This post was something I originally posted on my own Facebook page as some raw thoughts on youth workers asking me how to get into the speaking game. I was asked by the DYM blog people to make it into a blog post with a little bit of added commentary. So here you go.


I am going to talk about speaking and teaching a bit here.

I am only doing so because I feel like this is one of the top 5 questions I get asked from other youth pastors and I have been asked about how to get in the speaking circuit quite a few times in the last 3 weeks.

So I thought I’d share some thoughts. Young leaders. Listen up. Old leaders. Listen up. This is for those of us (let’s be honest it’s most of us) see the sexy side of the ministry and want to do it.  So here we go:

Be called. Do you, and others who love Jesus more than they love you, affirm you are called to teach.

Don’t be a tool. When looking for someone to speak, a majority of the time I want to partner with someone with who I like. Character and heart trumps talent almost every time (I mean they have to be decent for sure) As you meet people, be a guest, have a good reputation and people will recommend you to others. Added into this, which no one talks about really, there is the networking side. You have to network and know people and put your stuff out there, but there is a fine balance of REALLY putting your stuff out there and letting others know you feel a calling. Plus we all know and see when people are doing it. Like most of anything, it’s about who you know and when you meet people and they like you, they are more likely to invite you. So don’t be a tool.

To start, say yes to everything. Nothing is beneath you. Christian clubs. FCA. Friend’s ministry. Free stuff. doesn’t matter if you get paid. doesn’t matter if it’s for 10 kids or 1,000 kids. Say yes (this is how you network organically) and not over do it. You’re not good enough to be picky when you begin. Sorry, it’s the truth.

Hint (might be personal preference): don’t be the guy/girl when someone asks for speaker recommendations who says, “I will!” “Pick me”. Maybe it’s just me, but I never have asked to speak anywhere. All have come from invitation because we were friends or I was recommended by a friend who thought I would be a good fit for someone else.

Be good at what you do. You can be good and a tool and no one will want you. You can be cool and not be a good teacher and same thing. Practice your craft. Don’t be other teachers. Learn from others of course. But don’t be Andy Stanley, Steven Furtick, Carl Lentz, Judah Smith or whatever hot teacher is out right now. Be you.

Stop trying to “make it”. This boils my blood. I put my head down and loved my ministry, my leaders and students. I posted teaching re-caps of messages to minister to them, not to show others what I can do. Do well to minister at home and God can expand the reach outside of it. If you are trying to “make it”… people can tell. Stop it.

If you are good at what you do, are good to be around and humble… people might start to invite you.

The question is…

If you never were asked to speak anywhere besides the ministry you are in right now, would you be discouraged? Why?

If it doesn’t happen, would you keep doing what you are doing?

My guess is probably so.

So keep ministering well at home and leave your influence and exposure to God and your character and personal responsibility to you. Just be faithful to where you are at.

And see what happens.

Thank you for loving and serving students the way you do.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.