A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about preaching for the first time in a few weeks. Well, that day (July 27) is rapidly approaching. As I’ve begun framing my talk and pulling points and illustrations together, I’ve found an excitement increasingly growing in me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still really nervous! But my topic, living a lifestyle of worship, is something I’ve been passionate about for many years. You might say “no duh” because I’m a worship leader, which is true. But I’ve also found worship, both personal and corporate, has carried me through some tremendously hard times. It’s out of living and worshipping through good and bad times that this talk is taking form.
One of the resources I’m using to help me in communicating the message is Ted Talks videos, a popular series of sessions on a variety of topics. In a nutshell, a typical Ted Talk is a presentation that is less than 20 minutes in length and uses visuals and illustrations to communicate the topic. In many ways, the talks are similar to the messages given in most churches across the world. The presenter stands center stage with the audience seated facing him or her and video screens of varying sizes behind him. The primary differences I have noticed seem to be in the length and visual representation of the topic. I think the success of Ted Talks is a reason for communicators in the church to take a hard look at how they present their messages. We are a visual culture with short attention spans. Social media has altered how we consume information, usually taking the form of short bites that are interesting and engaging. I think it takes a talented individual to engage an audience for long periods of time with little use of visual illustrations. I am definitely not one of those people.
I think my greatest fear with speaking is that I won’t be engaging and therefore my message won’t be impactful. Every communicator, no matter the format (oral, written, visual, etc), has a desire for their message to impact the lives of those listening in some small way. And I’m no different. I’m thankful for the Ted Talks I’ve watched because they’ve enabled me to breakout of what I’ve known, which is how messages are typically delivered in church. Please know I’m not saying anything bad about them because they have been and will continue to be effective. I just know myself and that format doesn’t mesh with how I’m wired. So, I’ll borrow and steal from different sources and see what happens. What’s the worst that can happen?