The Fastest Four Minutes Ever

time flies by ** RCB **, on Flickr

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   Time Flies by  ** RCB ** 
“Three minutes and thirty seconds remaining.”

***15 seconds later***

“Prep time has expired.”

What just happened?!? Those four minutes of prep time seemed more like four seconds!

I’ll bet every Apologetics competitor can empathize with this situation. Prep time is truly the fastest four minutes ever. So how can you best utilize these precious few moments?

First, find your card. After you choose one of the three topics that you drew (more on that in a later post), you need to find your card for that topic. More accurately, you need to find the appropriate Concept Card—assuming that you’re using the Conceptual Organizational System.

I’ll probably discuss Apologetics box organizational systems in another post sometime, but suffice it to say that your cards should be organized such that you can find any card within 30 seconds, tops. Even 30 seconds is long—you have just used 1/8 of your total prep time! So, no matter your organization, make sure that you can locate the card for any topic in a timely manner.

Second, reacquaint yourself with the card. It may have been several weeks or months since you last presented (or even read through) this card. Take a minute or so to quickly scan the card and remind yourself of what it says. After all, finding out what you’re about to say is a rather high priority.

You don’t need to read every word on the card. If there’s a paragraph-long quote and a dozen Bible verses, it is not necessary to extensively analyze them. You wrote the card; now you’re just remembering what it contains. Once you have skimmed through the card, move on to the next step.

Third, fit together the Concept Card with the Topic Card. Again, I’m assuming that you are using the Conceptual Organizational System. If so, you need to place the content on the Topic Card into appropriate places on the Concept Card. Remembering where you will place everything is perfectly fine, but with more complicated and lengthy cards remembering becomes difficult. An alternative is to write a few notes in the appropriate locations on the Concept Card. That is probably the easiest way to remember where everything goes, and you can just reprint that card after the tournament.

Fourth, pray. Even if you only have 10 seconds left when you have finished the first three steps, take a little bit of time to pray. Briefly bow your head and petition the One for whom we give Apologetics speeches. I always offered up a very simple prayer: help me to speak well, to say something that will bless the judges, and glorify you through this speech.

That’s it! I hope that this helps you to better utilize those short, pressured minutes before showtime. They may still feel like the fastest four minutes ever, but at least you will have used them well.