“There’s something sacred about the fact that God has given us a voice–a unique voice. To find that voice and to find confidence is life-changing,” said Dave Arden, speaker, author of the book Chosen to Speak, and leader of the international organization by the same name. “We want to help people, and come alongside them to help them find confidence in their leadership voices. We love doing it.”
“It’s been an exciting year for us,” said Dave, as he described Chosen to Speak’s expansion in Russia, Kenya, and places across America, including churches, schools, corporations and private businesses. The book, written in English, has been translated into Russian, and is expected to be published this coming year in Spanish and Maa (the language of the Massai tribe in Kenya, Africa). “You never know what God is going to do next!”
“Russia has helped expand our vision and reach,” Dave explained. He met some church leaders in Moscow, online during the Covid lockdowns. When travel restrictions began to lift, they invited him to come for a visit, and he went in September. “Moscow is so dynamic. There are 12 million people. It’s a booming city, an historic city. I don’t think you can overstate the distinctive culture and city. We got to meet church planters, and got to speak and share the gospel in homes with disabled youth, and those who are going through rehab with alcohol and substance abuse. We really want to go back and continue what we started there.”
Nathan Oloumu, in Kenya, was another online connection during Covid. “He is a stellar leader. He’s a young guy, a passionate guy, who has a strong presence about him. He wants to take this and go. He’s been on the road, starting two groups, and he’s also got an orphanage. He’s taking people through the training, and is reproducing the training, reproducing the message, and reproducing the Christ-confidence in his area. He’s got a love for God and for his people,” Dave said. “I’m hoping to get to Africa next year and see what God’s doing out there first-hand.”
“Domestically, we are looking for churches to serve,” Dave said. As a former pastor and church planter, Dave admits, “I didn’t get coaching for years. My biggest regret is that I waited so long. When you’re having trouble finding your voice, who do you ask for help? A lot of pastors can’t find help in the church.” And when pastors travel, they need someone to step up and speak. “One third of our ministry are church leadership types. Maybe they’ve been asked to share the gospel, but they aren’t well-equipped to do it. Churches are good at telling people to do the work, but not as good at showing them how. We’re providing a safe place to grow together, to learn together, expand our capacity, confront our fears, look at our opportunities, get our reps, and become better speakers. The church is a good platform for developing leadership and discipleship. We’re here to serve.”
“I feel like the church today is not giving women a voice,” said Dave. “This story and this ministry would not be here without my mother and her strong voice. Biblically, there are some examples of women who have a strong voice: Miriam, a national iconic figure, celebrating God’s joy and victory after the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, and Zipporah, the wife of Moses, who went to bat for him against avenging angels. Many of the church’s members are women. When there’s not a female presence on stage to talk to them, that lessens their value. Women have a voice and a place on stage. We want women on our team, and women on our board. We want to champion women.”
Developing a diverse coach-client relationship is a main reason why Chosen to Speak has been so successful. “I asked coaches what they enjoyed about their experience. They said building closer relationships, helping serve and support clients to be stronger in who they are, and helping them find their identity,” Dave said. Chosen to Speak also helps serve and support coaches by hosting rallies three times each year. “We’re not just here to teach and train, but we’re learning, ourselves. We’re learning from others in their context. But, clients are really what drive our ministry, what drives me to move forward. For me, coaching changed my life. It helped me find myself, embrace myself, and have something to say that can influence others. By helping leaders find their voice, they become more fruitful, more content, more excited about sharing with others. If we can help somebody find their voice, that’s a huge win.”
“One of the things that surprised me about the writing of this [book] is that Moses‘ community really helped him find his confidence. He had to keep going back to Pharaoh, he had to keep engaging his community, getting the reps in practice. He had to work out the rough edges, and batter through the walls there were in front of him. There may be walls in front of you, challenges in front of you. Your challenge is an opportunity for growth. You need to learn to speak, you need to learn to grow. It’s tough. Here’s your chance to step forward,” Dave said.
“I’d like people to see clearly who they are, and how much God loves them, their purpose, and why they are here on this earth, what they’re about and what they have to say. We want for everyone that comes through our program to find a place where their voice can impact others in the greatest possible fashion.