The once-red notebook cover is fading to pink. The other notebook pulls away from its spiral binding. Though the outsides may be tattered, the columns of numbers, names, and locations scrawled inside are pure gold. These two logs spanning 20 years were kept by Eleanor Brake, now-retired Stonecroft Speaker, who traveled from Group to Group sharing her life story and how it intersected with the Gospel.
The books list 319 events over two decades. But the real treasure is the long list of numbers indicating decisions – 2,385 total, averaging about 119 people a year beginning forever relationships with Jesus Christ.
“Traveling and speaking for Stonecroft was the best part of my life,” says Eleanor.
Through the decades, Stonecroft Speakers such as Eleanor have told their real-life stories, how Jesus Christ made the difference, and how He can transform their listeners’ lives.
Approximately 2,000 Women’s Connection Speakers continue this Gospel-sharing mission today. Their talks cover a variety of topics such as addiction, forgiveness, freedom, grief, laughter, the power of words, rejection, and many more. Yet all lead to the intersection of their story with God’s.
Women’s Connection Speaker Trainers hold training workshops to develop Speakers with engaging stories, effective presentations, and passion for the Gospel. Stonecroft’s Speaker training is so powerful, some Speakers are invited to speak at church or community events, points out Cheryl Lee Davis, Vice President of Women’s Connection.
WC Speaker training was recently updated by the release of The Power of Your Story workbook. More training enhancements are on the way. A PowerPoint series launching on the Stonecroft website provides training videos to help Speakers improve their skills and their talks.
Jan Mathers, Stonecroft Speaker Consultant who works with the training project, is excited about the revisions to the program. Speakers are now encouraged to update their talks by inserting new anecdotes into the overall presentation story. These insertions include what God is doing today in Speakers’ lives. She recently did this in her presentation and felt reinvigorated with the new anecdote.
“It went perfectly because I was excited about my new story!” she says. Jan thinks now is a good time for Speakers to make the change.
“There’s a fresh wind blowing across Stonecroft,” Jan, also a member of the National Board of Directors, says. “Some Speakers may have been doing this a long time. By freshening their stories, they see maximum impact and they are reinvigorated. This reminds Speakers why they were called to do this in the first place.”
Another recent change is the Speakers’ promotion of Stonecroft Bible Studies (SBS). They invite listeners to get involved in SBS and some Speakers may even guide an SBS group in their area.
In addition, a website-based National Speaker List is gradually rolling out to make it easier for Groups and Speakers to connect. The list started with five Speakers and more names will be added over time as Speakers are approved to speak nationally.
Cheryl explains that many Speakers are available to speak as they spend different seasons in various parts of the country. And often Groups are looking for Speakers they haven’t heard before or those with a particular topic of interest. The list can become a great help for Groups to fill their Speaker needs.
Speakers are used in other ministry outreaches also. Doris Thompson, Vice President of Outreach, says that new outreaches, such as Story Marks and Detox – find your balance, use speakers who connect their stories to developing a life in the Christian faith. As new outreaches emerge, the need for local speakers grows. Each speaker for a new outreach goes through training with Jessica Leep Fick, Evangelism Resources Director.
The rise of a new generation of speakers is beautiful, Doris says. Many of these new speakers, even though they don’t have public speaking in their background, have a strong desire to share their transformative stories, she says. “Following Christ has been life-changing for them and they want to share their story with someone else.”
Editor’s Note: Interested in becoming a Women’s Connection Stonecroft Speaker? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find a Speaker Trainer near you.