5 TED Talks People in Ministry Should Watch

5 TED Talks People in Ministry Should Watch

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The first TED talk I ever saw was one by Bobby McFerrin where he explored the connections between pentatonic scales and the human mind. I was taken aback, not only by Bobby and the links he was making between neuroscience and music, but by the quality and creativity being explored by…who were these people again?

It turns out that the talk was one of a host of amazing presentations by the group TED, who originally formed to spread new ideas in the areas of Technology, Education, and Design. Now their catalogue extends much further. TED talks feature innovators and dreamers from diverse fields of study who are having major impact on cultures all over the world, and I decided, as a pastor, tuning into these conversations could be really fruitful for my own ministry. I think it could be for yours as well. Here are links to five TED talks I’d recommend to get you started:

1. Nancy Duarte: The Secret Structure of Great Talks

Nancy looks at the rhetorical structure and the incorporation of story in MLK’s “I Have A Dream” Speech and Steve Jobs’ iPhone launch to illustrate how story can be used to motivate people to action. For people committed to the larger story of redemption and how it can motivate and transform people, this talk matters

2. Dan Pallotta: The Way We Think About Charity Is Dead Wrong

Dan challenges the notion of how non-profits function in our world today. I wonder how this speaks to churches and ministry minded non-profits. Here’s a great quote from the talk: “People are weary of being asked to do the least they can possibly do; people are yearning to measure the full amount of their potential on behalf of the causes that they care about deeply. But they have to be asked.”

3. Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius

Gilbert talks about the pressures of creative endeavors and how a look into ancient Greek and Roman culture can help creatives sustain a healthy creative habit in their life. For preachers especially, this talk could offer some healthy ways of thinking through the burden of being creative and generative in and for the church

4. Malcolm Gladwell: The Unheard Story of David and Goliath

Gladwell brings a fresh take on a biblical classic, exploring some interesting ideas about how the famous underdog story should be understood as anything but that. An amazing case study in application, as well as how people outside of theology are using our story in the world.

5. Adam Savage: My Obsession With Objects And The Stories They Tell

Adam Savage, from Mythbuster fame, talks about his obsession with the dodo bird and the journey by which he took. I love the idea of a “Creative Projects” folder that he uses. People in ministry need these kinds of “obsessions” and the goodness that they cultivate in us.


7 Responses

  1. I love Adam Savage’s talk. He really opened up so much and shared some amazing curation. Have you ever watched his “tested” videos on youtube? He goes into these sort of things even more.

      1. I think it actually might happen because he has the time to be creative. More and more I keep trying to find the time to work on more creative projects and find myself just not having the brain energy, but when I am consistently forcing myself on those projects I have plenty of creative capacity.

        Maybe folks like him have just figured out the exact middle of peace/chaos

  2. I investigated Elizabeth Gilbert’s claims that creative people are more vulnerable to suicide in my master’s thesis and found no scientific evidence to support the claim. In fact, creative people are less likely to commit suicide because they find creative solutions to life’s problems. Highly intelligent people of average creativity, on the other hand, are socially ostracized and have little outlet, so they are at a higher risk. I felt that undermined much of her argument.

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