I’m Back-And I’d Like to Help You Build Your Speaking Ministry

Hello, everybody!

It’s been almost a year since I’ve posted in this blog, although lots of you have still been reading posts! I’m sorry about that. I’ve been busy with two book launches in 2012, and building up my marriage blog (I went from 10,000 monthly visitors to 350,000 monthly visitors last year), so my life has been a bit crazy.

But speaker training is a passion of mine, and so now that I’ve got things on autopilot a little bit more over there, I’d like to spend more time here, hopefully publishing a post or two every week on how to build your ministry, and be more effective at that ministry.

I already have quite the archives on this blog, but I’ve had a backlog of questions on Facebook I want to get to, like how do I get organized to build up a speaking ministry? I’m already busy, so I’m afraid to market in case I get too many requests. How do I figure out how much to share, when my story involves so many other people? Or just how can I get people to think of me as a speaker?

I’d love to tackle some of those coming up!

I thought first, though, that I’d let you in on some of the changes that have happened in my life, so you can also know where I’m coming from.

For years I’ve been doing the typical speaking ministry: you start with single night events, like outreaches, or women’s dinners at churches. You move on to do some weekend retreats. And then it grows from there, as you get bigger churches, and bigger retreats, and denominational conferences.

In 2008 I joined the team at Girls Night Out, hosted by World Vision, and that was a blessing because they did the booking! I’d do the same event and the same talk in different churches, but it was all coordinated for me. I felt really spoiled! But I fell in love with doing an “event”-a night that you bring to churches which looks pretty much the same, but is professionally done.

This last year my life has changed again. My book The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex came out with Zondervan, which is a major Christian publisher. My blog grew. And I decided it was time to create my own event, where I spoke about sex. And so this year I’ve concentrated on a very different kind of speaking. Instead of general inspiration speaking, I’ve done a targeted night.

In some ways I miss sharing my complete testimony, but in others I’m excited about the new opportunities coming my way.

But I’ve also learned this year, for the first time, that I really need to invest in myself. For years I’ve gotten by on minimal marketing, generating word of mouth when I speak (and I still absolutely believe that this is the best route to build your speaking ministry!) At some point, though, if you want to grow, you sometimes have to actually invest. And so I’ve hired people to help with booking, and I’m in the process of designing a backdrop and tablecloths and other accessories to make my whole night streamlined. This is really far out of my comfort zone-I HATE spending money on marketing (hence why I’ve always tried to teach you all to do it for free!). So I’ve had to open up my wallet and trust that God will bring the investment back.

So that’s where I’ve been. And I’m excited about the new phase in my life, but I also want to get back to helping others grow their ministries, because truthfully, there just aren’t enough women who are engaging and inspirational and speak well. So let’s learn together, and let’s turn the world on fire for Him!

As I launch forward and start writing this blog again, I’d love to know what you want to hear more about. So if you could answer this question for me in the comments, it would help me a great deal in planning future blog posts that will actually be helpful to you all:

The most frustrating thing about my speaking ministry is…….

Thank you all so much!

And if you want to learn how to get more bookings WITHOUT spending a fortune on marketing, my webinar How to Get Better Bookings can help!


  1. says

    Sheila, I can’t wait to meet you at She Speaks this summer. I’ve enjoyed following your blogs for a few months now. Thanks for getting back in the groove on this site!

    • says

      So excited about She Speaks, too! I’m going to write a post on that soon. I’ve known so many of the speakers online for years, but never met them in real life. So it’ll be like a party for me!

      • says

        Hi, Jessica! Great to see yo here. Yes, I am going to be at She Speaks, and I’m so excited! But sorry I’ll miss you! Don’t worry, if I’m terrifically awesome I’m sure I’ll get asked back!

  2. says

    So glad to see you back Sheila!

    The most frustrating thing about my speaking ministry has been “starting one”! lol.

    I have a background in events organizing, (not speaking per se). I have been a leader of small groups at church.

    Events organizing and leading/speaking in small groups is a great place to start a speaking ministry but one and half years ago, (and just about the time i started a small teaching and coaching business), I moved continents!

