“Public speaking terrifies me”

Teaching one of my sessions at Comm Lab 2019
Teaching one of my sessions at Comm Lab 2019

“Public speaking terrifies me.” That’s why one Cru staff member decided to attend Comm Lab last month. She admitted her fears on a short survey I sent to the 35 attendees to find out why they came and what they thought of the training. Here are a few encouraging responses:

“…the talks were so well done and applicable, and the drills were incredibly helpful. I loved that the focus was on the message that the Lord has for us to give, and not on how we might look good before an audience. (Though you communicated well that we are called to excellence–not perfection–because of whom we represent!) The coaching time was invaluable!”

(Becky, human resources for Bridges, Cru’s ministry to international students)


“I was an education major in college and took a preaching class in seminary, but the Comm Lab was definitely the most intense communication training I have experienced. I had previously been taught a lot of the things mentioned at the Comm Lab (eye contact, gestures, facial expressions, stage movement, etc.), but no one ever really demonstrated why they are important and held me accountable to improve. Comm Lab did that for me; the coaches stretched me and pushed me. Now I can take that with me as I continue to improve as a communicator.”

(Justin, college pastor)


“…I now have a helpful grid for things to look for and continue to improve on. I definitely improved over the course of a week but what’s most encouraging to me is that I feel equipped to continue growing…”

(Juice, Cru’s campus ministry)


“I have never been so locked in to a conference, soaking everything up like a sponge. I didn’t miss a single session, because it was not only extremely valuable but practical. Practicing skills after each session was crucial for me to learn and grow. The whole conference was so helpful. I will take those skills with me the rest of my life! I believe that it was the single best conference I could have attended for personal growth in communication skills.”

(Danella, college and mobilization director for a church)

 

Prayer and Praise:

  • Praise God for how He used Comm Lab
  • Ask Him to speak through those who were equipped at Comm Lab.

2019 Comm Lab

Our annual Comm Lab will be in Raleigh, NC from April 8-11. It’s another opportunity to watch God transform people (this time Cru staff members and local Christian leaders) as they grow in both skill and confidence in public speaking.

Please Pray:

  • That God will prepare the hearts of those attending Comm Lab. (As of today we have 36 registered; we’d love to have 40.)
  • That I (and the rest of the Comm Lab team) will rely on the Holy Spirit rather than our own strengths as we teach, coach, and run the event.
  • For safe travel and good health for all going to Comm Lab and for any of their family members back home. (I’m riding in a van driving there April 6 and returning April 12.)

Thank you for your prayers!

For more info see the Comm Lab website: http://commlab.strategic-initiatives.us.

Preparing Hearts to Hear from God

Photo by Jamez Picard on Unsplash

The four conferences I told you about in my last newsletter went well. The schedule was tiring, but I was energized to see God work in the lives of those I trained. Here are some encouraging comments from two of the Cru staff members I coached in our small group practices during Emcee Lab (the fourth conference).

Beau will emcee a large regional conference for students during winter break. He wrote this:

Emcee Lab was one of the most practical trainings that I have experienced during my time on staff. The speakers and coaches made it very easy to stay engaged and locked-in during the entirety of the weekend because they definitely had the expertise. The tips were all extremely useful, the heart behind being an emcee was valuable, and the communication drills helped me become a more complete public speaker.

Angela emceed a conference for Cru staff leaders last week. This is from an email she sent the other day:

…Thank you for your work during Emcee Lab! You set me up so well to do what we were trusting the Lord to do. I’m sharing this feedback with you as it’s almost word for word what y’all challenged and trained us to do! Thank you!!!

———- Forwarded message ———

… I wanted to just tell you what an AMAZING job you did as an emcee. You were gracious and poised and had such a presence up there. I really felt like you led us through the sessions as one firmly planted, journeying with others, and reliant on the Lord. Thank you for all of your work…I know that is a LOT of work. You did a fantastic job!!

Although Emcee Lab was the smallest of the four conferences, I believe it will have a big impact through the Cru staff members (and one student) who attended. Some will emcee at large conferences like Beau and Angela. Others will emcee (or teach students to emcee) at weekly large-group student meetings on their campuses. Whatever the event, each one of them will have the opportunity to set the tone of the gathering and prepare the hearts of the audience to hear from God.

