School of Innovative Youth Ministry
Week 5 – Communication & Public Speaking

This week we learned a lot about communication and the components that are a part of it. I learned that actual communication is what occurs when there is response to one’s speaking or writing – for example, I can write this blog update, but it only becomes true communication when I receive a response from my readers.

Over the week we had to prepare a presentation to give on the last day of lectures; I was pretty excited about what I was putting together to share. One thing about me: I really enjoy public speaking, but it makes me crazy nervous – my hands shake pretty violently and my stomach feels tight and nauseous. It’s the worst.

During the week, our speaker was talking about different reasons why people avoid public speaking or why it makes them nervous; we discussed things like fear of what others think or of making mistakes. The one thing that stood out to me was when he mentioned that people often feel like what they have to say isn’t important or worth hearing. This challenged me a lot and I realized that the main reason why I become such a nervous mess before I speak publicly, is that I don’t actually believe that people want to hear what I have to say. So after class of Thursday, the day before we had to present our teachings, I spent some time with God and asked him to show me what he thought about the things that I had to share. It was incredible – as I asked him about what I was speaking on he reminded me of stories and things to add to my teaching and when I would go over my notes I got more ideas of how to make it more relatable and real.

Friday came quickly and soon it was my turn to jump up and share my story. Immediately I noticed something – my hands weren’t shaking. I got up to the front and spoke and barely even had to refer to my notes. My mind was fresh with what I had planned out and my words flowed smoothly. It was probably one of my favourite times I’ve ever spoken or taught. I had spent some time praying in the morning and God just reminded me that what I had to share was important and that people needed to hear it, even if it was just a practice assignment.

Skip ahead about three weeks and we needed a volunteer to teach at our weekly youth program. Almost as soon as they asked if anyone would like to, my hand was in the air and ideas were running through my mind. Within a week I found myself on a stage in front of a substantially sized group and teaching with passion and excitement. As soon as I walked down the stairs I looked at my friend, who is also one of my school staff, and smiled and said, “I didn’t shake.” She looked back and said that she had noticed that my hands were still. As the evening went on a few people came up to me and thanked me for what I had shared about and that it had really spoke to their hearts.

Ultimately, God showed me that I have thoughts worth voicing and a voice worth hearing.

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