Thursday, May 20, 2010

on speaking amid changing temperatures

Australia has great variations in temperature. Currently in Maroochydore there is an overnight low of 16 and a forecast high of 24, while in Bathurst there was an overnight low of 3 and a forecast high of 12.

This is important because I am packing for both places, first for Maroochydore, to speak to the Queensland synod, and then to Ballarat Bathurst, to speak at the Transformers conference, as part of the New South Wales synod.

It will be the 5th time in a month that I have spoken outside the Uniting College lecturing context.

  • 3 days on mission, discipling, leadership at tertiary level in Sydney
  • half a day on mission that’s out of the valley to youth leaders
  • 2 days on mission-shaped community to lay folk from around South Australia
  • and a hour lecture on mission to lay and ordained folk in Queensland
  • followed by a 90 minute lecture, followed by 2 smaller facilitated workshops to ministry practioners in Sydney

To be honest, it is sort of doing my head in. Part of it is simply performance anxiety. When I was at high school, I used to skip school when it came time for the speech contests. I hated public speaking. So there’s a fair degree of anxiety flowing through me today.

Part of it is that each is different – in time and audience. Each has a slight variation in theme. Each has different issues they’d like to address and different expectations of how I might engage. The temperature is different in each room. I have a lot of things in what I call my speaking bag, different stories and paradigms and ways I have approached things. Different ways to stimulate people and gain interaction. I find it hard to pull out the same thing and just do it. Yet it has worked once and it would save me the time in trying to know what to pull out, how to start and to connect.

Part of it is my creative, restless personality, I like to keep working at things, playing with new ideas. So I simply can’t do the “canned” presentation.

I’m not sure why I am writing this, but it’s my blog and writing can clarify ….

Posted by steve at 09:08 AM


  1. I have never met you but I have looked at your blog a lot over the years…sounds like you are in the ‘right’ place- lots of ideas, different contexts, lots of liminality and lots of stimulation.I guess that although you find it hard, you bless a lot of people (well- you do me, through this blog!)

    At the same time, although this thrills (and scares) I guess it would also drain- I pray that you find lots of safe harbours of refreshment after sailing over the wide wild ocean….

    Comment by Graham — May 20, 2010 @ 7:14 pm

  2. Good thing about being here in QLD for Friday to Sunday means you can acclimatize before you front up.

    Comment by Duncan — May 20, 2010 @ 7:16 pm

  3. thanks graham. one of my fears in moving from opawa was a loss of creativity that comes from pastoral ministry in a congregational setting. so appreciate the feedback on my current context.

    Duncan, it was great to be in the room this morning and start to get a feel for what might be the corporate personality of the uniting synod in queensland, to see how people engage and give feedback and enter into processes. thanks for hosting me,


    Comment by steve — May 21, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

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