“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.
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.
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 praying for the Pennsylvania Worship Arts Weekend! As always, I loved watching God weave together the various strengths and experiences of our staff team into a tool to encourage growth in the students. Each student band had two or three of us helping them with music, sound, and communication. As the communication coach for one band, my job was to encourage them in their stage presence and expressiveness.
My favorite moment in rehearsal came after my band had worked hard on both the music and communication of one of their songs. Scott, the music director I was paired with, walked up to each music stand and swiveled it around so the students couldn’t see their song charts. They reacted as you would expect, with groans and anxious faces. But Scott made them play the song anyway…and to their surprise they made very few errors.
Then Scott had them play it again from memory. He encouraged them to focus on worshipping God instead of on the music this time, because they already knew the music. The transformation was wonderful! I watched their tension melt away as they began to freely express their love for Jesus in their faces and body language. And what’s more, their music was more expressive, too!
You can watch a recap video of the Pennsylvania Worship Arts Weekend below. (And yes, I’m in it briefly!)
Please pray that the students will continue to apply what they learned at the Worship Arts Weekend, not only in music and communication but in spiritual things like dealing with sin and walking faithfully with God. Thank you for your prayers!
In December and January, thousands of college students across the US attend Cru Winter Conferences during their winter breaks. Each conference is crafted to help students move toward God, toward others and toward a life well-lived for Christ. The one thing we hear the most from attendees all over the country is: “God changed my life at winter conference.”
I worked at the conference in Indianapolis, which was held between Christmas and New Year. I was part of the tech team, running lyrics and speaker slides on the big screens. And yes, as you can tell if you look closely at the picture, I was sitting behind the screens seeing everything in reverse. :-)
Over 1500 students attended this conference and participated in a day of outreach when they partnered with local churches to distribute food boxes in the inner city of Indianapolis. These “boxes of love” opened doors for conversations about Jesus. In a nutshell, here’s what happened:
Praise God for what He did in these lives!
This coming weekend (February 22-24) I will be on the teaching & coaching team for another of our Worship Arts Weekends. College students involved in musical worship for weekly Cru meetings on their campuses will come to a church camp in western Pennsylvania to learn and grow in both art and heart. Although these conferences are much smaller than Cru’s winter conferences (currently 29 students are registered), God still works in big ways.
Please pray for me as I coach and teach:
I will coach one student band in communication skills, encouraging them to apply the principles l will teach in my session on communication in leading worship.
I will also teach a session on a Biblical view of excellence, especially as it relates to worship leading.
During the breakout sessions, when students attend clinics related to their specific skills, I’ll teach about running lyrics and media.
Please pray that God would prepare both my heart and the hearts of the students for what He wants to do in our lives.
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!