Speaking has been integral to Christian life and practice for centuries. Speakers, whether Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox have been one of God’s choice heating instruments to warm up people to His love and His mission to the world. The greatest communicators in Church history have always been convinced that Christian speaking is more than just oratory, more than inspirational rhetoric, but have instead believed that speaking – the spoken word — is a means by which people are transformed from a spiritual state of darkness, to a spiritual state of light through Jesus Christ.
If speaking is truly a way in which the divine life of God spills through one human being into the hearts of others, than those who speak must be careful to keep their own spirituality healthy. Jesus Himself provides contemporary communicators with the best model for a spirituality of speaking
Jesus lived His life rooted in His identity as the Son of God. As a speaker you must anchor your own ministry by claiming your personal identity as a son or daughter of God. No other identity will stand the test of illness, ministry failure, and painful life seasons. If you, the communicator, aren’t first and foremost a child of God by grace, then how will you be able to speak about God’s grace to others?
Jesus was not constantly on the go. He didn’t fill up His day planner with endless appointments, meetings, and ministry opportunities. His life was rooted in a cycle of renewal and mission. Through the pages of the New Testament Jesus would preach, teach, and heal the sick and then retreat to a quiet place with a few close friends. At other times, Jesus would minister and then go to a quiet place to pray by Himself. As a speaker you put yourself in danger of becoming spiritually toxic if you believe you can continually give without finding time for rest and renewal.
In His earthly ministry Jesus did not attempt to save, heal, or teach every single human being on the planet. He had particular ministry focus on the people of Israel and further limited most of His work to the rural villages of the Galilee. As a speaker, you must set your mission focus realistically, and not believe the lie that ministry success is always defined by the size of your audience or the recognition you receive from the wider Christian world. Success in the speaking ministry is defined by faithfulness to God’s Word.
For speaking to have authority requires every communicator be a devoted student of the Bible. Taking time for Scripture, besides that required for your speaking preparation, requires that you find time for rest and renewal. Taking time for holy resting is a commandment of God and without it you’ll find yourself becoming spirituality toxic. They key to a healthy spirituality of speaking is learning to live seasonally from times of renewal, to times of ministry activity.