This observation by Tim Challies has challenged and guided me during 2018. In the past I’ve dreamed of writing, dabbled in writing, planned on writing . . . This year I’ve made a diligent effort to write consistently and productively.
Being a teacher has given me blocks of time during the past two summers to write. 5:00-7:00 am and evenings during the school year have become regular writing times as well. By utilizing these opportunities I completed a manuscript which I submitted to a publisher last October. The working title is The Growing Body: Church As It Was Meant To Be. It engages church leaders and members with the key New Testament text on church growth. Since then, my writing endeavors have focused on The Pathway to Pastoral Ministry, a step-by-step guide for young men considering the ministry.
Last month I visited a Christian writers’ group in my community. The meeting began with a time of prayer focused on the group members’ writing projects. That experience challenged me to pray about my own writing. I began to pray that God would provide a publisher for The Pathway to Pastoral Ministry. A little presumptuously, I prayed that a publisher would contact me.
Within a few weeks my path crossed with a ministry leader whose organization publishes books. He had read my articles and he expressed interest in publishing them! I submitted the completed portion for their editorial team to consider. If they decide to publish it, I plan to submit the final manuscript by the end of February. I continue to pray that God will use this material to encourage young men toward pastoral ministry.
The blog has been somewhat revived this year. Thanks to the 106 of you who subscribe and follow! Deanhtaylor.com had over 7,900 visitors and more than 10,000 views in 118 countries in 2018. Tim Challies’ tweet encouraging individual bloggers has spurred me to stay at it and blog more frequently in the upcoming year.
Evidently a lot of people search on the topic of butterflies in the Bible. Butterflies Aren’t in the Bible has been viewed over 7,600 times this year! Search terms that lead people here include “butterflies in the Bible” and “what does the Bible say about butterflies.” A group of churches in Great Britain requested permission to publish it in their newsletter, which I gladly granted. I am thankful for the influence of this post.
“It was a dark and stormy night.”
Ideas have been forming in my head and in my journal for a work of fiction. I plan to start writing it in earnest this summer. It will probably take 2-3 years to complete. Here’s my first go at it.
Pastor Steve fastened his seat belt, backed out of the parking space and eased forward, navigating the tight corners of the convenience store parking lot. On the passenger seat was a brown bag. He wondered if any church members had witnessed his early morning purchase.
A slight tinge of conscience distracted him, but the anticipation of indulging in the bag’s contents outweighed any regret he felt. Steve pulled into the empty church parking lot and walked to the front door of the vacant building – the church where he had served for three years. As usual, the lock stuck. He jiggled the key impatiently until it finally turned.
“Friday. Sunday’s comin’.” The constant rhythm of every pastor’s life. Prepare, preach. “It’s time to get ready for Sunday.”
Steve loved to preach. He enjoyed the whole process, from studying a passage of Scripture, to organizing the material into a sermon, to delivering it with passion on Sunday morning. His Friday morning routine was one of his favorite times. Finish writing the sermon. Put the outline into a handout and PowerPoint slides. And pray.
Aware of some unhealthy effects of his brown bag habit, he also believed it helped him. “Everyone has their vices. It stimulates my creativity.” He wouldn’t say so, even to himself, but his habit also temporarily soothed a restless feeling within. If he thought about it, gave it a label, he might have called it inadequacy. At times, fear.
Steve stood the bag on his desk while he removed his jacket and hung it on the hook on the back of his office door. The aroma of black coffee streaming from his one-cup coffeemaker into his favorite white ceramic cup, the one with Beacon Bible Camp on the side, stirred his still sleepy brain. The promise of soon-to-be-delivered caffeine prompted a slight smile.
Everything in place, he sat in his desk chair, uncurled the top of the brown bag and reached in.
Well, we’ll see where that goes! It’s a little rough still. That’s something else I’m learning: Writers write, then revise, revise, revise.
Two other steps I’m taking to further develop my writing in the next year are reading articles and books about writing and joining the Christian writers’ group I mentioned above. With God’s help I intend to write, write more, and write better. I hope for more readers and greater impact. I’ll report back to you at this time next year!