‘Special Ocassion’ SpeakingAugust 1, 2008
Somewhat related to the fact that I’m conducting a wedding tomorrow, Friday’s Featured Toobox is not a weblink but a book recommendation. “How to Speak at Special events” may sound like you’re average secular speaking manual; in fact, its a Christian Focus publication from which I’ve gleaned helpful advice for those important – if irregular – opportunities.
The multiple authorship has an Australian feel: the likes of David Cook, John Chapman and Simon Manchester all bring their own particular style and expertise to individual chapters. Structure-wise, the first two thirds of the book (covering the broad headings “Preparing Yourself” and “Preparing Your Material”) is the kind of fare you’d find in most books on preaching: how to interpret, apply and illustrate the biblical text. The final third of the book, however, is the gold mine. “Special Events” are covered including ‘preaching at a wedding or funeral’, ‘speaking about sensitive issues’, ‘children’s talks’, ‘preaching to adolescents’, and ‘how to prepare an evangelistic talk.’
Due to the specificity of advice and wise counsel of the authors, I find myself returning to this book’s short chapters again and again. Not least if you are still fledgling in special ocassion speaking, you should consider getting your hands on this primer.
ps. Simon Manchester’s chapter on weddings – no doubt for my encouragement (!) – begins thus: “In my experience this is the most difficult of the ‘hatch, match and despach’ events. There is little gratitude (as in the case of a child’s dedication or baptism) and there is little humility (as in the case of a funeral). Many of the people are in the prime of life and may well come to the wedding dressed to impress and with a few drinks under the belt already. Often the couple are re-marrying or have been living together so that everyone comes with a sense that God’s ways don’t matter much anyway – here may be a couple who are refusing God’s will but, nonetheless, the old minister is doing exactly what they want. (There are Christian weddings that are reverent and delightful but it’s worth being ready for anything).” (How to Speak At Special Events, pg 106). Phew! And am I glad that tomorrow I’m doing one of the latter, ‘in brackets’ ones!
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