As youth pastors and youth workers we have the opportunity to impact young lives every time we speak to a group of teenagers.
How we carry ourselves, our tone of voice, and how relevant our message is will often determine how students will view us.
Unless, we draw teenagers in and capture their attention, we run the risk of them totally tuning us out. A well-prepared message also needs a well-prepared delivery.
The good news is there are ways to become a better communicator. Check it out!
1. Watch Your Body Language
Many times our posture and facial expressions can represent or misrepresent how we are feeling on the inside. Our body is constantly giving signals to those watching, without us even knowing. Using the right body language can make your audience comfortable and personable!
Always look your audience in the eyes. Doing this speaks honesty and helps keep you on their level. Try not to be serious all the time, allow funny moments, and always smile – a smile is encouraging!
Some people prefer to stand behind a podium and deliver their message directly from their notes. Doing this often creates a barrier between you and your students and can come off as stale and not personable.
Try stepping outside the podium. Walk around and express your points with gestures. This will help engage your audience while creating energy and a more personable atmosphere.
2. Be Interactive
Students thrive on a message that allows them to be a part of the sermon. Most teenagers like to move around and even have a chance to speak out. This is also a good technique to help them remember and recall important points.
One great way of doing this is using BIG ILLUSTRATIONS! Have students act out a bible story that is relevant to your message. The more exaggerated, the better!!
Use props, silly clothing, and have them do outrageous things to help bring that passage to life. Teens tend to remember funny things – therefore they will remember the message.
Also, be unpredictable and spontaneous. The same material, order of service, and atmosphere can get old fast – in a teenager’s world. Try using video clips and music to enhance your service and message.
I like to find a good short story from a book and share it over a compelling instrumental track to help sell the point. It works every time!
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
As the age old saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” This couldn’t be any truer for you as a speaker. Without practice, your communication skills can not grow and become increasingly effective.
The truth is as youth pastors and youth workers we are held to a higher standard. As James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers because you know that we who do teach will be judged more strictly.”
It is important for us to improve our speaking skills for the purpose of better communicating the word of God.
Simple things like practicing in front of a mirror, listening to your recorded lessons, or even rehearsing in front of someone are all good ways to improve.
Many times, I preach my entire sermon to myself at least three times before I ever get up to preach to students. It helps to get the entire message down into my heart.
4. Stick To Your Passion
Teenagers possess a gift of being able to distinguish quickly whether someone is real or not. They can tell if you know what you are talking about, if you have prepared, and if you are passionate about your message or topic.
Try to stick with the things you are most passionate about. These things will naturally flow out of your heart with zeal and excitement. Students will follow after something you are really excited about.
If you are passionate about the cross, find a way to bring the points of your message back to the cross. It will help you bring energy to your sermon and more easily convey the truth to your audience.
I believe we should work to show ourselves approved not only in knowing the word, but also in communicating it. This is vital to our calling, because we carry the message of hope. Let us do it with confidence and clarity, with the goal of seeing people saved and lives ultimately changed.
Question: What are things that have helped you to become a better speaker?