Tag Archives: speaking

Time spent with other Christians

I was blessed to attend the Red River Family Encampment for the first time this year. My parents attended years ago, and I’ve had many friends go regularly; I had very much looked forward to being there. I got to go this year representing the Hope For Life (Herald of Truth) ministry.

And my expectations were met. It’s a wonderful gathering of Christians in a beautiful place.

On Saturday, I led three sessions in Spanish. Despite some technical issues at the beginning, we had a great time.

Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday I taught classes in English. There were several glitches there, I’m afraid. I was invited to speak back in November, then my invitation apparently got lost in the shuffle. Early promotional material listed the usual 10 classes, but not mine. Later they added a class by “Tim Harris” to the website. When I got there, I found that they had squeezed me into an 11th slot. (Which I’m very grateful for; I’m sure that involved renting one more tent than usual)

Not having been there, I asked the organizers if I would have the ability to use PowerPoint. I was told yes, but apparently they were only thinking of Saturday. The tents for the classes don’t have electricity! I’ll admit my first class was sub-par because I was planning to use some videos and visuals that weren’t available.

Attendance at my class was very low. On Monday, I ran into one of my cousins. He said, “I’d love to go to your class, but I don’t speak Spanish.” It’s possible that he’s not the only one who thought I was only teaching in Spanish. More likely is the fact that I was a relative unknown in the midst of some very talented teachers.

That said, I had a great time. I heard some great teaching, saw several old friends, made numerous new friends, and got to share some about Church Inside Out. All in a beautiful setting in the mountains.

I had to leave a bit early because our ministry was participating in the Summer Celebration in Nashville. We had out ministry breakfast on Friday morning, then I taught one session on Church Inside Out. I wish we’d had more time there, but it’s hard during the summer to be everywhere.

I love getting to share this material that I think is important. And I especially enjoy the time spent with Christians from other places.

How do you get invited?

Can I come in?

All right, o wise readers of mine, I’ve got a question for you. How do you get invited to speak at lectureships, workshops, etc.? For obvious reasons, it’s a plus for our ministry for our people to be visible and one of the best ways to be visible is to speak at public gatherings. For that reason, our ministry team is being asked to get more invitations to speak. But just how do you go about that?

To me, calling somewhere and asking to speak is really poor taste. It reminds me of what I used to do in first grade, when I would invite myself over to Stephen Templeton’s house every afternoon. I would ask Stephen: “Is it OK if I go to your house today?” and he was too nice to say no. Then my dad overheard me one day and told me not to do that anymore. Guess what. Stephen never invited me to his house again.

When I was in college, there were guys who practically lived outside the chapel office, begging for their chance to speak. I felt that I should wait for an invitation. It’s been over 25 years. I’m still waiting.

While living in Argentina, we worked with Amway for a while. One basic principle we learned was that you can’t promote yourself. Their teaching was that you build up your sponsor in people’s eyes, then they stand up and build you up. You talk about how great they are, they talk about how great you are, and everybody’s credibility increases. They taught that if you tried to promote yourself, you’d end up losing.

So do you have any suggestions for us? Should we swallow our pride and make the call, asking to be invited to speak? Should we call people we know and ask them to call these places? Or do we keep doing what we’re doing now, trying to make the most of the opportunities we get?