    So my greatest challenge has been starting again, with zero connections, zero network, new culture, new life e.t.c. Am not where i was one and half years ago. But am looking forward to learning all i can, cos honestly I need help :)

  3. says

    Hi Sheila, I’m new to your site, but love it already! The most frustrating thing about my speaking ministry is that due to “life” I haven’t spoken in several years…It’s good in a way, because my topics are different, and more defined. I did start a blog which is great for my writing, but HOW to get back into speaking is a big question for me right now.

  4. says

    Hey Shelia,
    I literally hang on many of your words!! :) My husband and I both love to read your marriage blog, and I have been trying to read all I can on this blog. I have been speaking (for ladies groups in churches) for about 3 years now. I am a wife and mom, and since 4 years ago a paraplegic that uses a wheelchair full-time. My niche is a passion for those going through trials in their lives and how to keep the joy of the Lord as our strength! I also have a passion to help others with disabilities find life again.
    My biggest struggle is two-fold: 1) How to tell your story without sounding like it is all about you. I am only helped myself by keeping it real and so I do, but I don’t ever want people to think that I just love to talk about myself. But there are SO many analogies to disability and our inability as Christians without the help of the Lord. 2) TIME! I have 6 children and I homeschool. Speaking helps me feel like there has been a purpose to what I have gone through so I love it as it just keeps my heart stirred, but knowing how much time to dedicate without hurting my family is a hard things to know.
    I would love to hear your advice on these things.

    • says

      Alicia, I’m so glad to see you here, too! Time and balance is certainly a huge issue. I have a great idea for how to post about that, so thanks for fanning the flame! Blessings,

  5. says

    Heya Sheila!

    I wasn’t going to attend She Speaks this summer, and then I saw YOU were going to be speaking several times and changed my mind on the spot! I’ll be front and center every session taking notes and Tweeting like crazy!

    Right now, the most frustrating thing about my speaking ministry is figuring out my niche…or should I say, figuring out how to present my niche topic(s) in a reasonably mainstream way. Most of my topics start with a focus on what NOT to do, so I have to figure out how to help the majority of my audience members sense their need, own the problem, and want to change…before I can give any practical how-to steps.

    • says

      Oh, Cheri, that would be great to meet you in real life! I understand your frustration with making your niche relate to every woman. That would make a great blog post, too!

  6. says

    This post is encouraging because I am such a niched speaker, that I really struggled with feeling like I needed to label myself as an ‘inspirational’ speaker and start doing Christmas banquets and what not, which is really not my thing (at all). I was getting discouraged.

    So, I started to pray about it and went a year without any engagements. I decided I was going to be true to what I felt God calling me to do and go all-niche. I developed a signature talk and now, God has blessed- I went from 4 speaking engagements in 3 years to 4 speaking engagements in 3 months, 2 are at Christian universities, and one is a three day event with media coverage… so yeah. If God is calling you to ‘go niche’ Go niche! I am just blessed right now that the hosts have marketing teams doing all that other stuff for me.

    I will be praying for you, Sheila!

  7. says

    Hi Sheila!

    This is so timely, as I just signed up to follow this blog yesterday; and here you are back posting after a year! I’ll take that as confirmation from God that He directed me here. I have always enjoyed speaking and it feels very comfortable to me. I have MC’d at a crisis pregnancy center banquet and have given my testimony during a women’s event at church. Both events had attendance of over 200 guests. I was very well received at both of these events, and I do feel God has called me to speak. I have a strong desire to share His truth and encourage women. I also enjoy writing, and my blog posts have mainly been of a devotional/inspirational style. I have been praying about attending She Speaks. I’m sure it would be life-changing. I live in Florida, so expense is a consideration.

    So to finish the sentence: The most frustrating thing about my speaking ministry is……. well, that it is in the very early stages, basically a dream and a vision at this point in time. I am waiting on God’s timing for opened doors and opportunities. As I wait, I am praying and absorbing all the guidance and advice I can (like a sponge).

