Bible commentaries are very useful, verse by verse, but quite dense.  Or you could buy a Bible Survey – which gives a big picture – it looks at who wrote it, when was it written, why was it written, what does it say, what did it say to the original readers/listeners, what does it day to us, and most will give both evangelical and liberal viewpoints which is helpful.

The Big Story by Mark Powley is a great introduction for young people, enabling them to understand.  Nick Page is probably the next level up and then Hendrickson is at a deep level


  • Character: who you are as a person, the foundational dynamic of you as a person.  A key rule of thumb is never preach what you don’t live out.  Young people have a razor sharp sense of hypocrisy.
  • Appointing: someone has in effect laid hands on you, they have appointed you.  2 Corinthians 4 says we are cracked earthen vessels, but we have treasure, the Holy Spirit in us.  Being appointed by external forces is incredibly important, if your church leaders haven’t prayed and commissioned you then do encourage them, if possible, to do so.

What does this look like in reality?  We imagine that life should be an upward diagonal as we develop our relationship with God, and yet we have a rollercoaster of a journey – sometimes we’re completely in sync with God, and other times we’re not – sometimes that’s just a feeling and sometimes that’s more of a reality.  We have to lead in the midst of this.

When we’re in the moments of death our self we need to have the anointing of the Holy Spirit so we realise that it is not dependent on us, but dependent on God being with us.  2 Corinthians 4 “Death in me is life in you” – even when we fell grotty the Holy Spirit is with us.

There’s another time when the negative feeling isn’t just from life but from sin or temptation.  The odds are that sometimes when you go to minister it is very close to when you have sinned or been tempted.

God’s grace will keep on filling to a certain cross point.  God’s grace is always bigger than ours – always amazed that God’s grace keeps anointing when we would have sacked them ages ago.  You don’t want to test his grace, but be thankful for it.

Tools and challenges

The grid has six sections:

  • Bridge: a funny introduction
  • Explanation: where are we going, what are we going to do at the end – this creates safety.
  • Problem: starting with a problem, a sense of being lost creates a hunger for an answer; it enables people to connect better.
  • Solution: this is when Laurence picks his Bible up, grounding in the truth of God’s word, looking together at God’s solution.  A lot of messages end here but that is not good enough.
  • Application: the secret of good communication, so many people give an answer but they don’t give a story to show the working out of it in reality.  Often Christians know the answer is Jesus, but they don’t know how it works in practice.
  • The Takeaway: whenever Laurence speaks he has in his mind or heart a takeaway – if it is preaching it is some form of decision, or if teaching it is a principle.

You can start from the takeaway, application, solution, problem, explanation and story and build your message.


How do we begin to teach, and particularly want to do positive inspiration for women in the room as it will be twice if not three times harder for a woman than a man.

If you’re going to be a speaker you need to put some building blocks in place:

Character: it all starts with character.

Prepare: Watched and learnt from others, learned the Bible, learnt about people and tried to learn about the world and culture.  Believe in the calling that you have heard, even when others maybe haven’t publically acknowledged it.

The reality is as a women this will be slightly more difficult.  There are lots of ways in which we can respond – some denominations or churches may it difficult due to their theology; other churches believe in young people and women speaking but in reality there is no space.  What’s our response to this we can get bitter, disappointed, angry.  They are legitimate responses, but they are not desperately helpful if expressed so take them into your devotional life.

“Love and shove” – whenever you reach a negative point respond with love; shove says I am coming back.  Find different ways to challenge the situation, for example, some denominations don’t believe in women teaching and preaching but they can share – share similar to preaching.

Janet Holmes à Court she married an Australian billionaire, and at age 62 he died.  To everybodys horror he has left his empire to Janet.  Part of the empire of Heytesbury Pty Ltd included half the West End theatres.  She changed the way in which people sat in the boardroom changing the concept of hierarchy.

A lady speaker started a message with five beautifully wrapped presents for her bridge – it was fantastic.  Another fantastic female speaker often uses a feeling or emotion for her bridge.  You need to ensure the status quo doesn’t shape you, but you are shaped through your confidence in God.

Judith Harris, The Nurture Assumption, that young people aren’t shaped by their genetics and background but by their peers, so young people need to hear a peer voice, women need to hear a peer voice.  There are more women in the church and yet more male speakers, they don’t see and hear Christianity from someone that they can relate to.  There is a place for older people to speak, but peer shapes peer so always create space.

As a youth leader take space – create opportunities to speak to young people.  Ask church leaders to allow you to have space, people like Laurence need to challenge their peers, the church leaders, to give space.

If you are a good speaker, get it in a “contract” with your spouse to allow you go and speak at the times it is needed.  It is critical that both people are able to minister.

Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

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