I have yet to meet a student pastor who didn’t want to get better at teaching. Most would even admit to wanting to teach more students or having opportunities to speak outside of their group.
Some are content with speaking to the students they have, but want to get better at what they do.
Whether you have five students or five hundred, you can always get better at speaking. Watch the guys and girls who are totally rocking it and you’ll see a trend. They’ve done these four things and are intentional about it. If you want to get better, choose one of these tips and work on it on your next talk. You’ll get better and your students will appreciate it (and possibly, so will some adults in the crowd!).
Be a better speaker with these four tips:
Get rid of verbal crutches
I was listening to the radio the other day and a reporter was stumbling over their words like I did tree branches the first time I tried to run a cross country race. I started to count the number of times he said “um” and totally gave up listening to the rest of what he was saying.
A speaker who is paying attention to their craft knows that silence is better than filling the void with “um, uh, ya know, and stuff”. Be intentional with your words! If you’re lost in your notes or forgot where you were headed, don’t fill the quiet with mumbling. Use every phrase that comes out of your mouth on purpose.
Can you recap your talk in one sentence?
A speaker knows their message. You can get to the point of your message using lots of stories and weaving a cool web, but understand the “meat” of your message by boiling it down to one sentence.
“God has a purpose for your life.”
“Jesus died for sinners like us.”
“It’s up to us to share the Gospel.”
Make sure you can get the point of your message across in one sentence. If you plan that out before you write your talk, make sure your talk delivers. Have someone read it and tell you what they think your message is. If they get it, so will your students.
Video tape yourself, then watch yourself speak
This one is painful for me. But it’s the only way to ‘get outside of yourself’ to see what you do when you talk. Maybe you play with your watch. Maybe you adjust your glasses. Maybe your hands do things you didn’t even know about.
Watch yourself speak so you can become aware of your mannerisms. Then work on making sure what you do is intentional. Get rid of the nervous twitches and gestures. Move with purpose.
End your talk with actionable application
Don’t just end with, “Isn’t that cool? Ok, see you next week!” Give your students something to DO with the truth you just told them. Give them several suggestions.
And remember your audience. If you have only homeschool students, they probably can’t share Jesus with their classmates (unless their siblings need Jesus, but you get my meaning). Think about WHO is in your audience and tailor your application to THEM. Give them next steps. Have whatever they need to take those steps ready. Make it happen!
We have great truths from God to communicate to students. We teach every week. Let’s get better at it so students can grow in their faith and we can grow as communicators!