  8. Marcia Laycock says

    Nice to see you back at this, Sheila. The most frustrating thing about my speaking ministry? That I get rave reviews and encouragement from all kinds of women but few seem to pass it on to others who might be looking for a speaker. I’ve started giving out a brochure at events and I think that helps but would appreciate any other tips you might have to increase exposure.
    PS - have two engagements in April - a one-day event at a local church and a retreat out in SK. Prayers appreciated as I prepare this month.
    Bless you, Marcia :)

  9. says

    What are your suggestions for a single woman called to the speaking ministry, but has to work a full time job that pays 1300 a month to keep a roof over her head? I am often discouraged when I compare myself with successful speakers and they all seem to be married and so their husband supports them which leaves them time to fully focus on the ministry. I feel stuck. If I stay in my 9-5 I lose my apartment. If I leave I can fully focus on writing books, creating talks, speaking/traveling, maintaining a great website, etc, but I wont be able to afford an apartment. Can you suggest any “christian speaker” friendly jobs? What have other woman done in the past in my situation? I am really struggling with this right now. I know that I need to start with non-paid speaking engagements but I can barely afford the travel. Any suggestions would be helpful!!

    • says

      That’s really a tough one. I guess what I’d say is that you do what you have to do to keep a roof over your head, and you ask God to open doors. I got a ton done starting my speaking ministry when I was also a SAHM, working maybe 2 hours a day. You can do a lot at night! And most speaking engagements are on the weekends or evenings anyway, so you can combine it with a full-time job. IF you focus on engagements that are closer to home you can still do those weekday nights. But it is tough. I guess the thing is to keep your focus on God, and ask Him to show you what your own unique ministry should be like. I know I have a hard time not looking at others who are super-successful in ways that I’m not as well. But God has His own work that He has prepared for you, and you just have to find a way to walk through that!

  10. says

    Right now, technology is driving me a little crazy. :-) I signed up for an Aweber account trial using your affiliate link on the left, but when I get your newsletters, they don’t seem to come from there (no Aweber at the top). In your e-course, you mention a free tool - are you still using that one? Aweber is supposed to be the best, but I find $19 a month to be a bit steep when just getting started.

    • says

      Hi Leanne,

      My newsletters are actually included as a module for my website at sheilawraygregoire.com. It’s a lot cheaper that way. I think I pay about $65 a month for the website, but that includes my shopping cart and my newsletter features, so it ends up being a deal.

      • says

        Thanks, Sheila. Your newsletters always look good! The free tool that I found on my site & shopping cart doesn’t do nearly as good of a job. I decided to stick with Aweber. None of the free tools that I could find do what I want them to do, and if I use it properly, it should pay for itself each month. Here’s hoping! :-)

  11. says

    The most frustrating thing about my speaking ministry is getting my own friends, family and church to take me seriously as a speaker. How do you market yourself and communicate to your family and friends about your calling to speak in public without them thinking you have a narcissistic personality?

  12. says


    Thank you for your blog. I came across your website by accident. I’m a new author and speaker. Nine months ago I co-authored the book titled “Face to Face With God: Healing the Cry Within” with Deb Copeland. So far, I’ve been a guest on three different television programs and this past weekend I spoke at my first Mother’s Day church event. The response to the message was wonderful! The Lord ministered to so many women. The question I have for you is, “How do I minister to more women’s groups and how do I put myself out into the public eye”? Deb will not be ministering with me as she has her own ministry that she is involved in. So this would only be for myself. Thank you for your help.

  13. Michelle du Toit says

    What a BLESSING to connect with you on your website! I’m so excited for what the Lord is going to do in my life and the lives of those whom I speak to! All Glory to King Jesus!

  14. Joyce C Rayner says

    Hi Sheila so glad that you are back.My concern is , my friends and those who have heard me speak, think that I am a powerful speaker and communicator.But it is difficult for me to grow my speaking ministry.I am not comfortable with promoting myself. Thanks.

  15. Trish Craighead says

    Hey Sheila, Love your site. God has put a fire in my soul to speak to women. I have many stories to tell and He has given me insights for many talks. The problem with my speaking is I don’t know how to take the first step.

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