To the student whose season just ended, I’m so sorry. When I saw the email announcements a few days ago, my heart broke for my younger siblings, the students I have coached, and the hundreds of families who build their spring semester around tournaments. As you grieve this difficult but necessary announcement and perhaps work through anxiety about many other uncertainties, I would like to encourage you with a few truths…
Last week both Stoa and NCFCA announced they are canceling their speech and debate seasons. I ache for all of the competitors who abruptly saw their season come to an end, especially the seniors. We know that these decisions were not taken lightly, and much prayer was put into this. The bottom line is there are no guarantees. We have always known this, but we don’t tend to believe it unless it’s staring us in the face. I know for some students, they feel like the rug has been pulled out from under them. However, you are not yet finished…
Below is one of our devotionals from the Lasting Impact! Devotional Book…
Everything you say and do has an unpredictable impact! Speech and Debate is no different!
All too often I see students who are practicing and honing their public speaking skills for the competition, winning trophies, or recognition. I know it can be easy to lose focus on why the art of communication matters.
BUT WOULD YOU BELIEVE THAT YOUR COMMUNICATION COULD HAVE AN IMPACT ON GENERATIONS TO COME?
When I was in high school, there was one activity I craved to do more than any other. Compete in speech and debate. It gave me an indescribable feeling that burst inside of me when 300 speech competitors clapped when my name was called. The feeling was a combination of humility, pride, and relief. The clap of 300 competitors was a signal that meant the gutwrenching, nerve-racking speeches I gave five times a day paid off and would walk across the stage to receive a reward or better, advance my speech to the national championship.
They say a huge fear in the human population is not dying, it’s public speaking. Yet it is one of the most necessary and valuable skills in life today. Public communication is used in practically every facet of life in almost every profession. Whether you need to communicate with customers, bosses, or employees, the skills of public speaking are used. The desire to speak competitively in front of judges is not a normal feeling to crave, but I and hundreds… thousands of other competitors did because we knew it would benefit us long after the feeling of winning a competition fleeted away.
During my sophomore year, I was asked as apart of the advanced debate class to spend a round helping a novice team through their first round. Before the debate, I sent them this worksheet I had made, emphasizing that these four main sections were essential for each and every speech they give. Here is what it looked like:
That’s the plain and simple truth. Tournaments aren’t for your parents. Tournaments aren’t for your siblings. They’re for you. Parents may enjoy socializing, yes. But how many parents do you know who still come to tournaments once their children are graduated? Hardly any. Once you’re not in the league, Speech and Debate doesn’t mean much to your parents. Why? Because tournaments are for you.
This Sunday evening – Feb. 23, 2020, is Lasting Impact!’s mid-season apologetics workshop. It is focused on providing resources to competitors in the middle of the season (or an early jump start for next year) to equip and motivate them. We know it is a busy time and you may see a workshop as another burdensome item to add to the checklist that never seems to end. You may have also noticed, however, that this workshop is unique in that its focus is to wash attendees in Scripture. The entire two hours will be an intentional journey through what Scripture has to say about apologetics topics.
Why focus on Scripture in general? Growing in your knowledge of Scripture helps to draw you closer to Christ and focus your motivations for participating in apologetics and public speaking. Knowing more of God’s Word directly prepares you to fight temptations in your personal life, take comfort in difficult seasons, and share your faith in conversation with others as the Holy Spirit works to bring those references to mind. Scripture is the most powerful and appropriate outside resource to include when you share what you believe with others. My hope is that this workshop’s focus will benefit you by helping you to re-center your heart and emotions. My prayer is that you will be more excited to study God’s word outside of apologetics prep and get a glimpse of the treasures that wait for you.
Why focus on Scripture once the season has already begun? In case you’re still hesitant, I want to remind you that the amount of time you have to write and edit new cards will only continue to decrease as the season picks up and the other demands on your time increase. Having large quantities of Scripture passages at your fingertips allows you to not only quickly bulk up all your cards, but also directs and organizes your other content and can reduce any prep time panic.
How exactly will this workshop provide Scripture resources? You’ll be guided through carefully prepared slides that provide Scripture passages and how they could be used not only in specific topics but also with specific points that you could then elaborate on in the moment. Let’s look at an example! There are several topics that ask you to articulate the attributes of God. Each attribute provides the opportunity for you to share passages of Scripture that shed light on who God is. While we’ll be touching every apologetics topic at least by brushing past similar topics, this workshop will make sure you are prepared to fill your speeches with specific resources. For example, when explaining the meaning and significance of God’s omnipotence, the words of Scripture can shape your organization and content for each point.
