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Write – Get Multiple Uses From Your Work

Those who seem to be prolific in their writing work hard, but they also work smart. Chuck bernardSwindoll has authored over 70 books. John Maxwell has written over 30 books. Dr. David Bernard has also written over 30 books.

These fellows are all busy, yet for each there is “time to write.” Actually, some of the books each man has authored is drawn from material originally developed for some other purpose. The book is thus a second use of material developed for some other purpose. Such people work hard AND SMART!


  • Swindoll’s Insight for Living radio program as well as his pastoral efforts all required fresh material. The material made its way into best selling books.

  • Dr. Bernard’s work as an assistant editor, toward higher education and in providing pastoral care has required much research. Some of the research first used in papers written for seminary later became a book.

  • John Maxwell’s material was first tried and proven in training the leadership team at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego. Eventually, it became part of excellent books like, Developing the Leader Within.

Think of the authors who have many titles in print:  Andy Stanley, Michael Hyatt, Joyce Meyer – even my 20 books reflect getting multiple use from one research effort.

Let your mind roam broadly here. Some write for publication; others will never publish a book but could be writing blog-posts in support of a local church mission. Imagine the benefit:  material for blog-posts, twitter, Face Book or a publication can come from work you are already doing.

 Over half of my published material reflects this sort of multiplied use of resources.

My favorite class was a “Young Marrieds Class.” It was my experiment in adult Christian education. The group sat in a circle. Each class was interactive with much conversation. For years the lessons were filed away until someone mentioned needing the material. The lessons I’d developed were edited and became two books of 6-7 ready to teach lessons:  Beating the Marriage Busters and Biblical Parenting. They meet the need of a particular niche, without taking a great deal of time. You can do the same!

Use material you have already developed to blog, post on Face Book or for micro-blogging

I’m teaching a series on prayer. Rather than my verbal communication, (which can be heard at being the end of the material, the same material is edited for use  on the pastor’s blog at the church website. Each blog post is publicized to those connected with the church Facebook page and Twitter account. Quotes from the teaching are placed on Twitter.

The benefit does not stop there. The same material on prayer will eventually be a free e-book available at the church’s website. It could eventually be a book. The lessons may become a series of lessons for someone else to teach. If these all happen, I’ll have got five uses out of the same material. My count does not include the Soundcloud listening audience who hear me teach and preach before they ever visit Calvary, nor does it include any possible use of this with video, or developing a set of cd or usb audios.  I could actually get as much as 9 uses from the same content.

In a recent comment, Glenn Donnellan, a fine church planters in Nova Scotia, shared how he has began posting comments on Face Book each week. Missionary Donnellan is using ideas and concepts drawn from his preaching and teaching. He is engaging his community. You can do the same with the material you are already developing.

Turning the spoken word into something written takes work. It has been said, “Writing makes one clear.” The spoken word allows flexibility, sarcasm and dry humor. Body language, tone of voice and facial expressions is all part of the communication process in preaching and teaching. Writers do not have access to several of those tools. Writing needs specificity. The work is to remove uncertainty and get a rifle shot toward your target.

The exception that allows you to retain uncertainty is  if you are writing books similar to a Miss Marple mystery. Mystery stories do need a mystery, otherwise remove the mystery.

Material to potentially reuse

  • What book of the Bible have you already taught or preached an expository series on? How many pages of notes do you have that could be edited, adapted and adjusted into something that can benefit others?

  • Have you preached a series of sermons leading into Christmas?  I so enjoyed and the church gained from a series I preached on the Characters of Christmas. Before Easter I’ve spent time with the Characters of the Passion Week. Both series are good (even if I am the one saying so) and are unpublished. I’ll get around to them some day.

  • Do you excel at wedding services and wedding messages? Put these in a book for the rest of us! I struggle with making weddings a meaningful time for communication. Attendees seem focused on “the kiss and the cake,” and not interested in what the officiating minister has to say. Your material can likely help me be better with this.

  • Baby dedications, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and funerals get much effort from me. One collection of my funeral sermons, Honey from a Strange Hive was printed by the Pentecostal Publishing House. “Honey . . . ” includes a CD with the funeral sermons in MS Word. This allows the minister to easily make the funeral sermon his own. (With a cd, there is potentially a tenth use of the material.)

What have you already worked on? Evangelist Stan Thrift developed small group lessons in an earlier pastorate. The lessons are “ready to use” resources for a pastor using small groups. A friend, Pastor Galen Thompson is qualified to develop corporate and educational training materials. As a pastor, he uses this ability to great advantage. Pastor Thompson’s approach makes the content memorable and tries to bring the audience to a point of application. His content, and material from others like him will help many. People I do not yet know who are part of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, the United Pentecostal Church, Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ, Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, independent Apostolics and other organizations have already developed resources that can help others.

Consider sharing with me and this email list content you have developed that may be beneficial and publishable! Consider it a first step in marketing your idea. 

Then think more carefully about how you can get multiple uses from the work you will do this week.

I’ve a file labeled “You Are Terrific.” It contains hundreds of notes, letters, reviews, etc. from people who had something positive to say about some effort I’d made. My “Terrific” file has many notes from people about books I’ve written. I recommend that you start your own file. It is good reading material for those occasional difficult seasons of life. As always – any author enjoys people benefiting from their work. I’ve a number of books already in print  – an coonsslide2omnibus of almost all my writing (18 books out of a total of 22 written, the others are either out of print or not under my control) is now available for a limited time at almost 50% off cover prices. This would be a great Christmas gift for your son, or daughter, or a son-in-law who is a developing minister. Not a bad option as a gift for yourself actually.

Visit for this offer and for other options. If you have not signed up to receive my blog posts please do so using the popup.

Last – if you will retweet, or share the Facebook or Twitter post that alerted you to my blog it may help others.


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