Superintendents' Training - Lesson 3; Personal Development

To support your personal growth, we recommend that you develop an album of your lessons, responses to the questions, and your selection of reporting activities. Include your personal objectives, prayer requests, and answers to those prayers.

Lesson 3: Well Said! Speaking Effectively in Groups of All Sizes


As a result of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Speak more effectively to groups of various sizes.
  • Explain the reasons for choosing content and approach when speaking to various Sabbath School groups.


Resources for the videos may be purchased from Cyber Nation International, Inc., 1135 Terminal Way, Suite 209, Reno, NV 89502.

  • Confident Public Speaking, vols. 1 and 2 (videos), by Rosko Paskov.

The following resources may be ordered through your local Adventist Book Center:

  • Books by Ellen G. White: The Acts of the Apostles; Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 108; Christ’s Object Lessons; Counsels on Stewardship; Steps to Christ.


Ellen White says in Christ’s Object Lessons: “Of all the gifts we have received from God, none is capable of being a greater blessing than [speech]” (p. 335). She emphasizes the importance of effective speaking for all groups in the following statement: “Every Christian is called to make known to others the unsearchable riches of Christ; therefore he should seek for perfection in speech. He should present the word of God in a way that will commend it to the hearers. . . . We should look to Jesus, the perfect pattern; we should pray for the aid of the Holy Spirit, and in His strength we should seek to train every organ for perfect work” (p. 336).

Ten Keys for Formal Presentations

  • Prepare yourself spiritually. Ask God to help you reach the hearts of your group. He will give you divine inspiration to meet the needs of each individual in your group.
  • Plan your presentation according to the following factors:
  • The size of the group will determine the amount of interaction between the speaker and the audience. Large groups may be divided for discussion periods, and reports can be made to the larger group by one individual in each group.
  • The age level of the group is significant because the attention span of young children is short. Older individuals can pay attention longer if your presentation is well planned and interesting. Maintain enthusiasm in all your presentations. Indicate that you really believe what you are saying.
  • The type of materials you are using should be chosen to illustrate the information you are presenting. Visual aids should be appropriate for the group. Make sure they are neat and pleasing to the eye.
  • Use appropriate stories to introduce your content.
  • Use gestures to emphasize a point.
  • Practice delivering your speech. Look at your audience as if you were speaking to each person individually.
  • Use research to supplement your own knowledge and experience.
  • Organize your speech into three basic parts:
  • Introduction—state your purpose in a quick summary.
  • Body—present the outline of your speech point by point.
  • Conclusion—summarize and challenge your hearers.
  • Stick to your main points and visuals as outlined in your notes.
  • Leave time for a question-and-answer period.
  • At the conclusion, summarize your main points and tell the audience what action should be taken (or at least what you expect them to have learned or want them to believe).

Speaking in the Sabbath School Council

It is the superintendent’s responsibility to motivate the division leaders and teachers to inspire their Sabbath School members at all age levels to prepare for Christ’s return. Christ’s method of speaking should be used in planning and making presentations. 

The Sabbath School superintendent/coordinator has an excellent opportunity to unfold the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Use figures and illustrations that are familiar to the members of the council.

Omit high-sounding words that require the use of a dictionary. Sabbath School workers’ speech should be pure, simple, and accurate so they can be understood clearly (see Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 108; The Acts of the Apostles, p. 30).

Make your voice an asset. Enunciate clearly, speak in distinct tones.

Ask God to help people hear that you are acquainted with Christ, the model teacher.

  1. Encourage all division leaders to work effectively with their teachers and workers. Communicate frequently.
  2. Inspire them to utilize their gift of speech to present truths to their divisions in creative ways. 
  3. Emphasize punctuality and enthusiasm. 
  4. Have all the materials, visual aids, or illustrations you will use for presentations ready and in the order they will be presented. 
  5. Provide workshops and seminars to help Sabbath School workers improve their speaking abilities.  

Effective Speaking in Large and Small Classes

  1. Pray for wisdom to present Christ to your students in a clear, distinct voice that will glorify God.
  2. Practice speaking in distinct tones, exercising the abdominal muscles.
  3. Relate to the needs of your audience in large and small classes. (Special prayer requests should be recognized.)
  4. Utilize visual aids or stories to emphasize your points. (If your Sabbath School has separate classrooms for teaching, PowerPoints may be utilized if the teacher has access to computer technology.)
  5. Be well prepared before you make your presentations. Spend time reviewing what you plan to present.
  6. Look at your audience and present your information in an enthusiastic manner.
  7. Involve your audience in your presentation by asking questions or requesting a show of hands to questions.

Effective Speaking at Church Board Meetings

The church board functions as the main governing committee of the church and deals with the business of the church. Three factors should be remembered by those serving on the board:

  1. 1. Church board members should speak in pleasant tones, using correct grammar and pronouncing words clearly. Their words should be kind and loving when sharing information or giving reproof.  
  2. 2. Follow Christ’s example in speaking to individuals. “He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness” ( Christian Service, p. 231).
  3. 3. We must be patient when listening to others’ viewpoints. Ellen White states that speech is a talent. Even when provoked, be patient. She state that the Holy Spirit does not remain when we are peevish because others do not agree with our ideas and plans. The Lord desires those connected with His work to speak with the meekness of Christ. Read Counsels on Stewardship, page 115.


Required Project

Develop a seven-minute speech about a fruit of the Spirit and present it. Submit only your speech outline and a “sandwich” report: Bread: Cite a positive statement about the appropriateness of the topic for the particular audience. Filling: Brief statements about how you could strengthen a particular aspect of your presentation. Bread: Make a positive statement about the speaking experience.

Oliver Davis
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists