Servant Speaking

In his book, An Essential Guide to Public Speaking, Quentin Shultze Professor of Communication at Calvin College writes about what it means to be a servant speaker. He says that the point of speech is not to serve oneself but rather it is to serve others in love… check out what he has to say:

The essence of speaking life is using language responsibly to serve others. Selfish speech eventually gets us into trouble whereas life-giving speech serves others as we would want to be served. Therefore, the most important question to ask ourselves in preparing a speech is how we intend to serve the audience responsibly as neighbors. We need to write and rewrite that purpose until we are absolutely sure it is clear and focused on our audience.

Although this book is written isn’t written intentionally for preachers there is a ton to draw out from it for preaching. For me this concept, that we are supposed to be servant speakers, has changed the way I think about preaching. My job as I go up on stage to preach is to serve my audience by pointing people to Jesus. If my sermon does not accomplish this explicit purpose in a clear manner, then I am not serving my audience well.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Are you being a servant speaker?
  2. How does your audience need to be served?
  3. How could you accomplish this more effectively?

Published by cwoznicki

Chris Woznicki is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He works as the regional training associate for the Los Angeles region of Young Life.

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