Tuesday

Why Christians Need Toastmasters (Blog + video)

I never envisioned myself as a professional speaker.

But as my blog grew and my books launched, I began to receive invitations to speak more often at women's ministry events, writers' conferences, and homeschool conventions. A long-time Bible teacher and homeschool support group leader, I'd had many opportunities to speak, but I deeply desired to become the best speaker for the Lord I could be. 

I never wanted God's message to be hindered by my delivery. 

In my quest to further develop my speaking ability, I attended the Christian Communicators conference in Asheville, North Carolina. This dynamic, exhausting, exhilarating, empowering 5-days of training just whetted my appetite. 

Then my friend Kim Jackson, accomplished speaker and founder of Elder Orphan Care, recommended Toastmasters International. 

I'd heard of Toastmasters, but knew little about it. I pictured a bunch of stodgy, middle-aged white men presenting boring speeches to sleepy colleagues. Not quite what I had in mind. "I LOVE Toastmasters," she said, and since she wasn't a stodgy, middle-aged, white man who gave boring speeches, I sat up and took notice. "It's the best ongoing speaker training I've ever had. And it's inexpensive." 

The words best and inexpensive seldom appear in the same sentence in my world, so her endorsement added extra credibility to her recommendation. 

I did a web search on Toastmasters International and discovered that there were 31 Toastmasters clubs within a 25-mile radius of Columbia. Plenty from which to choose. I selected the club that met in a location and at a time that best fit my schedule and emailed the president. The next week, I visited, and I've been attending ever since. 

While I expected good training, I never thought it would be so much fun. 

Unlike my early mental picture, Columbia Toastmasters 1393 is comprised of people of all ages, stages, ethnicities, and genders. Our members are housewives, city leaders, healthcare workers, and students. Each member has different interests, passions, and personalities that come out in their formal and informal speaking, which makes every meeting an adventure. 

After three years, I agree with my friend Kim, Toastmasters is the best ongoing speaker training I've ever experienced. 

But what if you're not interested in being a women's ministry speaker? You still need Toastmasters.

Why? Because of 1 Peter 3:15. God commands all believers, "Be ready always to give a reason for the hope that lies within you. . ." 

Whether you ever set foot on a stage, you are a public speaker. Every day you interact with family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, customers, and strangers. And every day you communicate with them. 

Whether you communicate well or you communicate poorly determines, in large part, the success of your relationships. And of your witness. And who doesn't want to have better relationships and a better witness?


Toastmasters International is about more than just learning to present a formal speech in front of a group. It's about maximizing every opportunity we have to share the message that's most important to us. 

For many of us, that's Jesus--what he's done for us, and what he can do for others. 

I never want God's message to be hindered by my delivery. How about you? 

For more information on Toastmasters International and to find a club in your area, click here. Read about it, then visit a club. It doesn't cost a thing to check it out, and it just might change your life. And someone else's.


Earlier this year I competed in the 2016 Toastmasters International Speech Competition. I won at the club, area, and division (2nd place) levels. 

If you'd like to hear my winning speech, "I Am Rich," click the play button below. If you're reading by email, click here to hear "I Am Rich."







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12 comments:

  1. Lori, Thank you for sharing this post. I've thought about investigating Toastmasters, however, it would have to be in the same community where I live (due to a variety of factors). God is so good to me: I feel so "in my element" when I get up to preach. It's humbling and an honor to preach God's Word. There is no way I could do it without the Lord! (You should have seen me in high school speech class!)

    Congratulations on your award winning speech!

    Blessings,

    Kim

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    1. You're right, Kim, it is the Lord who fills our mouths with his words and ultimately gives us the power to speak in his name. Toastmasters is just another too to sharpen our swords for the spiritual battle. Blessings to you!

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  2. Lori, you encouraged me to join Toastmasters last year and tonight I'm giving my icebreaker speech. You're so right! My club is full of fun, supportive people. Thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. Good for you, Lyneta. I'm so proud of you!! You've taken the first steps of a grand adventure. Please keep me posted on your progress!

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  3. Just read this post, Lori, but it's spot on. Edie told me, about 5 years ago, that if I was going to write, I was going to speak. I shook my head and said to myself, "No way. I'll never speak. I can't talk to more than 1 or 2 people at a time.

    A couple months ago, I gave in and joined Toastmasters. I really enjoy it. The people are friendly and encouraging, giving positive feedback and suggestions for improvement. It's boosted my confidence too, even though it's been just a few months now.

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    1. Hooray! Good for you! You discovered the secret of Toastmasters' success -- a supportive, peer-driven group of encourages. I'm so glad for you.

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  4. Wow, Lori, this is a powerful message! Thank you for sharing it with us. So proud of all you've accomplished!

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    1. Thank you, Vinda. Your kind words mean a lot. I learned from the best!

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  5. Lori, I remember the day at Gail's house when we talked about Toastmasters and I encouraged you to join. Wow! Your decision to do so has had lots of wonderful ripple effects, including this post and video of your award-winning speech. Yay God and yay *you*! :)

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    1. Yes ma'am,the Lord used you to direct my next steps. I am ever grateful, friend :)

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  6. Lori, you are so encouraging! I am rich in knowing you! Thank you for all you do!

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  7. The love of my life (after Jesus) Deborah is struggling a lot with surrendering her life to Jesus.

    She is a very headstrong and stubborn, she has a survivors mentality, coming from a very difficult and dark childhood..

    I've tried to bring her closer to Jesus and help her open up her heart to Him, because how can she become happy and feel fulfilled if she doesn't allow His healing power into her heart...

    I love her more than my own life, I would suffer anything for her to see her truly happy again.. but only God can do that for her.

    I would be happy beyond words if you could pray for her Lori.

    With Love,
    Alex

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