Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Power and Phobia of Public Speaking in Ministry

“I know that men are won over less by the written than by the spoken word, that every great movement on this earth owes its growth to great orators and not to great writers.”

The above statement, written by a renowned leader, is a strong declaration on the power of public speaking. He wrote the words in his autobiography, where he outlined his ideology and plans. So even as he wrote, he confessed his speaking would make a bigger impact than the words he was writing.

The autobiography is Mein Kampf, and the leader was Adolf Hitler.

Hitler’s speaking gift and skill were horribly misused, and the end results were sinful and heinous. For a ruthless and ruinous agenda, he was able to galvanize people through speaking. His speeches deeply altered human history. Hitler did not take his speaking opportunities lightly. He honed the craft, working hard on both the content of his messages and their delivery. His colleague Joseph Goebbels observed Hitler working on speeches late into the night and speaking them into the typewriter to get the rhythm and cadence right. Heinrich Hoffmann captured photographs of Hitler practicing his hand and arm gestures.

While movements are launched and sustained through spoken words, many people are terrified of speaking. While some use public speaking as a powerful tool, it is terrifying to others. Spoken words may launch and sustain movements, but a plethora of people experience anxiety even imagining standing in front of a group of people to deliver a message. The Washington Post, for example, reported that more Americans fear public speaking than heights, bugs, and drowning.

For the purpose of destroying a people, Hitler approached his speaking with great intensity and intentionality. How much more should those of us who speak in ministry contexts value our speaking for the purpose of exhorting and equipping a people? Here are three thoughts about the power and phobia of public speaking in ministry.... Read More

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