Messages are extremely important in any ministry. I do not know in what place of importance they are in the grand scheme of things for your ministry, however they are an important element. Because of this, making sure you are well trained and equipped to give a message is very important.
Every message you do has different pieces to it. It has an introduction, a body, application and scripture(s) to guide your message. If you were forced to decide, what would you say is the most important element of a message? Is it the introduction where you grab the attention of the audience and set them up for the scripture or application? Or is it the scripture part where you bring alive the Bible so that the Truth of Christ can be heard and understood? Or is it the application part where help them apply the Biblical Truth to their lives?
While all of the above are vital parts of a message, I believe that it is the authenticity and relatablity of the speaker sharing the message that is one of the most important.
Why is that? Why is being authentic and relatable one of the most important parts of giving a message? It’s a simple reason honestly. If a person in the crowd can’t relate to you or don’t believe that you are being authentic and real then it doesn’t matter what else you say. They would have already tuned you out. While being creative and making people laugh while having a great application is really important, you need present in a way that is real, sincere and that you can identify with what you are communicating.
How can you be authentic and relatable?
- make sure you know your audience. If you prepare your message as if you were speaking to a bunch of middle schoolers while in actuality you are speaking to high schoolers it will make a difference. True story, I once told a bunch of middle schoolers all about my experiences watching the Wiggles with my young daughters. I lost street cred there almost immediately. Each audience you speak to is different so make sure you know who they are and how to present to that particular group effectively.
- be prepared. No matter how long you have been communicating the Gospel, if you don’t put in the work, you aren’t going to be able to communicate effectively. Spend time working on the message, bringing fresh illustrations and points to it and see how God leads you to share.
- share personal illustrations. Show them how your have dealt with the subject matter yourself. And don’t just share how you have “mastered” it but how you have struggled with It as well. They want to know you are human, not this perfect person. Now, don’t glorify how you have struggled with something or share inappropriate details, but be real and honest. They will be able to relate with you better.
- be yourself. We’ve all heard speakers share and thought, “I want to be like him (or her). I want to communicate the way they do!” That is ok to think that but where it gets tricky is if you start trying to be like them in how you communicate, you are doing yourself and your audience an injustice. Can you learn from them, yes! However, let them be them and you be you. For the longest time I wanted to mimic my Youth Pastor because he was an effective communicator. However, I realized that I wasn’t him and I had to develop my own style which has worked out great. Had I kept trying to be my Youth Pastor, it would have been so much harder because that wasn’t me. God has designed you to communicate the way you do. Be yourself and work on your own style with your own humor and your own stories.
It is always harder and more work pretending to be someone God hasn’t deigned you to be.
Young Life has a saying that “it is a sin to bore a kid with the gospel”. I agree completely with this. Your message to those you are ministering to is so important and it needs to be taken seriously. But put the work into and be yourself. That includes being authentic and relatable. The more you demonstrate authenticity and reliability, the better your message can connect with others and it can go a long way to them hearing about and understanding who Christ is for maybe the first time.
What do you think? How has being authentic and reliable helped you communicate effectively about Christ? Share below or on social media using #ymsidekick when you share.