Sitting in the Phantom Ranch Canteena, I discovered numerous shelves of stuff all over the small room. In one of these shelves was a few worn books, published years prior. Some Christian probably stuck a Max Lucado book among them. Others, I did not recognize (except for a dictionary which never goes out of style and is probably used for Scrabble).
It reminded me that, while our projects give us a sense of accomplishment and come after months, if not years, of hard work, eventually they will end up on a shelf like this one–forgotten, languishing, and maybe read out of boredom by a few backpackers. This may be depressing, but it is a reminder to me as a writer that why I write is something I need to keep at the front of my mind.
The relationships I make online through the publication of books or articles are far more important than a name on the front cover of a book or byline on an article in a magazine. Your books and articles will make an impression and be the vehicle that forge that relationship. Let people remember the Christ you tried to reflect rather than the title of your work or that you published over hundred best sellers. Let them recall your faith. Might I even suggest writing for publications in which the Christian world would gasp in horror?
If your work is not unbiblical, then your writing will attract those seeking Jesus to your website or social media handle. That’s where intentional engagement happens between the reader and the writer. You need to foster this relationship.
Donald Maass in one of his books often called people who sought only to have their name on the front cover of a book, “Glory Seekers.” Christians need to realize how writing is a powerful tool in the secular world. That’s why dictatorships try to control media outlets. That’s why social media is the enemy of any government. Words are what change the world. Ideas are intangible and cannot be killed by weapons.
I wonder if Christian writers groups realize they are training up future leaders to be vehicles of change in a secular world? Writers I admire include Mike Duran. If you ever friend him on Facebook, his thought-provoking statuses challenge traditional Christian writing views. They challenge us to take the mission field of writing seriously and to think outside the box. Our Christian stories shouldn’t be segregated to a Christian reading section. We should be writing towards the secular audience and our Christian writing should encourage the Christian to also serve the world in which they live.
To inspire change in the writing community, I co-lead a group called, Roots Writers and Social Media Critique Group, with author, Sherry Rossman. This group has a blank charter and logos any believer can use. If they wish to list their Roots group on our website, they need only to email Sherry to gain approval. This is also for missionaries, too. Missionaries need to realize they can harness the power of story to share what is happening in their field of ministry. They can start a Roots group, too, for their missionary letters to be critiqued.