Dr. Charles R. Swindoll, beloved pulpit and radio pastor who has shared his spiritual guidance on his “Insight for Living” program over the course of many years, has written a how-to book on public speaking. Swindoll, who has been ministering to people inside and outside of the church proper for over 50 years, offers readers an intimate timeline of his life and work. Readers will learn much about Swindoll’s childhood, teen years, young adult life, and married years with Cynthia and their children. He quite transparently opens up about his failures, mistakes and doubts that helped develop him into the exemplary Christian leader he is today. In every way, this fine resource is a practical and inspirational primer on learning how to communicate effectively with others, no matter the audience.
"[Swindoll] skillfully brings together just the right mix of homespun storytelling and solid biblical truth --- the perfect combination for wanna-be speakers and those who listen to them."
One especially interesting fact about Swindoll is that he used to be a stutterer. He says that the last thing he ever planned on doing as an adult was being a minister. He recalls the agony of having to get in front of people during his teen years and working extremely hard (remember The King’s Speech) to overcome his tendency to speak fluently (and with passion).
What Swindoll did intend was to marry his sweetheart and live happily ever after, but the war got in the way and he was shipped 7,000 miles away from home (and Cynthia). Today, he cites that pivotal time period as the one that drove him to make intense study of God’s Word his priority, and there he began learning how to lead others to Christ. When he came back home, Swindoll felt the call to serve as a pastor, and once again his life’s purpose was becoming more defined. He shares of his grueling years as a student at Dallas Theological Seminary and how he fully invested himself in preparing for service as a minister. Along came babies, then calls to various churches, a radio ministry, and much in between.
Fascinating and instructive, Swindoll weaves his personal life story through every chapter as he practically explains how to communicate well with one’s “audience” --- whether that be a church fellowship, at a speakers convention, or over the radio waves. Those readers who are interested in developing their own speaking skills more fully will find much here to direct them in such specific topic focuses as: learning to heed their unique calling; preparing themselves with dedication; discerning when to go and when to stay; digging into God’s Word like an expert; building a message with the proper foundation; developing a prayer life of substance; using illustrations to make a point; adding laughter with care; making application useful; and bringing it all together with a solid ending.
And this is truly what Swindoll accomplishes here. He skillfully brings together just the right mix of homespun storytelling and solid biblical truth --- the perfect combination for wanna-be speakers and those who listen to them.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on February 17, 2012