The Source for Youth Ministry
Jonathan's Resource Ezine

Weekly Resources, Ideas and Articles from The Source for Youth Ministry
Tuesday, August 13, 2002

In This Issue

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By Jonathan McKee
August 13, 2002

In our last two newsletters we gave you steps of how to develop a better talk.
For those who are caught up, lets go on to the icing on the cake:
 ~~ESSENTIAL #1: Realize You Ain?t Nuthin!
The world might think it sounds crazy to squash our self esteem before taking on a huge task like speaking in front of a large audience, but I assure you, we?re not killing our self esteem. We?re just realizing where it comes from.
Psalm 127:1 reads, ?Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.? This is true with anything we do, including speaking. God?s got to be the foundation of it.
Something detrimental can happen when we speak in front of an audience. Pride can kick in. When people are laughing at our stories, responding to our insights . . . we need to realize something. ?Without Him, we ain?t nuthin!?
In the beginning of the book of Acts, Peter had a REALLY good day. He just finished preaching a sermon, A GREAT SERMON apparently, because 3,000 people gave their lives to Christ. Then he and John were walking along the road and he did an amazing miracle, he healed a crippled beggar. The people respond in amazement, but Peter did something really cool . . . check it out:
Acts 3:11-12 (NIV)
. . . all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon's Colonnade. [12] When Peter saw this, he said to them: "Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?? All the people were looking at Peter like he was the next Messiah. He had just preached a killer sermon and now he was healing people like it was nothing. Everyone stared in AWE! Everyone was like, ?Peter, you are really something!? It would have been really easy for Peter to think, ?I am something, huh!?
But instead Peter basically says, ?Stop looking at me as if I did something. I didn?t do something!? (I can picture him pointing up to heaven) ?HE did something!?
We need to do just as Peter did. We need to realize that we are nothing without Him. And when people see us- we should be pointing to Him.
Corrie ten Boom once said this about people coming up to her after she spoke. ?People thank me so much and it used to worry me because I didn't want to get a big head. So I began to collect those compliments like flowers. 'Thank you,' I'd say. 'Thank you, thank you, thank you.' Then at the end of the day I'd kneel down and I'd say, 'Here You are Jesus, they're all Yours.'"
~~ESSENTIAL #2: Master the Story
I?ll never forget the feeling I had years ago as a youth worker when I first stood on the school?s gym floor on a Wednesday night in front of a couple hundred jr. high students. We were running an on-campus ministry reaching unchurched jr. highers, and this was our opportunity to share Christ with them. We had already done a bunch of fun activities, the students were bouncing off the walls, and we somehow got them all to sit down . . . and I was next! I remember thinking that there was no way I could ever grab their attention. Almost every one of them was fidgeting, talking with the person next to them, and wondering when they could just get up and leave!
After a quick prayer that went something like this, ?HELP!? I walked out in front of them and started telling them a story. ?About 2,000 years ago in the city of Jericho there was this short guy named Zach. Zach wasn?t very popular for one reason . . . he ripped people off all the time . . .?
Here I was sharing a story I had learned as a child on a flannel graph board from my 1st grade Sunday school teacher- and now over 200 noisy, restless little pubescents were quiet and listening! WHY? Because I was telling a story.
I learned from the best. Jesus used stories as teaching tools in a variety of different situations. He used them as a teaching tool to large crowds: Luke 8:4-5 (NIV) While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: [5] "A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed . . .? He used them to confront people:
Luke 7:39-41 (NIV)
 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is--that she is a sinner."
[40] Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you." "Tell me, teacher," he said. [41] "Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty . . .
He used them to answer questions:
Luke 10:29-30 (NIV)
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
[30] In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers . . .?
He used them to explain himself:
Luke 15:2-4 (NIV)
But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."
[3] Then Jesus told them this parable:
[4] "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
Our speaking needs to include stories, analogies, quotes, and/or examples. These are essential. Really great speakers are master storytellers.
Where do we get these stories. Glad you asked . . . and that brings us to our third essential.
~~ESSENTIAL #3:  Become a Master-note-taker
In order for us to be story tellers, we need stories to tell! Where do we get stories? There are three main resources we can use to find stories and illustrations.
The first place is by far the best:
1) Stories from your own life. I have a place in my daily planner where I write down quotes or story ideas right after they happen. In the last 5 years I have become a mad story collector! I am now constantly on the look-out for the next funny example, the next analogy I can use to illustrate a point. If my children say something funny, I write it down. Become a collector of your own stories- because your own stories are the most powerful.
2) Other people?s stories. When you?re reading a book, watching a movie, or browsing the internet, write down stories as you come upon them. If you were to turn to the front page of any of my dad?s books you would see a list of illustrations scribbled on that page. He writes the topic, a word or two of description and the page # of that particular illustration. He eventually developed a catalogue of all those references from all his books so he could easily find them later.
I have a folder on my hard drive labeled ?Illustrations.? This folder is where I put every story I collect from the web, the paper, books I read . . . you name it. (Next week I?m giving away a new ?Speaker?s Resource CD? that contains this illustration database and a four week series called Jesus: Face to Face. I?m giving this CD to everyone that pre-orders my book! You?ll hear more about that next week.)
3) Stories specifically from messages you hear. Anytime I listen to a speaker at a conference I take three or four pages of notes. I write down every example, and the highlights of every story I hear. When I get home, I enter these into my computer database for ready reference.
When we use someone else?s stories, we need to be sure to credit them. Sometimes we don?t know the originator, and that?s okay. We just don?t need to claim them as our own. There?s nothing worse than a preacher who stands up and says, ?Last week I was playing baseball with my son and . . .? and then he tells a story out of Swindal?s new book as if it was his. There is a word for that. It?s called LYING! The effectiveness of the story doesn?t diminish when we say, ?I just read a story about . . .? or ?Swindal writes in his new book about a time when he went to play baseball with his son . . .?
There is a certain story that I frequently tell to audiences across the nation about something I did when I was in high school. I can count on one hand the amount of times a student HASN?T come up to me and asked, ?Was that story really true?? or ?That didn?t really happen to you, did it?? What would I say if the story wasn?t true? Would I tell the truth and say, ?No, I was just using the story.? Then the kid walks away thinking, ?I wonder what else he said that WASN?T TRUE!? It?s a wonderful thing to be believed by people. Credit your sources.
So be quick with your pen and paper because your next great illustration might stumble across your eyeballs, ears or fingertips today!
~~ESSENTIAL #4: Master Your Bookends
The most important two minutes of our talk are our first minute and our last minute. If you just glazed over that last sentence, read it again. The most important two minutes of our talk are our bookends- our beginning and our end. People (students especially) decide whether or not to listen to us in the first minute of our talk. Jr. Highers . . . 30 seconds! We?ve got anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute to answer the following question in any audience?s mind, ?Why should I listen to this person?? Don?t blow it.
When we stand up to address an audience, we need to hook ?em. Then real ?em in for the rest of the talk. A story is a strong way to begin, simply because people like to hear the end of a story. ?I was standing at the convenient store counter on a snowy night last February when a guy walks in, pulls out a gun and puts it in my face!? If our story doesn?t have an exciting beginning, start with the action, then go back to the beginning to give the back story. ?I heard my daughter scream. By the time I got to her I saw her lying on the ground unconscious. It all started on this family vacation to Arizona. We all piled in the car and . . .? Regardless of how we do it, grab them in the beginning.
If our beginning was great and our entire talk was fabulous, but we end on a weak note . . . they might just remember the whole talk being weak! Do you remember James Cameron?s movie THE ABYSS? What a great film . . . with a lousy ending. Most people will tell you that it is a lame film. And they? re right- because it had a lame ending. A disappointing ending also makes a disappointing talk.
Don?t end a talk with, ?and . . . I guess that?s it . . . I mean . . . yeah . . . so . . . that?s all! Let?s pray!? We need to practice our ending over and over again. Get a story that wraps up the entire talk. Find a quote that is powerful. Say the quote, and close the talk with a ?let?s pray.? Most of the time it?s better to just end with the quote and don?t explain it. So many speakers make the mistake of assuming that their audience is compiled of a bunch of morons. They end with a magnificent quote or story, then they go and redundantly explain it. ?You see, sometimes we all feel like we?re on that beach and those are OUR footprints. We might endure tough times, and it?s as if Jesus is just saying ?hop on!? Wouldn?t you like to just hop on Jesus?? Don?t ruin the cool poem with a dumb explanation. The poem?s point is clear.
Our entire talk is important. We want to develop a talk that will keep their attention throughout. But we need to rehearse our beginning and our ending more than any other part of the talk. That?s where they decide to listen, and where they decide if they liked what they heard.
Well . . . I guess that?s it. I mean . . . yeah! Good luck with your talks . . . and all.
Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages
by Haddon W. Robinson
 How to Speak to Youth --And Keep Them Awake at the Same Time:
A Step-By-Step Guide for Improving Your Talks
by Ken Davis
 Make 'em Laugh!: The Speaker's Guide to Communicating with Humor (Video)
by Ken Davis



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Dynamic Communicators was started by Ken Davis, an incredible speaker who had the vision to equip others to develop their speaking gifts. Ken and Jay Laffoon now teach this workshop several times a year, at several locations, including the YS conventions across the U.S.
Youth Leaders: Free Training! Host a Dynamic Communicators Workshop in your town and you may qualify to send you and your staff for FREE. Jay Laffoon is a certified instructor of Ken Davis? fabulous SCORRE method of communication. Ken Davis? Dynamic Communicators Workshop...
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TWO OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOU AS A PAID SPEAKER. Do You Want To Do Some Extra Speaking Engagements.

Do you have the gift of speaking? Do you love communicating truth to students? I consistently get e-mails from youth workers looking for good speakers in their area. Well, here are two opportunities for you if you?d like to do more speaking, and earn a little extra income on the side:
That?s right. We at THE SOURCE want to provide a database of proven speakers as a resource for youth workers across the globe. These speakers will be available for booking on THE SOURCE FOR YOUTH MINISTRY?s web site, which currently is receiving about 3/4 of a million hits a month.
National Media Speaker Phil Chalmers is looking to hire 50 speakers across the United States, one per state, to speak on the entertainment industry. He is organizing a team, and he will equip his speakers with all they need to do this ministry, including a Powerpoint show, product, promotion, and a very supportive network. He will also have a team of interns to do constant research.
log on to
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PRE-ORDER JONATHAN?S NEW BOOK STARTING NEXT MONDAY. Check Out What People Are Saying About Jonathan?s Book Coming Sept. 3rd

That?s right, the guy who?s been bringing you FREE resources since the late 90's, will have his book, ?The Top 12 Resources Youth Workers Want? on the shelves of your neighborhood Christian book store this September 3rd. But you can PRE-ORDER this book next week on our web site. (And wait to see what Jonathan?s giving away!)
Check out what people are already saying about this book:


If you have any other youth ministry ideas you want to share, please email me at
God Bless!
Jonathan R. McKee

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