“No problem Ed”
Being in front of crowds is familiar territory for me. As far back as I can remember I have graced a stage in one way or another. The very beginning of school – kindergarten – for example, I was part of the school choir. If we weren’t rehearsing for some school assembly, we were practicing for trips to senior centre’s to provide the meal time entertainment. In Grade 5 I was fortunate enough to join a small group of grade sixers for reader’s theatre. While my fellow classmates were trying to earn gold stars for reading through their “choose your own adventure” books; I was whisked away to the grade 6 room, to practice for a reader’s theatre competition at the jubilee auditorium.
In grade 7, I played the trumpet in the school band. In Grades 8 and 9 I took a performing arts class. It was here that we’d put on plays, either for our classmates or performed song and dance numbers at school assemblies.
Just in case you’re wondering, due to fire regulations we weren’t allowed to set any guitars on fire.
We were also constantly reminded by teachers that our teeth were NOT ideal guitar picks.
In college, I had grown quite comfortable with speaking, teaching and preaching, and my near decade career as a college student afforded countless opportunities to speak at churches, and take on various teaching roles. This past summer I was even fortunate enough to share pastoring duties at a camp for people with disabilities. But speaking at Camp Chestermere was different.
When I walked on stage I was greeted by the coolest sound EVER!!!... 200 kids, all chanting, “WE WANT TIIIIIM!!!!! WE WANT TIIIIIM!!!!! WE WANT TIIIIIM!!!!!”
Another first for me happened after one of my speaking engagements that week. Two kids asked me to sign their bible. I didn’t know what to say, I’ve never been asked to sign anything other then a check before. I was able to blurt out some sort of “yes” type response and wrote an encouraging remark on a blank page in 2 people’s bibles. I’m not going to lie. I left that camp feeling like a rock star!
My friend and Pastor, Ed, asked me to speak a total of 4 times that week. And although the chanting and 2 person autograph session are top notch in all things cool, I will admit it’s not the greatest thing to happen that week. The best part of the week (as far as I’m concerned) is that my words made a difference. I was used by God to change someone’s life. That’s the point of ministry. To impact peoples lives with the Gospel of Christ. Through word or deed, everyone has a need for the love of Jesus.
A few weeks after camp, I was invited to a leadership meeting with my pastor, friend, and ministry partner, Erik. As Erik, his wife bonnie and I chatted over dinner Erik challenged me to find ways that I could contribute to the leadership of Expressions. This summer proved to be a busy one. In July and august I had taken on leadership roles at 2 different camps. Armed with nothing but my bible and a servant’s heart, I was able to speak to hundreds of people and spur them on in their pursuit of righteousness and holy living. I left that meeting with an attitude of prayer. What was it that God wanted me to do – not only in expressions community, but perhaps with the next stage of my life? As I lay down at night asking God these questions, I find myself in situations where God’s answer is clear.
As the summer ended, I had an interview with an old employer about possibly working with them again. When we got to talking, she encouraged me to get into public speaking; particularly paid speaking engagements. Some of my Facebook friends would post links to various public speaking groups. Whenever people asked me about my dream job, I would tell them stories of being a keynote speaker at some sort of conference where I would not only get a fee but all transportation and accommodations are paid for. But the clincher came just a few weeks ago during a coffee meeting with another pastor friend of mine, Dallas.
Dallas told me I have a way with words. Not only is my writing an apt tool, but my abilities as a public speaker proved to be an effective ministry as well. He then encouraged me to get into the realm of public speaking. In the days leading up to this meeting, I had been thinking again about Erik’s question posed to me in the fall: how do I/can I best contribute to the ministry of expressions community? My thought was some form of public speaking. But I wasn’t sure if that was something God wanted me to do. In fact I remember saying: “God I think I’m hearing you say go do public speaking, but I’m not 100% sure. Could you be more direct? Like someone telling me: Tim you should do this.
The speaking opportunities I had over the summer were tons of fun. I was extremely humbled and thankful for the opportunities to speak. In pursuing this public speaking route, is it my goal to become world famous, selling out the like of the O2 Arena, the Houston Astrodome or speaking to crowds of 50,000 chanting ““WE WANT TIIIIIM!!!!! WE WANT TIIIIIM!!!!! WE WANT TIIIIIM!!!!!” in unison? Absolutely not! If it happens along the way, that’s great! But the reason I’m taking this route is to bring glory and honor to God.
My life makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble and afflicted hear and be glad.