Outside Speakers & Open Topics

Have you or your church ever invited an "outside" or guest speaker to minister at your church, organisation or group? Have you given the speaker an open topic?

Why Invite An Outside Speaker?

  1. To give a fresh perspective on a familiar topic

    There is always the possibility that your audience may "switch off" when listening to a familiar speaker. An outside speaker does not face this problem.

  2. To give credibility to the message

    This is on the assumption that the guest speaker has the necessary expertise on the topic to be addressed.

  3. To give a break to your in-house speaker

Any of the above is a valid reason for inviting an outside speaker to minister at your church.

Why Give An Open Topic?

Let's relate this to the reasons for inviting an outside speaker. Both (1) and (2) imply that you have a specific topic in mind; only (3) gives room for an open topic.

What are some possible reasons for giving an open topic to an invited speaker? I could only think of one ... granting convenience to the speaker. The speaker could speak on a topic that he had delivered before or on his favourite topic. Can this be a valid reason? I don't think so.

Don't go for a popular speaker and give the speaker the freedom to speak on whatever topic because the chosen topic may not be relevant to your congregation. Giving an open topic reflects your purpose ... to merely fill up a speaking schedule ... just come, any topic will do!

Tips on Inviting An Outside Speaker
  1. Know your objective

    What would you want God to do in and through your church? Invite a speaker who can help motivate your congregation to achieve the mission and vision of your church.

  2. Know your congregational needs and challenges

    Your congregation has specific needs and faces particular challenges. Do you know what they are? Invite a speaker who can minister to these needs and give practical steps to meet those challenges.

  3. Search for the "right" speaker

    Discuss among your team who are the possible speakers for (1) and (2). The "right" speaker is one who not only knows the topic well but also knows how to communicate it to others.

  4. Invite and brief the speaker

    Contact a possible speaker and share (1) and (2) and ask if he/she can speak on these. If not, ask for a recommendation and move on to the next possible speaker.

    If the person responds in the affirmative, ask for specifics. If you are satisfied with the specifics then invite the person. Provide date, time and place of the engagement; however, be flexible in your schedule to accommodate the speaker's other commitments.

    Follow up with an email or letter confirming the invitation and outlining the key points you would like to be covered in the message. Provide additional information such as travel instructions, dress code (if any) and logistic support. Ask for a brief bio that will be used in the introduction. Assure the speaker of your prayers.

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Alan's Gleanings | Copyright © 2005 by Alan S.L. Wong