Job 42:1-2 shows us the attitude we should take towards God’s omnipotence, which is one of both confidence and humility. “Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”
Isaiah 14:27 chimes in “For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?”
Daniel 4:35 draws a comparison between our power as humans and our inability to question the work of God. “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”
Ephesians 1:18-19 provides specific encouragement to believers for the eternal hope the all-powerful God has promised in salvation “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.”
Here’s a final example (we could have looked at many more) of a verse that helps articulate the magnitude of God’s omnipotence. Colossians 1:17 sums up the breadth and impact of God’s power. “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
This is the process we’ll be walking through on Sunday, and I really hope you’ll join me! Sign up here for Sunday night’s apologetics resource workshop. Click HERE to sign up.
If someone asked me to give a one-liner that captures what will be happening for two hours on the evening of February 23rd, I’d probably blurt out something like “nearly 100 Bible verses you can use in apologetics right now to help you feel more prepared and grow in your faith.” That doesn’t sound very professional, so you might want to read the rest of this article, but if you’re convinced this intensive is for you, feel free to skip the article and sign up HERE.
Although the competition season has begun, it is not too late to accumulate resources for apologetics and grow in your passion for both God’s word and this speech event. You can expect this intensive to be fast-paced and motivational! While I’ll be facilitating the evening and running the carefully prepared slides (which you will have access to after the intensive), you won’t be hearing many of my own words. Instead, you’ll have the chance to meditate with me on the divinely inspired words of God. I’ll be pushing well past the passages of Scripture you’re probably using already to challenge you with less familiar passages drawn from less familiar places in the Bible.
If you’ve participated in Lasting Impact!’s online apologetics club or workshops in the past, you’ve probably heard me or another coach explain the importance of familiarizing yourself with the broader categories and sub-categories that make up each league’s topic list. In this intensive, we’ll be moving systematically through the categories and sub-categories you will encounter and looking at Scriptures that will help you provide a deeper and stronger answer. Here are just a few examples of what we’ll be covering:
Verses that show both God’s transcendence and immanence
Verses that refute works-based salvation
Verses that proclaim Christ’s divinity and humanity
Verses that build confidence in the trustworthiness of the Bible
Verses that specifically refute deism, pantheism, and reincarnation
After this intensive, you’ll have lots of resources that can be immediately transferred to cards so that you can confidently walk into your next tournament prepared to share the power and truths of Scripture! I hope to see you on February 23rd!
Throughout my seven years competing in Speech and Debate, I heard the same phrase echoing throughout the competition halls: “I just want at least ONE judge to cry in my speech this time”. Pathos, the emotional appeal of your words, is admittedly an effective tool when it comes to evoking strong reactions amongst your audience, but is it the best way to approach your limited prep speeches?
Sign up for Annie’s Impromptu Class, which starts Mon. Feb. 10, HERE or continue to read on…
Are you looking to enhance your communication skills? Are you needing more practice in your impromptu speaking abilities? Are you not able to get into the impromptu speech category because it’s too full or your league doesn’t offer it? Would you believe, working on these skills will help in all aspects of speech and debate, including LIFE!?
There is no doubt the benefits you can gain by being bold and trying Impromptu! But it can be so much easier than just jumping in… let Annie Rogers be your guide! Lasting Impact! is adding another Impromptu Class/Club to help our students navigate one of the harder speech categories… but probably one of the events with the most benefits.
Annie says, “Practicing and preparing for Impromptu can better prepare you for real life. Trust me, you cannot win a scholarship, receive a job offer, or earn a prestigious internship with out the skills to think on your feet. Most colleges, businesses, and fellowships are concerned with your ability to think critically, speak coherently, and process information quickly. One of the purposes of competing in high school speech and debate is to prepare students to communicate effectively in any environment they end up in, and focusing on developing the structure of your Impropmtu’s is a small, albeit effective tool in pushing you closer to that goal.”
Join Annie Rogers in her weekly quest to better prepare communicators. This class is limited in size. Her goal is to enhance your skills in Impromptu, Limited Prep, Debate, and beyond! Click HERE to sign up and learn more!