Reporting back and presentations to church or groups

For anyone that is sent, encouraged, endorsed by a church for any length of time, it will often be appropriate to have an opportunity or even be a requirement to report back and share with the church family on the experience or the work that the individual(s) has/have been involved in.

Presentations should not be complicated and in fact often the simplest are the most effective, but how this is done can make or break the presentation and at its extreme, affect any on-going support or endorsement.

Below are some points around presentations to consider for your context.

1) For those requesting/requiring presentation (i.e. church, small group, youth group, prayer group etc.)

Give people plenty of notice so that they can schedule and prepare.

Avoid assumption that the individual(s) understands what it means to present – for some people this may be the first time they have ever done so in such a way.

Understand why you would like this presentation to take place – part of the DNA of the group, create awareness of mission, to fill a gap, expectation etc.

Be clear with the individual(s) on:

Timeframes and how strict that is! What will happen if they go over that time slot? But also be realistic with timeframes. 3-4 minutes is certainly not impossible if someone is well prepared but it is a skill to work carefully to that slot. It’s also important not to undervalue a person or their experience with a very short slot.

Demographics of the audience - who are they presenting to and numbers.

Space setup and technology available

Location and address of the venue! If they don’t know the environment, this is somewhat important!

Outline any specifics you would like with regards to focus and flow: Work responsibilities, Church, General life, Family, God at work in others and the community, What, why, when, where, who, how etc.

 If the individuals have children, be intentional about inviting them to share as part of the report back – it’s their experience too!

Choose an alternative method of presentation:

An interview – choose the interviewer well and send through questions in advance to avoid on the spot ‘umms and errs’ (unless you know the person can work well with impromptu).

Video – if a person cannot be present, get them to send a video clip through

Skype chats - if the context has the technological capability, set up a video skype chat internationally (or nationally).

A special note on teams’ presentations: dependent on numbers within a team, think through carefully issues of timeframes and whether everyone should share and how. Talk with the team leader on this well in advance.

2) For those presenting (short or long termers or teams)

Understand the church or audience context – it’s more than likely a youth group will need a different approach than a seniors group!
Technology is not an absolute must but if it is desired, check well in advance that the systems in place and what you made need to bring. Get there early and trial the technology in advance. Have a back-up plan if it all goes to custard on the day! Power still fails! Avoid 100% reliance on technology.

 If you do use powerpoint:

Ensure photos are high resolution enough to be clear and crisp on a big screen

Choose font styles and colours carefully so that words can be read! Simple is best!

Plenty of space on each slide – not overcrowded

Err on the side of a smaller number of slides

Respect the timeframes that you have been given

Avoid jargon and acronyms – you know these but assume no-one else does!

If you need to speak more generally due to security issues, this may need some explanation as to why.

Be aware of relevance – be cautious of humour that may not translate between contexts.

Don’t feel that you need to say everything (in fact you won’t be able to!) – stick to key points and allow opportunity for people to connect one on one at a later point.

Be prepared – if necessary run the presentation past someone else in advance for their input.

Leave people inspired, excited and informed

Some ideas on focus areas include:

Story telling (short, sharp and focused)
Photos of your living and working environment
Comments on the background of the place you are/were
Comments on the people you interact with and their needs
Prayer and praise points – a key 2-4 point.
Don’t forget about God in this! What is He doing in the world!

Think about the what, where, why, how, when aspects of sharing.

Think about what you would like to sit through if you were the listener rather than the presenter.

3) A word for Teams

Plan together the presentation

Think about the what, where, why, how, when etc.
i. God at work – in that location, in me, in others etc
ii. Needs and prayer points
iii. How am I different for being part of this…

Be aware that not all team members will be able to share simply due to time restrictions

Be creative – video, drama, spoken, visual, interview each other….

Leave the listeners inspired and encouraged