Public Speaking Tip: Know Your Audience

It’s important when you’re speaking to an audience to know who makes up the audience.

This is an elementary public speaking principle.

I’ve been speaking for years…in school, business and ministry.

I know the principle. Most of the time I obey the principle.

Recently, though, I missed this.

I spoke to a group of 4 year old children. I told them the story of David and Goliath. It is one of my favorite stories, one I enjoyed acting out with my boys when they were young.

The problem this time. I forgot my audience.

I told the “whole counsel of God”. I shared the whole story.

Remember the part at the end…what David does to Goliath? It’s my favorite part.

He cut his head off.

Yep, I shared it. To the 4 year old children. My audience.

Have you ever seen the bright eyes of surprise on a 4 year old?

Yep, I saw them.

Yep, I heard from the teachers too. No parents yet.

Here’s an elementary public speaking principle:

Know your audience.

A Summary of Parenting Encouragement

Recently I preached a message on parenting. A man in the church took notes. In fact, he too great notes. He asked my permission to send his summary to a Boy Scout troop. I asked his permission to share his summary here.

A Summary of Parenting Encouragement

Of primary importance is to realize that as parent you have power over the child’s heart. The son likes to be “just like Dad”, the daughter plays “mommy” doing whatever her mother does, and little girls say “I am going to marry Daddy”. Take this fact very seriously.

First of all formulate a plan. What characteristics do you want your child to have, what beliefs, what do you want your adult children to be? It doesn’t have to be written but time must be taken to intentionally set goals and strategize. Don’t “fly by the seat of your pants”. The Bible says “train a child in the way he should go”.

Secondly, invest in your child. What you teach your child is what they will teach your grandchildren and so on for generations. Of primary importance is to develop character skills. This is the greatest return on investment, more important than anything else, even education. This doesn’t mean leave everything else out but you get back most where you invest most.

Thirdly, direct your child. Direction is probably the most lost fact in today’s parenting. The child has become the director. The child doesn’t know what they want or need. They are trying to know the boundaries. The parent knows what is best and what is needed. The parent knows what foods are needed, what rest is needed, the best use of time, what education means, etc. Direct the child when they are very young as you will not be able to gain control in the teenage years (at least it will be extremely hard). Remember, a child’s actions when they are young are their actions when they are adults. It is OK to say NO to a child. The goal is to establish control over the young child and gradually release it as they grow older. Remember you have a child for just a few years to train for a lifetime.

Fourthly, as the child grows older, let your influence become more of a factor in your child’s life. It is difficult to transition from direction to influence. Be sensitive to when a child is trying to direct and when he needs help in decision making (influence). Remember, you have power over the child’s heart, don’t push too hard. Be careful not to make an unimportant situation a primary battle of the household.

Lastly, model for your child what goals you have determined. Children see what their parents do and do the same. If you want your child to be considerate, be considerate, not rude. If you mistreat the restaurant server, why should you not expect your child to mistreat their teacher. Show your child what you want. Reflect on your actions and words to be sure these are what you want for your children. By the way, this doesn’t end for the rest of your life. You will always be a model for your children. (Also, we are a model or representative for any group that we may be a part. For instance, church members model what the church believes, rightly or wrongly.)

These are principles, not promises. Be intentional with your parenting, your marriage, your relationships. Pray for parenting skills all your life. Stop now and think about your parenting.

Here is the sermon from which he pulled these notes.

How to Have a Healthy Children’s Ministry?

This is a guest post by Greg Baird. Greg is founder of KidMin360. help churches build great children’s & family ministry. His passion is to assist children’s & family leaders to serve kids, parents, volunteers, staff & other leaders to their full capacity. Greg’s experience is gained over 20 years as a children’s pastor.

Here is Greg’s post:

How To Have A Healthy Children’s Ministry

Effective Children’s Ministry is critical to a healthy church. It impacts the church in all directions. Virtually everyone in the church is linked to Children’s Ministry in some way or another. Parents often judge their commitment (and attendance!) to the church based on whether their kids like the Children’s Ministry. And, of course, we all know the spiritual impact that can be made in the lives of children.

So how do we create healthy Children’s Ministry? Every church is different, every ministry unique, and it takes far more than a blog post to answer that question. However, here’s the framework of a model that I’ve found applies to each environment I’ve ever associated with over the past 25 years:

1. Establish a strong foundation. Focus on:

  • Vision that is effectively aligned with the overall vision of the church.
  • A commitment to strong leadership, not just functional administration.

2. Evaluate as a matter of habit. Focus on:

  • Systems, structures & processes that empower leaders.
  • Creating avenues of communication between staff & within Children’s Ministry.

3. Embrace spiritual formation. Focus on: 

  • Creating a purposeful plan beginning at birth.
  • The centrality of the Gospel in all teaching.

4. Equip others to do the work of the ministry. Focus on:

  • Equipping parents to disciple their own children.
  • Developing leaders (not just followers) to assume responsibility for ministry.

5. Engage children for life change. Focus on:

  • Environments that capture their imagination.
  • Methods that capture their heart.

Is it simple? Yes. Is it easy? No. Children’s Ministry is the single most complex department in the church. No other ministry reaches or involves so many individuals or impacts so many other departments, targets such a broad audience developmentally, requires such intense oversight, or is liable for so many risks.

But no other ministry can spiritually impact at any deeper level than children’s ministry. The spiritual outlook of a person is formed in the early years, and studies show that 85% of those who accept Christ will do so between the ages of 4 & 14.

