Becoming Vulnerable for the Spirit’s Use
Kairos is a ministry of God’s love and His call to members of Kairos Teams is a call to share God’s love with residents in correctional institutions. It is God’s love that we are called to share. Our call is not to preach, not to judge, not to correct, and not to threaten – but to love and encourage. Your talk is to be a joyous proclamation of the Good News of the love of God through the saving action of Jesus, presented with personal conviction and enthusiasm. Your talk is to be a witness of your own living experience of the truths being proclaimed in the talk outline. You can only witness to what you know to be true in your own life.
Preparing the Talk
- Pray! Pray especially for the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the manner in which you can best witness to the truths to be communicated in the talk. Ask that your family and small group pray for you. When you are at the prison on your monthly reunion, ask that brothers or sisters of the Kairos Community pray for you.
- Keep it simple. Very few residents can recall what the talks were, much less the details of each talk. If they can remember one statement (message or theme) from your talk, you have done well. What is that statement?
- Keep your language simple. Talk at a level of a 6th grader. Avoid big, theological terms and concepts. Don’t try to overly identify your situation in life with that of the residents.
- Cover the essential points of your talk. Don’t let the central point of the talk, which is expressed in the outline, get lost as you elaborate points or tell your personal experience. Each talk has a major point which is part of the total message we want to leave with the residents. The points of the outline are key in your talk, but it is not necessary to discuss or elaborate every point of the outline.
- Share your experience. Express how the truth of the talk has been evident in your own life. Remember that the purpose of sharing your story is to illustrate the talk for the benefit of the residents, not to bring focus on yourself or to gain affirmation. Share your pain with the prayer that a resident might find courage, hope, insight and love for dealing with his or her own pain. Do not force a personal story where it does not fit with the purpose of the talk. You may have to sacrifice that special story for a less significant one that does a better job for this talk.
- Be a good steward of time! The talk should not exceed the time assigned! When we run overtime on a talk, we rob that time from someone or somewhere else. When preparing your talk, adopt that same spirit of cooperation and charity that we ask of the residents.
- Practice. Time the talk…practice…time the talk…
Use of Scripture in the Talk
- It can be confusing and distracting to the residents to use too much scripture. Avoid an excessive citing of scripture which might detract from the naturalness of your talk.
- It is Kairos policy to use the modern language GOOD NEWS BIBLE or the NEW REVISED STANDARD VERSION from which all scripture quotes should be drawn. Avoid older English translations which may be difficult for the residents to understand.
Personal Witness as Part of the Talk
- The balance between personal witness and the message of the talk can be difficult. Remember, the message (contained in the outline) is essential – personal witness is used to illustrate or amplify a point; to bring to life the significance of the message as it has been experienced in your life – to express your relationship with Jesus as a means of describing what you have just told them.
- Be careful not to glorify yourself or your relationship with Christ or how the Spirit is in your life.
Rehearsal of the Talk
- Have the talk complete and read it out loud to yourself. Mark errors in your copy as you read. Identify problems for a rewrite. Is there a smooth transition from one point to another? Will the residents get lost in details, and stop taking notes?
- Rewrite, practice, time your talk, rewrite, practice, time…
Presenting the Talk at the Team Meeting
- The talks carry the truth of the Kairos weekend, the message of God’s love and grace. the Team “owns” the talks, and the speakers are preparing and presenting the talks on behalf of the Team. Every talk will be presented to Team representatives at an assigned Team meeting. The purpose of this preview is so the Team can graciously, and with charity, evaluate how the talk presents the needed message. The Team will have the key points of the talk in front of them as they listen to your presentation.
- Be ready to preview the talk in it’s final form to the Team on the assigned date. Prepare any visual aids you will need.
- Make the adjustments suggested by the Team. If you have used a thought that you think is good, but the Team disagrees, take it out! Don’t let ego or pride of authorship get in the way! Remember, you are only one part of the message of the Kairos. If the Team suggests that additional material be added, you may have to cut something out to accommodate it.
Giving the Talk
- Giving a talk is no different than any other public speaking, except for the presence of one very powerful friend – the Holy Spirit! You will be comfortable, relaxed, and at ease because the Holy Spirit is present and has been ever since you first prayed for guidance in preparing the talk. Therefore, the talk will be successful to the degree that you function as the instrument of the Holy Spirit in its presentation.
- God will hear your prayers for inner peace and will indeed be standing beside you at the lectern.
- During the Talk, let your personality contribute to the talk. Be yourself, use your own vocabulary, and let the talk reflect the uniqueness of your personality and your walk with Christ.
- Stand straight, feet under your body, and face the residents – don’t twist or fidget.
- Don’t drape yourself over the lectern. If you’re hanging on for dear life, the residents will be watching you and will be distracted from your talk.
- Don’t be a stiff board. You’re not an eighth grader reciting for the first time without a feeling for the subject or your audience. Rigidity reflects your uncertainty. Take a deep breath, look at the residents, and begin talking naturally. Concentrate on your talk, and the Holy Spirit will bring a peace to you.
- Pause…to emphasize points. Remember the residents need to be getting these points recorded in their notes.
- Maintain eye contact with the residents. don’t just “sweep” the room with your eyes, but look from table to table and speak to a person at each table. Remember, the eyes are the windows of the soul. the light of God shines in and from you. As you give your talk, also give that light away so that you can see it in the eyes of others.
- If you loose your place in your notes, don’t panic…and don’t apologize.