“When you write for God, and you really mean it, your work may never show up on the shelves at Lifeway. It may never find its way into bound print at all. But when you write for God, when you write with the heart of a servant…you may find that your words are only meant for the guy sitting next to you. If you can accept this…live with it…grasp it…then you can truly write for God.” –Alton Gansky, novelist
Christian writers write to advance the Kingdom—the Great Commission. Some are blessed with commercial success. Others are blessed by reaching the one person God wants them to reach, with little hope of financial gain. Both avenues can fulfill God’s purpose for a writer’s life.
And while there’s nothing wrong with commercial success, it can’t be the goal of a Christian writer’s career.
When I find myself in a discussion about writing, my own personal goals, or how to go about setting goals, I always respond with the following advice:
· Write for enjoyment. Writing is an art, one that is cathartic and creative.
· Write for others’ enjoyment and edification. If you’re a Christian writer, this extends to include your spiritual gift or path God is leading you on. This is the step at which you’re trying to get published.
· Financial gain.
If these three steps get out of order, fulfillment and joy will often lack in your work, and readers will know it.
A Christian writer’s work reflects God’s calling. Often, this includes activities outside the realm of actual writing—and in a support mode.
The writers’ bootcamp hosted by Christian Devotions, which I attended last weekend, reinforced these ideals for me. I got rejuvenated by the other writers and faculty who were passionate about God’s work and their own personal calling.
I’ve shared before that I believe my spiritual gift is encouragement (Romans 12:8). This permeates every aspect of my life—especially my writing. I’m beginning to see it play out in other ways, namely as it relates to the ministry of Christian Devotions.
This ministry was co-founded by two people who listened to God’s call a few years ago. What started with a devotion website has grown to include teen and children’s devotion websites, book publishing, a radio program, and teaching at conferences.
A year ago, I became aware of Christian Devotions and submitted to them. Since then, I’ve had three devotions published with two more upcoming. Last fall, after I received an email from their editor, God spoke to my heart about this ministry. I always pray before I jump, so I waited a couple of days before emailing back to ask if there was something I could do to help. There was.
During the last six months, I’ve assisted with posting devotions to the ministry website.
As I sat in the staff meeting very late on Saturday night, after the conference sessions had ended, I was moved by the way in which God had brought everyone together—an all volunteer staff of more than a dozen folks from around the country, working toward a common goal to publish daily devotions 365 days a year, produce a weekly radio show, and publish books to reach people throughout the world. Each volunteer represented God’s call which led them to Christian Devotions, and ultimately, in service for Him through this ministry.
I don’t know what the future holds in my writing journey, but I can tell you this: I’m excited!
Accidents aren’t part of the Great Commission. Divine calls are. He guides and equips us. It’s up to us to be sensitive to the call when it comes.
I’d like to hear about your writing journey. Please leave a comment and tell me how God has touched your life to further His Kingdom work.