by Kevin Burton
Not all Christians need to major in public speaking. But does the Bible not require at least a minor?
You’ve heard the one about people fearing public speaking more than death? That makes being in the casket at a funeral preferable to giving the eulogy.
And yes, there is the trueism that actions speak louder than words. But sometimes we need the words.
Welcome to a seventh-period Public Speaking class at the Earthly School for the Spiritually Blind.
We invented this school because spiritual blindness is a much more dangerous condition than the partial physical blindness I was born with.
Today we focus on public speaking because Jesus told us to. Bible scholars call it the great commission. It is found in Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV).
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Our Daily Bread Ministries offers the class “Introduction to Public Speaking.” It teaches people to get on stage and effectively present some aspect of the gospel.
Imagine you are in the audience of such a talk and there is an intermission. A non-believer seated next to you asks a question, “I’m a pretty nice guy. I take care of my family, mind my own business. Why do I need Jesus?”
You are not on stage but your public speaking minor now comes into play. The apostle Peter put it this way.
“..always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…” 1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV).
If that seems a daunting task, here’s some help from www.gotquestions.org on how to witness and why we should make the effort.
“We are commanded to be bold for Jesus (Eph. 6:19), so we may simply have to persevere, one step at a time,” the website reads.
“Our Lord shared the gospel with many different people. He understood Nicodemus and the woman at the well, and He used that knowledge in drawing them to Himself,” the website reads. “Our approach should also be personally tailored.”
The apostle Paul did a masterful job of speaking to unbelievers on Mars Hill in Athens (Acts 17: 22-28). He learned a little bit about the background of his audience and spoke to their concerns.
Paul didn’t convert all those people but he spoke up and we are to speak up as well.
“A study of the Gospel of John will show that the key to successful witnessing is love,” the website reads. “Jesus loved people to the point of accepting the cross and separation from the Father.”
“With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can learn to love people more. When we do, we will be more motivated to share the gospel, since our desire to save people from eternal punishment will grow.”
“The Holy Spirit will open doors for us by convicting people of their sin and stirring up a desire for salvation, and He will arrange for our paths to cross. Our job is simply to speak with people and explain that salvation is available to every sinner,” the website reads.
“One method to consider is to prepare and memorize a simple testimony of what Jesus did for us, and this should include several keywords,” the website reads. “We also should memorize a few key verses that relate to the gospel and to our testimony. Then, when any one of our keywords arises in a conversation, in a context that can be related to the things of God, we can discuss our testimony or recite a verse and explain the meaning.”
“If we are asked any relevant questions, we can proceed with the confidence that the Holy Spirit has opened a heart. If the other person expresses no interest, we can simply continue the original conversation without anxiety. At the very least, we will have planted a seed.”
Class notes, seventh period, Public Speaking: Jesus left us with the command to spread the gospel to all the world. You don’t have to be a master orator to do this. You need a heart yielded to God, a preparation and willingness to speak up. From there we watch for the work of the Holy Spirit.
One for the spiritual road: Moses was a very poor speaker, but God gave him the means to get His message across.