The original Speakers story featured on the TD Commotion (with surprise anchors and cameos!) Produced by TD alum, Jenny, over a decade ago, it’s still a great piece.
As we begin a new season of training youth speakers for the 2018 CA So. Baptist Youth Speakers Tournament (YST), I thought you’d enjoy a blast from the past! Back when we had the “Total Devotion Commotion” video program, we did a feature on the very first YST we entered in 2006.
About a week before the Los Angeles Association Drill, I had somewhat of an epiphany and saw a vision to begin training TD’ers to be able to communicate God’s Word effectively. I pitched the idea to four seniors, asking them to be the guinea pigs and to take the first steps to open the doors for future TD’ers to walk through. Even though all the other churches had already been preparing months in advance, I just wanted them to open the doors. There was no way we were going to win or anything, but even entering would start the ball rolling for us.
I thought the four accepted the challenge, but one of them said she never did, so when she received my email thanking all of them for buying into the vision and being willing to do something crazy like enter YST with only a week to prepare, she went to the bathroom and cried. Who could blame her? Public speaking is America’s greatest fear. Who was it? I’ll let you watch the video above to find out.
We spent nearly everyday at my home the following week preparing. One speaker dropped out early, and then another had a scheduling conflict, leaving only two speakers left. But God led us here and God’s hand was all over this (and clearly has been ever since). The rest, as they say, is history.
Though we have had 13 tournament champions and 8 runners-up since then, we have had many, many more true winners – in the most important ways – before God. Through fierce struggle, perseverance, tears, and the mercy and grace of God, we have had speakers who thought they were Christians coming in, actually become Christians during Speakers. We’ve had life re-dedications, victory over fear, personal “dragons” slain, and many tears of joy and triumph.
All I can say about the Speakers process is that it is … magic. Enjoy the video! – Arthur