I've never really been interested in having a guest speaker for our student ministry.  I love enjoying a great speaker myself when I go to a conference, but when it comes to our retreats, events, and programs - I have no interest.  Now saying all of the following, I think there absolutely is a place for Christian speakers.  A lot of incredible events and conferences wouldn't be the same without them, but at the end of the day it when I'm budgeting for our middle school ministry, speakers are not even on my radar.

Why Non-Professional Speakers Are Better:

1. Students don't care who the speaker is.

Even though this person has spoken all over the world and has many leather bound books, your students don't care about  their pastor star-dom.  There are two main factors that are going to determine whether most students will come to your event, "Who's gonna be there?" and "Will it be fun?"

2. "Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

I realize that speakers really care about the students they are speaking too even if they don't know them individually.  They are often very passionate about connecting them with local ministries.  But the truth is no matter how much you try to communicate from a stage that you care, it is not going to communicate the same way as being present in the lives of students every day.

3. If I need a break from teaching, I use my volunteers.

I love teaching, but sometimes I just need a couple weeks off to get refreshed and excited about the next thing we are teaching.  What better way to get some time off from the main teaching than training volunteers to start teaching.  It's an awesome opportunity for your volunteers that are passionate about teaching and a great break for your students to hear someone different.

4. It's cheaper not to.

I do everything I can to make our big retreats affordable, and when we are able to put together an awesome experience in-house it works really well.  Now I realize that this is not for everyone.  I love being able to put together our own themes, work with our own worship teams, and put together an incredible retreat experience.  Doing it ourself, especially the teaching component, makes this type of trip significantly cheaper.  I recently found out about a group doing nearly the same trip as we do, but with a speaker and a band...the trip was more than double the price for students!

  • Are you a professional speaker, what do you think?
  • If you lead a ministry, do you pay to have speakers come to events or programs in your ministry?


Photo Credit: Robnas