A healthy Children’s Ministry is critical to a healthy church.

What would you add for creating healthy Children’s Ministry?

For more help with children’s ministry, in the areas of staffing, coaching, training, development or resources, check out the KidMin360.

Waiting for Daddy!

Kid and time, concept

When our two boys were in elementary school, and actually wanted us to, Cheryl and I tried to go to lunch with them once a week, unless we were traveling for business. They loved it because there was a special seating section for visiting parents, and usually we brought them lunch. (I think that was the real attraction. :) )

Nathaniel was probably in about first or second grade. He was less the socialite of our son Jeremy so he always looked forward to me coming each week. These were some of our favorite hangout times.

On one particularly busy week, it was Friday and I still hadn’t gone to lunch with him. It was an exceptionally busy morning also and I got distracted from the time. When I realized how late it was, it was questionable if I could get there in time for lunch. I knew Nathaniel would be disappointed if I didn’t show up, so I left quickly for the school as fast as I could.

When I got to the school, I went straight to the cafeteria, as it was midway into his lunch period. To my surprise, Nathaniel wasn’t with the rest of his class. I went to his room and found his teacher. She told me Nathaniel was in the office. He was waiting for me.

Nathaniel had refused to go to lunch with his class. (He could be quite stubborn at times.) Nathaniel insisted to his teacher, “I know my daddy is coming today. He hasn’t been yet this week.”

He had that much confidence in his father.

I have thought about that story many times through the years. It’s been a consistent reminder to be the best father I can be and to never lose the respect or confidence of my sons.

It also had a spiritual implication for me.

If only I always had that much confidence in my Heavenly Father.

He is the perfect father. Always. He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me. He’s promised to work all things for my eventual good. He’s committed to counting the hairs on my head. I can surely trust Him. My Heavenly Daddy will come.

Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Isaiah 35:4

Are you waiting for God?

Keep waiting.

Your father will arrive. You can trust Him!

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

My mom is my hero.

She’s the most gracious, forgiving, patient person I know.

My mom raised 3 children mostly as a single mom. My dad finished life well, (I wrote about that HERE) before dying a couple years ago, but to fully understand my life, you would have to know that for much a my life, my dad was an absentee father. That put a huge burden on my mom. Some of you know the hardship of the single mom, and it’s one I never take lightly. My mom sometimes worked as many as three jobs, but honestly, I never remember her not being home.

She kept our house immaculate, she cooks better than anyone I know, she can sew, cross-stitch, and raise a garden. She is grounded in tradition, but she’s loving Facebook. My mom mothered the neighborhood and the people with whom she worked. She’s never met a stranger and she has no enemies. My mother is growing in her faith even in her 70’s. She loves God passionately and boldly and prayed my father and sister back to Jesus. (I’m fairly confident she’s praying for me too.)

My mom rocks!

My mom has taught me what unconditional love and support looks and feels like in a human sense. Regardless of what I’ve done or where I’ve gone in life, one person is always my biggest supporter.

Thanks mom! I love you! Happy Mother’s Day!

Words can never express…

When the boys were at home…

I remember when the boys were at home.

The house was loud.

There were endless hours of them performing “shows” for us. Of course, we had to “love them”.

Balls were constantly flying through the air.

The floor was used as a wrestling ring.

Every night was filled with a practice or ballgame.

We had little “free time” for ourselves.

Clothes were left lying on floor.

The toilets weren’t always flushed. :)

The boys usually didn’t help around the house unless forced to do so.

They left the top off the toothpaste.

They didn’t want to go to bed on time.

They didn’t want to get up in the morning.

I hated science projects.

They had lots of science projects.

They really did take a lot of our time.

In some ways, they cramped our style.

They certainly altered our plans.

I miss those days.

Still have kids at home?

Don’t neglect the good days.

You’ll miss them.

BTW, tell me about your kids at home. How many? How old? I’d love to pray for them with you!

Start With You

When you’re having trouble communicating…

When you can’t get children to respond appropriately…

When your team isn’t cooperating…

When the marriage is struggling…

Before you address the problem with the other person…

Ask, “What’s wrong with me?”

First…

What in you needs changing?

In what ways are you contributing to the problem?

How could you communicate differently?

Before you address the problems with others…

Look inside yourself…

Obviously, as a child of God, we start with God, allow Him to examine our hearts and shape us into His image, but in my experience, we often we look at the other person first…and think it’s all about them. I think we have a responsibility to humbly consider our own shortcomings. Many times, if we will look at ourself, we’ll either find the problem or we’ll find a better way to address the problem.

Get to know the person in the mirror…

Before you criticize others…

Could this principle change the way you lead?

People Don’t Know What They Don’t Know

It’s a simple principle – but oh so important to remember.

It’s a principle true in leadership and life.

People don’t know what they don’t know

It’s hard to hold an employee accountable for something they never knew.

You can’t expect your spouse to remember things you never told him or her.

It’s hard to be disappointed no one comforted you in your pain if they didn’t know you were hurting.

Your child can’t live up to a standard you never set.

People don’t know what they don’t know

If you want them to know -‘don’t assume they do -‘tell them.

Stained Glass Windows: A Story of God’s Providence from Daniel Doss

My good friend Daniel Doss gets real and vulnerable to share how his popular song “Stained Glass Windows” became a song. (Daniel helped plant Grace Community Church as our first worship pastor.) If you’ve ever struggled to understand the hand of God, watch this:

To download the song, click HERE.

Thank you Daniel!