I want to thank you for your partnership in ministry. You are helping me equip Cru staff members, students and others with communication skills that will amplify their impact for Christ!

Getting the Word Out

In an organization as large as Cru, some resources remain “hidden gems” unknown to many staff members. Our communication training resources (conferences and videos) fit into that category, so my teammates and I have spent the past several weeks planning and preparing ways to help get the word out within the Cru community.

  • We made a schedule for posting announcements to our in-house email newsletters and staff-only online bulletin boards.
  • We wanted a fresh, new look for our materials because we’ve used our previous designs for a long time. One of my teammates came up with a concept for a new logo for our conferences, and I finalized the design (below).

  • To help people mentally connect our events to one another, we tweaked the names. Comm Lab (the most well-known) remained the same, but Emcee Training became Emcee Lab and our 2-day communication training events (focusing on either delivery skills or story writing) are now called Comm Lab Clinics.
  • To create engaging content for our announcements, I edited video footage of testimonials about our training into seven “ads” of about 20 seconds or less. Here’s a link to the first one: https://vimeo.com/288213964.
  • I organized information on resources from my broader department (including our communication training) into a website. I also designed this sample one-page website (see screenshot below) that can be used as a template for anyone who hosts a Comm Lab Clinic.

While I was in “web design mode” I made some tweaks to this ministry website. I hope you like what you see!

Prayer Requests

  • For our announcements and website to be effective in reaching staff members (and their students) who can benefit from our training
  • For wisdom for me as I write and post the announcements
  • For MUCH wisdom for me as I write two talks I will give for the women of my church at our fall retreat September 28-29; the topic for the retreat is God’s grace

Thank you for your partnership and prayers!

Acts of Compassion Open Doors for the Gospel

At times I am asked to help with projects outside of my normal responsibilities. One was to help set up the registration website for a unique spring break mission for students. Traditional Cru spring break trips focus on evangelism at a beach or resort, but this one focused on service. Each week in March, a new group of students went to the Houston area to partner with churches and relief ministries to help rebuild after Hurricane Harvey. More than one thousand college students from 57 universities in 23 states gave 32,544 volunteer hours to repair damaged houses, demolish mold-infested homes and build new ones.

Here are the stories of two students who went on the Harvey Relief Mission.

Edgar’s Story

Edgar is a student at Indiana University (IU) who loves to cut hair. While building the foundations of a new home, Edgar met the homeowners, Pang and Kim. This Cambodian-American couple had been living in a corrugated tin roof shack ever since the floodwaters of Harvey destroyed their house. With the help of Google Translate, Edgar shared the gospel with his new friends. Both Pang and Kim committed their lives to Jesus on the spot. Edgar celebrated by giving Pang a haircut, and Pang and Kim celebrated by getting baptized later that week.

Pang, Edgar, IU staff member Brandon, Kim

Brittney’s Story

Today’s college student has a huge heart to show compassion and fight for justice, so 20% of those who served on the Harvey mission were not followers of Jesus. Brittney, for example, was one of the first students from Kansas State to sign up. During her week of hard work side-by-side with students who love Jesus, she began to yearn for God as she never had before. During the closing event for the week, the speaker asked the students to compare their personal lives to the homes they had repaired – perhaps looking good on the outside, but broken and even unlivable on the inside. He challenged them to surrender their lives to Christ, the only one who can fix broken lives. The Lord moved in Brittney’s heart, and she surrendered her life to Jesus that night.

It was encouraging for me to hear these stories of God at work through another part of Cru. I’m also glad I was able to help, even though it was only in a very small way. You, however, help me in a BIG way. Thank you for your partnership!

Please Pray…

  • For the gospel to continue to bear fruit from the Harvey Relief Mission.
  • For God to open up calendar spots this fall/winter for Emcee Training and for short versions of Comm Lab in East Asia (probably by video conference) and North Dakota.
  • For Comm Labs scheduled in 2019 in South Africa (February – and no, I’m not going on this trip) Raleigh, North Carolina (April) and Dublin, Ireland (November).

Thank you for praying!

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