Writing is diverse in both objective and approach. The word “writing” encompasses everything from a Louis L’amour western to Shakespeare’s plays. In short: write about topics for which you have knowledge that will benefit other people.
Your interests become a fountain from which content flows. In school, I learned how difficult it was to write about things for which I had no interest. Write about things you enjoy or that interest you. I’ve followed a FaceBook group, primarily church planters, as they have communicated with each other their enjoyment/expertise with smoking meat and barbecue. Somewhere in the information shared is the making of a book that would reach beyond the “church world.” That book would need to be written by someone who is interested in barbecue.
On occasion I’ve asked book sellers what sort of interests garner the most attention. Topics that come up repeatedly as needing attention:
Leadership/Church Growth – People are drawn to the idea of being able to be effective leaders and to grow people and a church. Leading people in a changing world is a perpetual challenge, yet the principles of leadership are as old as time. I value the work of Kouzes and Posner’s The Leadership Challenge, Jim Collins’ Good to Great and John Maxwell’s Discovering the Leader Within You. Many will never read those books though they communicate numerous Bible-based principles. You, writing similar concepts to what is in those books, that will be will be helpful. I’ve tried to address some of the issues with my books Healthy Church – Start Here and Questions Pentecostal Preachers Ask. (Questions . . .is currently available for only $10. It normally sells for $16.) Anything that grows people is needed.
Theology – A well rounded perspective of Biblical truth regarding the Lord Jesus Christ, salvation and Christian living demands more books. Books by Dr. David K. Bernard, Dr. David Norris and others have defined truth in a positive way. Positive theology is important. Example: the plan of salvation is not ugly – my little book Masterful Preaching – Restoring the Place of Good News Preaching on preaching to the lost includes: “This Beautiful Plan of Salvation.” Repentance, baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the infilling of the Holy Spirit are not negative.
Repentance is a turn around. A person is on the road to hell, and they turn around and begin a journey toward heaven. How is that negative?
A person baptized in Jesus name a person has the stain of past sin washed out of their life. How is that negative?
The infilling of the Holy Ghost, is the spirit of Christ within. Again, how could that be an ugly thing?
(Masterful Preaching is also currently on sale for $10.)
As you write theologically, write in clear explanatory terms. Anticipate questions and answer those questions. We need more well researched theological material that ask and answers real-world questions.
Bible Study – There is need for additional systematic content covering a book of the Bible. Where too little Biblical research material is available the preacher/teacher seems to get away from the authority of the Biblical text. Each book of the Bible needs several people to research that book, and provide hermeneutics, exegesis, and exposition of the text. Some of you have taught wonderful series on the book of Jude, Daniel, Genesis, etc. Do a bit more work and provide what you have to others.
Christian Life and Living – Life is hard and complicated. My free e-book “Where is God in My Dark Place” dealing with surviving depression gained huge response. People dealing with real world issues need information. Depression, money management, mental health issues, balance in Christian life, time management, staying positive when one is melancholy by temperament, family relationships, unhealthy parents, retirement, pastoral transitions and positive perspectives on human sexuality are all topics for which little content has been provided.
As an example: there has been a resurgence of interest in my first book, Daily Things of Christian Living. (Also currently on sale for $10.) Pastors and pastor’s wives from Louisiana to Minnesota have used “Daily Things” to teach a series. The interest in the practical concepts found in Daily Things of Christian Living have me drafting a second updated edition of the book for this “social media” world. Write well about any aspect of Christian living and you will have an audience.
Biography – These are intriguing stories that need to be told. Stories of conversion, mission work and family heritage. A good story involves tension, opposition, struggle and disappointment. Too often, Christian writing comes off a bit like a perfect “Pollyanna” story. We tell the successes and victories. People gain much from hearing of struggle and failure. Someone needs to write the story of David Gray, Jack Yonts, Harry Branding, Bishop Johnson, John and Nilah Mean, J.T. Pugh, Johnny James, T. F. and Thetus Tenney, W.C. Parkey, C. G. Weeks, Elton Bernard, Harry Scism, Bruce Howell and a myriad of others.
A warning here: some of the most impacting stories will best be written using a pen-name and changing the name of every person in the story. Human history is ugly! If you don’t believe me, go back and carefully read the stories of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. Notice the moral failings, dishonesty, manipulation, conniving and murder that Genesis drags into the open for all to see.
Training content – Norma, Lane, Shelley and I (wife, son and daughter-in-law respectively) are completing a membership training program based on my recent book Revival in a Plain Brown Wrapper. In some ways it will be an experiment at something we have not done before. Using written material which will be available on-line, a mix of audio and video we want to prepare Christian leaders for revival. You may have a similar interest. Content is needed for training ushers, hostesses and a hospitality team; creative church decor, building a church or home on a budget, teaching people to cook healthy meals, equipping youth workers; training Sunday School staff, or better equipping pastors to deal with the digital age. The world is so open to practical helpful instruction. Your material can help someone else.
What I’m constantly hearing from the arriving generation: don’t inspire me, equip me!
As you consider what to write, don’t overlook the need for books for children of all ages, youth, young married couples, pre-marital counseling and a myriad of other topics. As you write, have fun. You are already writing – at least it is likely that you are: sermons, Bible studies, your prayer journal, blog posts, etc. become the basis for the material you author. My next post will deal with getting multiple uses out of the work you are already doing.