In case you are unfamiliar with what a TED Talk is, I think it would be wise for me to explain that before I move further. From their website:
TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.
As Women’s Ministry Leaders, we are often challenged with finding speakers for our events. Whether we are having a small luncheon or a weekend long retreat, speakers are usually an added expense Finding a good, quality, speaker may not only cost your ministry money. We can spend a lot of time vetting these potential speakers, planning the event around their available topics, or coordinating with them as we request a customized topic.
What if I told you that some of your greatest speakers are already in your church?
What if I told you that we don’t need a hour of speaking to make a strong impact?
I recently had an opportunity to talk shop with some Women’s Ministry Leaders from a few other states, who have been embracing the TED Talk style for their Women’s Ministry events. They refer to them as SHE Talks. Instead of looking for professional speakers in their area, or bring in speakers from other areas… they look for potential speakers in their church and community. The “speakers” are limited to just 15-25 minutes each, and cover a variety of topics. Some may share their personal testimony, others may share about a ministry they serve with, or topics that are dear to their heart.
For a luncheon there may be 3-4 “speakers”, and for retreats there may be many more based on the length of the retreat. The Women’s Ministry Leaders suggest creating an “application form” for anyone who desires to speak at an event, or has been asked. This gives the ministry team an opportunity to create a pool of speakers to pull from throughout the year. Or, they may ask for applications leading into a retreat planning season.
Applications can be a valuable tool in getting to know these potential speakers better, and obtaining their contact information for future use. Ask for their name, contact information, a few personal details (like if they are married, have kids, etc), a summary of their testimony, and what topic or topics they would love to share. Have your Pastor or overseeing Elder review the applications and make any notations they would like you to consider (or additional information they would like). Then review the applications with your team.
The benefit of having a SHE Talks event at your church:
- The women of the church get to know each other better, as we share our testimonies and interests.
- We help encourage our women to share their story with others, which can give them courage for evangelism in other areas of their life.
- Due to limitations on the amount of time they speak, it means that all of our speakers are getting right to the point and skipping filler information.
- We can have a variety of speakers and topics, without affecting our ministry budget.
Something I also like about a SHE Talks event is that we don’t have to limit our speakers to being just women from the church. Perhaps there is a man in the church who has something valuable to share with women? Perhaps a topic on understanding how men think, or maybe he is the chairman of a local organization that helps women in the community? There are also occasions where you could invite children from your church or community that are doing amazing things to impact change in the world.
The concept of a SHE Talks event, however long in duration or frequently used, opens up an enormous amount of opportunities to impact and influence women in your church. If you are part of a small church, consider combining efforts with other small churches in your area. Alternate which church hosts the event, and use women and men from both congregations or invite people from the community to participate.
Who can you invite from the community?
- CareNet or other Crisis Pregnancy Centers
- Women’s Abuse Advocates or Shelter Representatives
- Christian Marriage / Relationship Counselors
- Homeless Women’s Resource Representatives
- Women’s Healthcare Representatives (Doctors, Nutritionists, Personal Trainers)
- Foster Care and Adoption Advocates
- Business Women
- Women in Seminary
- Missionaries or Non-Profit Ministry Leaders
- Local Authors, Artists and Musicians
- Parenting Experts, Financial Planners, etc.
Something to keep in mind:
When inviting people from the community, who are business or organization professionals, we may need to find balance between allowing them to give information about themselves without turning their topic into a sales pitch or recruitment tool. Be mindful of this and do not hesitate to ask for their script in advance.
If you are looking for a better idea of what these talks will look like, visit youtube and search “TED Talks” and you’ll get a great sampling.