by Guest Blogger David Wentz
You should write a book.
If you’re a Christian, you should write a book. In today’s world many people know so little about Christ that they truly wonder why a reasonable and intelligent person would be or become a Christian. They wonder what difference it makes in your life. They wonder a lot of things about being a Christian that have nothing to do with theology and apologetics and all the stuff you may feel unqualified to discuss. You are qualified to discuss what being a Christian means to you. People want to read that.
If you’re a pastor, you’re already writing. Every sermon is a potential chapter. Every series is a potential book.
Modern publishing is amazingly easy. The entire process can be done from your home computer at no cost. And people need to hear what Christians have to say. The question is not, “Should I write a book?” Your only question should be, “Which book do I write first?”
For me the answer came when I was leading workshops for pastors in Turkey. Many are converts from Islam who never experienced an established church. They knew how to evangelize, but then they were stuck. They needed practical pointers on the life and job of a pastor. That was the start of Pastoring: The Nuts and Bolts.
They’re not alone. A Facebook group called Things They Didn’t Teach Us in Seminary has over 16,000 members. Knowing the Bible, theology ,and church history is vital, but pastors also need to know how to run a church.
Thirty-eight years pastoring experience plus a varied denominational and academic background added up to more than just teaching notes. I realized I had a book.
Experts say it’s important to expand your author platform. I started Facebook friending every name that popped up and offered to email my manuscript to anyone who would give feedback. I was blown away when a leader in Kenya asked to use it to teach his pastors. He turned it into a sixty-hour course of study. On August 25, sixty-three men and women received certificates of completion.
In Uganda, Pastoring was taught in a jail ministry. A superintendent in Kenya and a professor in Nigeria have used it. It’s been taught in India and Pakistan. All this just from the emailed PDF! Since it came out online in August, a publisher in India has asked for rights and I’ve had offers to translate into several languages. You never know what God might do with what you write.
You might think, “But I don’t have any great special knowledge. Why should I write a book?”
I thought I just knew what every pastor knows, but apparently not. One reviewer said, “I’ve been a pastor for fifteen years and I’m learning a great deal.” You have unique experiences, perspective and voice. Somebody out there needs that.
Here are some examples of my voice as I wrote to train and encourage pastors:
- A pastor’s job is to equip God’s people to do God’s work until they resemble God’s Son (Ephesians 4:12-13). Focus on that and God will take care of the rest.
- If you please your members, you will be popular and your church will be small. If you please outsiders you’re getting warmer. But if you please God, watch out – you might catch fire!
- God doesn’t condone human sacrifice. Don’t lay your family on the altar of your church.
- Your people don’t care about theology, so you have to. Nobody ever set out to invent a heresy. Your knowledge of theology and church history is your people’s spiritual safety harness.
- Never overestimate people’s vocabulary, never underestimate their intelligence. Some really smart people don’t know what “infralapsarianism” means. If you can’t put it in simple words, you don’t either.
- Learn from everybody. Worship as many ways and with as many kinds of people as you can.
- Sometimes God wants Lazarus dead. Jesus didn’t automatically answer Martha’s summons, he asked God what to do. Don’t let expectations drive your ministry.
- If someone can possibly find a way to misunderstand you they will. Vet your words for ways that might happen, before you put them out there.
- Your church sign is important, your name on it isn’t. Unless your name is Billy Graham, nobody cares who the pastor is. They just want to know what time to be there, in letters they can read at the speed limit.
- Have each other’s backs. Pastoring is a tough job. We may disagree on some major issues, but we are all in this together. We need each other.
These are things I’ve learned that might help other pastors. Of course there’s more to my book – 330 pages worth.
You’ve learned different things that might help different people. I bet if you started writing them down they’d come to many pages. Somebody needs to know them.
You should write a book!
Pastoring: The Nuts and Bolts available here!
About guest blogger David Wentz:
Serving as a pastor since 1981 has honed David’s passion for helping people connect with God and make a difference.
Add a varied church background, a first career in engineering, and graduate degrees from three very different seminaries (charismatic, mainstream and Wesleyan-evangelical) and you can see why he expresses God’s truth in ways everyone can appreciate.
Raised in the Episcopal church, David has also been part of Nazarene, Pentecostal Holiness, and non-denominational congregations. As a United Methodist pastor he has served small, large, and multi-cultural churches in rural, small town, suburban and urban settings. David served as a regional church consultant in the Maryland – D.C. area and has led workshops for pastors in Turkey. In 2015 he retired to the rural Ozarks, where he writes, works in God’s great outdoors, and continues to pastor part-time.
David earned a B.S. in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia; two Masters of Divinity, one from Melodyland School of Theology and one from Wesley Theological Seminary; and a Doctor of Ministry in Christian Leadership from Asbury Theological Seminary.
In his spare time David enjoys playing sax and flute in jazz and blues jams (though those are hard to come by in bluegrass country), and writing worship music with his guitar.
His heroes are John Wesley, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. (And for you old baseball fans, Brooks Robinson.)
Questions? Email karen@ChristianEditingServices.com