The Fear Of Public Speaking

Wednesday's Word

The Fear Of Public Speaking

Are you afraid of public speaking? How would you respond if someone asked you to teach the Bible or share your faith in front of others?

Many of us would experience sweaty palms if we were asked to make a simple announcement during church, let alone teach in some capacity. Perhaps it’s our general fear of public speaking that stimulates anxiety, or maybe you feel that you’re not as biblically literate as you should be.

But no matter how uncomfortable you are in front of a crowd, or regardless of how little seminary you have completed, God intends for you to be one of his instructors.

It’s true that God sets apart certain people for public teaching in the church. He gives them the gifts and grace necessary to do the thing he’s called them to do in this role. But the scheduled proclamation of the Word in the body of Christ is only one aspect of the church’s teaching ministry.

The Apostle Paul instructs us all, in Colossians 3:16, to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.” In this context, Paul is talking about the myriad of everyday-life ministry opportunities that God gives to each of his children.

(This passage is not addressing seminary students or pastors or elders. At the beginning of the chapter, he starts with, “If then you have been raised with Christ…” That's all of us, any Christian, regardless of vocation or location.)

So what do these everyday-life ministry opportunities look like? David shares one in Psalm 51:13: “I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.”

This type of teaching doesn’t require us to lay out a comprehensive theology of grace. Most of us wouldn’t be qualified to do that. Instead, this type of teaching requires us to share our stories of rescue and transformation with others.

This one-on-one, informal ministry is not teaching the person about grace. Rather, I am sharing my experience of grace. People learn, not because I’ve opened the dictionary and given them a lecture, but because I’ve shown them the video of grace in operation in my own life.

What qualifies us to teach in the personal ministry context of everyday life is the grace that we have received in our own moments of need. By being willing to share my own story, I am being a tool of transforming grace in their lives.

You may never be a pastor, small group leader, Sunday school teacher, or foreign missionary. But you will always be called to a life of daily gospel transparency. God wants you to be ready, willing, and waiting to share your gratitude for the grace you’ve received with someone who needs it just as much as you.

Will you be a good steward of your story of grace?

God bless

Paul David Tripp


Reflection Questions

  1. What steps can you take to become more biblically literate and theologically informed?
  2. What are some other areas in your life that compete with – or you prioritize more than – being a student of the Word of God?
  3. Have you thought about how to tell your story in a way that puts God and his grace on center stage? Take some time now to consider how you can share your story with others, both of how God saved you and is now transforming you every day.
  4. What are some of the hurdles that leave you unwilling or nervous to talk honestly about how much you were (and continue to be) a person in need of rescue? How can you combat that pride or fear by preaching the Gospel to yourself?
  5. Who is living near you who could benefit from your story of grace? What action steps can you take this week to meet with them and begin to share your story, while also asking more about their story?
Posted by Benjamin Fallon at 3:00 AM