In my years as a published author, I have encountered countless people who talk about writing a book, yet few follow through. If you’re one of those dreamers who have a book in you, it’s time to buckle down, bite the bullet, and get the job done. Why? Because …
- It’ll get you out of bed in the morning. There’s nothing like the “tonic of a fresh task,” especially as you approach and experience the second half of your ministry. Once I start a writing project, momentum develops and the juices flow. This literally pulls me out of bed because I think and write better earlier in the day. I’ll warn you, however, it’ll also keep you up at night!
- You’ll become more studious. Were it not for authoring books, I would depend too heavily on previously prepared sermons. Being the “exacting” discipline that it is, writing demands that I be diligent and disciplined. Knowing that what I produce is going to print, I’ll dig a little deeper in search of just the right explanation, illustration, and application.
- It’ll provide a quiver full of sermons. Though I suspect most preacher authors take sermon transcripts and edit them into books, I do just the opposite. That is, I write the book first. One reward of all that hard work is having a binder loaded with 15 messages itching to be preached over the next several months.
- It’ll make you a better preacher. Like most preachers, I can chase rabbits with the best of them. But because I write more tightly than I speak, subsequent messages come forth much leaner. Remember this principle: “There’s no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting.” Put that into practice and you’ll become a better writer … and speaker.
- It’ll help expand your ministry. In addition to those listening by radio or to recordings, around 300 sitting in the sanctuary hear my messages each week. Writing increases that number exponentially. I’ve given away countless books on overseas mission trips where pastors with limited resources received them eagerly and appreciatively. I whittled my recent book on prayer – Unsearchable Things – into nearly 100 blogs, posting them on www.toddgaddis.com. By the way, my first nine books are located there as well for free (just add paper).
- It’s easier and more affordable than ever. We’ve come a long way since stone tablets, parchment paper, and Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press. Computers allow for simple correction and production. On-demand printing means minimal investment on the part of the author. If you can scrape up a few hundred dollars, you’re in business. Just don’t cut corners when it comes to editing, paper quality, and cover design.
- Others can join in on the blessing. When it comes to covering the costs just mentioned, don’t hesitate to get others involved in the process. When I launched into book writing over a decade ago, I remember a mentoring preacher/author encouraging me, “You’ve got people in your church who would love to help you publish your work, so don’t hesitate to seek them out and ask.” He was absolutely right. I’ve had scores of supporters contribute thousands of dollars toward the publication of my 11 books. I seek their help at the beginning of the process and present them with signed copies of the first books off the press.
- You’ll leave a legacy. What would our awareness and appreciation of the likes of St.Augustine, A.W. Tozer, E.M. Bounds, Oswald Chambers, and C.S. Lewis be if their books didn’t occupy our shelves? Although you might never become famous or write a best seller, your words can remain behind as a blessing to those who remain in this fallen world, long after you’ve gone to be with Jesus.
In response to Habakkuk’s lament, the LORD replied, “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it” (2:2). Like the prophet of old, God has a message for you. Write it down and get it out there so that others may get in on the blessing.
This post originally appeared on Gaddis’ blog.