WLI hosted “Leaning in & Leaning On: A Christian Perspective” on CUAA’s campus in October 2016. It was my honor to attend this event, surrounded by Christian women of various generations and backgrounds.
Not only were the presenters inspiring, relevant, and uplifting; the women who attended were beyond willing to share openly and encourage one another enthusiastically. The event was most certainly God-breathed, and I left feeling equipped by His Word and supported by my sisters in Christ!
Rachel Ferry works at Concordia University Ann Arbor and attended her first WLI event in September 2015.
Outline. When you hear that word, you probably groan and think of English 101 in high school. Just how were you supposed to place those capital letters and Roman numerals? Don’t worry—outlining a life-changing presentation isn’t about perfecting the mechanics of outlining. It’s about organizing your information in a way that helps audience members listen to and remember your words.
Most of us have had the experience of listening to a speaker roam through a topic without seeming to have any particular destination in mind. His words strolled through the subject without purpose. And he wandered on so many side paths that at the end of the speech you were left wondering what he was trying to say.
Well-organized speeches are:
- Easier to understand. With a clear and logical order, listeners can follow your thoughts.
- Easier to remember. Clear organization helps audience members identify and recall your key points.
- More credible. Speakers who offer well-planned speeches are perceived as more authoritative on their subject.
To begin to formulate a creative outline for Bible-based presentation, look at your chosen Scripture and identify the main ideas. Divide the Scripture into sections and title each section. Make sure the title of each section relates to the key point you want to convey.
Next, play around with the titles. Use your creativity to come up with titles your audience will remember.
For instance, imagine you were going to give a presentation on Colossians 3:5-14, where the apostle Paul talks about putting off the old self and putting on the old self. Here are three creative ways you could structure the talk:
- Use an analogy. Help your audience envision this passage as an exercise in cleaning out their spiritual closets. Employ the terms closet organizers use:
- Toss (vv. 5-11) Toss out anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk.
- Keep (vv. 12-13) Keep compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
- Donate (v. 14) Give away love.
- Use the same word. Start each section title with the same word. This gives a clear and memorable structure to your speech. For instance:
- Put to death (vv. 5-11) Put to death anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk.
- Put on the new (vv. 12-13) Put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
- Put love over all (v. 14) Put on love—above all–which binds everything together.
- Use an acronym. Create titles that begin with a letter of a word that relates to your topic. When I speak on this passage, I use the concept of spiritual STYLE and spell out that word:
- See the Need for Change
- Toss Out the Old
- Yearn for Something More
- Learn God’s Style
- Embrace the New
Remember, outlining your speech is not about getting every Roman numeral in the right place—it’s about helping your audience internalize your message. Use your imagination and pray that God will give you a practical and fun way to present your topic.
Sharla Fritz is the author of three Bible studies: Soul Spa, Divine Design, Bless These Lips, and a study for teens: Divine Makeover: God Makes You Beautiful. Check out her online course on Christian speaking at Women’s Leadership Institute Academy. Watch for more information about her speaking workshops at the WLI 2017 National Conference.