the opportunities.
resting in His love and care of you AND for those who’ll serve.

I’m sure that none of this is necessarily “new news” for you.:wink: But keeping all this in mind, truly influences how you approach not only your speaking endeavors but most (if not, all) endeavors. Hope this helps, man. Grace and peace, bro.:v:t6: