Best Talk Guide

Pictured above are the NW Austin Area staff and team leaders who headed up to Crested Butte this summer to get charged up for the year. They chase after students, organize club, and oversee their leaders. They get the chance every week to show students the best hour of their week. In those moments at club everything drives students to and prepares them for the conversation at the end over the Gospel.

Last week Billy, our area director, stood during the weekly team meeting and gave a full club talk to the leaders. The talk was an exercise in how to give a club talk. I wrote some key layers or moments in that talk.

  1. Address the Room – Affirm the group and a few individuals in the group by name for the positive observations or experiences you’ve shared during the week while hanging out. Elevate the importance of the talk as the most important time of club.
  2. Step into the Topic – Review the previous club talk and convey a leading question to frame your talk. “Last week we talk about this idea that God created us and loves us regardless of what we think of ourselves. Tonight I want to ask one of the biggest questions of all time, ‘Who is Jesus?’”
  3. Put the Kids in the Story – Give them a vision of what it must have felt like,  sounded like, and been like for the individuals people and situations in the passage. Ask questions to invite students into the passage. “What do you think Joseph must have thought of himself in that moment?” Translate tangible elements of the passage into modern day synonyms. “So when there was no room for them it was basically like being turned away at the only Holiday Inn in town and having to walk around back to a barn in the field to stay in? Joseph must have felt like the father of the year on that one.. not.”
  4. Build to the Conflict and Point of Turn – “While all of this is happening the Bible makes mention of these shepherds in the field who in all honesty are just homeless wanderers. While they’re out there this angel comes to them in this incredible moment and tells them that the messiah is being born. Can you imagine that?”
  5. Illustrate to Point – Bring the students in with a personal story that conveys the same experience, feeling, or question that the passage conflict or moment conveys. “One day in front of my friends I made this outrageous statement about running a triathlon. My friends immediately objected and dared me to just even run back to my house which was 23 miles away. My pride swelled up and the moment demanded satisfaction. I laced up my shoes, told my buddy to follow me on his bike, and for the next hour or maybe three hours I took the most exhausting journey of my college life.”
  6. Transition to Full Passage Understanding – “So in a moment of reckless abandon I ran the full 23 miles back to my hometown that night because I said I could and didn’t want to lose face. In the same way Jesus became flesh and came down to our world, lacing up our skin, experiences, and world to keep a promise and be in our world.
  7. Read the Key Verse – “So after Jesus is born and these shepherds are out in this field with this angel sharing this incredible thing with them, they turn to each other and say this amazing important thing, ‘Let us go to Bethlehem and go see what the Lord has told us.”
  8. Compelling Offer of Decision or Introspection – “Everyone in this room comes to club every week for pretty much the same reasons. Some of you come for fun, friends, or because your interested in someone here or I don’t know, maybe you have nothing else going on. But truthfully your here because God has this incredible truth he wants to share with you that Jesus came to us in our world on our turf to do life with us. Just like the shepherds we get this chance to go on this journey to come and see all semester who Jesus is and why he came. My challenge to you tonight is to draw near to Jesus and let yourself come each week to see what God has done.”

This example of a talk and the main layers of it comprise one point, one passage, one story, and one call to action all within the timespan of 12-15 minutes. Less is more. Focus on putting them in the story and answering the question, “So, what does this mean to my world?”

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Chad Swanzy has served in youth ministry for 15 years and currently works as the student ministry director at Gateway Community Church in Austin, Texas. Learn more from Chad and ask him your questions at