Dan Flynn felt every twitch of his muscles as he stood before his freshman English class at an all boys’ college prep school in Chicago. His hands and his knees trembled as he gave the first part of his required speech for his class project.
After Dan unloaded all the facts about his subject, he proceeded with the main purpose of his speech – demonstrating how to use a whoopee cushion.
He grabbed the whoopee cushion, but with his hands quivering, he couldn’t get it inflated. Humiliated, he walked back to his desk in silence, vowing to never speak publicly again.
“I was terrified,” he says, “I have always been afraid of getting in front of a group of people and embarrassing myself.” And now it had happened.
But Dan eventually joined staff with Cru, and realized that communicating with others, whether one on one or publicly, was essential in sharing the gospel message.
Dan eventually became one of the instructors during Cru’s April Comm Lab where Cru staff members and a handful of pastors and evangelists honed their communications skills.
The Comm Lab refined the participants’ communication skills both in their presentation and their proclamation. The presentation aspects included working with their non-verbal messages they were communicating: eye contact, movement, posture and voice. The proclamation facet reminded the communicators of the great responsibility and seriousness of being gospel communicators.
“Our communication can either take away from the gospel message or illuminate the gospel message,” said one training participant. “Therefore time put into our delivery of the message is crucial, necessary and worthwhile.”
“With all the skills that we are developing in the staff members (and participants) we are trying to stretch them like a rubber band,” says Dan. “And have them so beyond where they are comfortable.”
Participants may discover that their gestures are too small, their voice too quiet, or that they don’t maintain eye contact. This causes a distracted or disinterested audience that ends with disastrous results.
“The message that we believe is the most important message on the planet goes unheard, or not heard as well,” he says.
Vicki Guinn, a Cru staff member, says, “How you say, what you say, makes the difference in what your audience hears and perceives.”
Dan and the other Comm Lab instructors are mentoring others to craft powerful messages through the power of words and the power of non-verbal communication so they can help fulfill the Great Commission.
Does your spiritual growth and faith resemble a rubber band stretching out past your comfort zone? If not, what is a faith step that you can take today?
Rich began his journalism career as a newspaper correspondent for his local paper in Ohio. He covered city council meetings, wrote features and took photos. Rich served with Worldwide Challenge magazine from 2008-2016. Now, he writes field reports for another Cru ministry. Contact Rich at Rich.Atkinson@isponline.org.
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