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What Guest Speakers Need to Know [Checklist]

If you have guest speakers speaking in your youth ministry, you can help them hit a home run with their message by giving them the information they need to know. Whether they speak at a regular youth service, or a special event like a retreat, making sure guest speakers have all the info they need will help avoid mistakes and even painful blunders.

Here’s a quick checklist list of what you need to inform guest speakers about:

Your Youth Group:

  • group size
  • the students’ age (it’s important to make this specific, mostly 11-13 year olds is completely different than mostly 14-16 year olds with a few younger students mixed in)
  • relevant cultural aspects, e.g. many urban kids, predominantly white, rural area, or large number of unchurched kids
  • any issues that are playing in your group right now, e.g. death of a student, a teen pregnancy, issues in the community
  • are there any big ‘no’s’ for speakers that you can think of?

guest speakersThe Content:

  • topic to speak about, if applicable
  • the topics that have been tackled in the last year, so they don’t pick a topic or passage that was done recently
  • if part of an event or retreat: what the others will be speaking about and how their message should fit in
  • desired length of the message
  • do speakers need to prepare a handout beforehand? If so, how do they need to deliver this and when?
  • do you need discussion starters or questions for afterwards or for in the small groups?
  • do you need the title of the message by a certain date? And a short description for promotional purposes?
  • any theological items that need to be either discussed or avoided, for instance because of controversy

Tech Stuff:

  • available technology and props, eg Powerpoint/Keynote, mic, video, whiteboard etc.
  • what they should bring themselves, if needed
  • formats for Powerpoint or Keynote presentation and how to deliver these (email? Dropbox? usb stick? Mac or Windows?)
  • type of stage (if applicable) and lectern (this can be important for some speakers because they will be used to smaller or bigger stages, and need to prepare accordingly)

Practical Stuff:

  • is there anything else you need from the speaker, like a short bio, picture, etc? If so, let him/her know exactly what, in what format, and by when you need it.
  • send the exact address, including a zip code and/or GPS for their sat nav when necessary and a phone number where someone can be reached in case the speaker is delayed
  • most speakers appreciate a schedule for the whole service, so they know when they’re up

With this checklist, you and the guest speaker should be well prepared for a talk in your youth ministry!

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