Sharing our faith should be a major focus in the daily life of every Christian. Yet many of us feel a wave of something akin to terror when we even think about sharing our faith, especially with strangers. Part of our fear is caused by our insecurity about our own Bible knowledge and whether or not we can answer questions. I think the other part of our reluctance is a fear of appearing foolish. Not because we believe in God, but because we actually have an unresolved fear of public speaking.
If we want to train our children to share their faith in God with others, we need to provide them with opportunities to develop a level of comfort. Part of that reassurance is teaching them the important role of the Holy Spirit when we make the attempt to share our faith with others. Allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us though requires us to open our mouths and start talking to people about God. For many, this means having to overcome their fear of speaking in public.
In my last post, I mentioned several ways to help your children feel more comfortable with sharing their faith publicly. If you are struggling in your efforts to find resources and organizations to help, here are some I am aware of (as organizations change over time, please do your own investigation of any product or organization before purchasing or becoming involved to make sure it is appropriate for your child):
- artofeloquence.com – This website has free and paid resources to help train your children in public speaking and sharing their faith.
- Church programs – many congregations have dramas throughout the year or participate in programs like Lads to Leaders which give children and teens an opportunity to speak in front of others
- Bible Classes and VBS – encourage younger children to answer questions during class. Many congregations will train and use teens as assistant teachers or in other speaking roles in the classroom. Speaking in front of younger children can be easier for a child who struggles with public speaking than if the audience were filled with adults.
- Scouts – check beyond your child’s troop for speaking opportunities in your region. My daughter was chosen to speak on a youth panel for a national organization because of her connection to Girl Scouts. While the opportunities are not religious, they do provide safe places for your child to practice public speaking.
- Toastmasters – I have not been personally involved with this organization, but recently met a teen who enjoyed his involvement in their teen program. He believed it had helped him with his public speaking skills.
- Acting classes – these are often given at acting studios, art studios and county/city arts programs. Training in acting will teach your children to use their faces and bodies to add emotion to their speaking. It will also help them with articulation, emoting and projection. Some larger churches and Christian schools may also offer acting classes during the week.
- Clubs and teams – many junior and senior high schools sponsor clubs and teams that involve public speaking. FBLA, debate teams, forensics and even running for class or student body offices may give your children chances to polish their skills.
- Contests – scholarships and prizes are often attached to speech competitions sponsored by civic groups and businesses. They sometimes have few entrants, which may increase your child’s odds of winning a scholarship for his efforts.
Hopefully, these suggestions will help you find some ways to encourage your child to develop public speaking skills. When combined with knowledge of scripture and a love of God and people, your children can share their faith with many others over the years. What has helped your child the most in developing confidence in public speaking? I would love to hear about your experiences in a comment below.