Pastor if you aren’t writing beyond the scope of your church publications, you should be. Here are seven reasons why you should be writing.
- Words, especially written words, have been used powerfully by God.
Martin Luther wrote the Ninety-Five Theses (2,717 words) and it ignited a reformation.
Pastor Charles Monroe Sheldon conveyed the story of a young pastor and members of his congregation in weekly installments for his Sunday night sermons. They were eventually printed in book form entitled In His Steps. The world-wide sales have reached close to 30 million copies. Consider the lives he has touched.
- To extend your influence and ministry.
When I preach, I speak to a few hundred people. When I write I reach thousands. For example, I’ve been published in the Billy Graham Decision magazine, which reaches 1.8 million readers. I’ve written curriculum for LifeWay. Counting all channels around one million copies of the lessons are printed and distributed.
Writing, especially with social media and the Internet, has the potential to touch an astronomical number of people that mere preaching in a local church context cannot.
- To be remembered.
Paul and Apollos provide an interesting contrast between the written word and the spoken word. Apollos demonstrated persuasive speech. Paul, on the contrary, was not bold in speech, but his writing possessed the voice of a lion. He wrote thirteen books of the twenty-seven collected for the New Testament. What sets apart Paul from Apollos? Apollos was a skilled orator, much more skilled than Paul, but Paul’s influence touches us today because he wrote words on parchment.
Consider Charles Spurgeon. Stenographers would take down the sermon as it was delivered and Spurgeon would make revisions to the transcripts the following day for immediate publication. His weekly sermons, which sold for a penny each, were widely circulated and still remain one of the all-time best selling series of writings published in history.
- Because you have a voice.
Pastors need to be heard. As pastors, we experience more of life in a month than most people experience in a lifetime. We see life from birth to death, the highs and lows, the good and bad, and all the mess in between. We see people in their weakest moments and rejoice with them in celebration. We have more of a right to speak to human life than most any other profession.
Writing allows another outlet to use your voice. The fact is people are talking. With social media there is more talk than ever before. Pastors need to be a part of that conversation. And, we need to influence the conversation. One way is through the written word.
- To get more life out of your work.
Preaching is similar to Thanksgiving meals. We plan, prepare, and present a meal that our congregation will feast on for their spiritual growth. The sermon is delivered in about the same time it takes to consume the Thanksgiving meal.
What if you got new life out of your sermon material? What if your sermons were more than one and done? What if your sermons could be reused to feed another audience? That’s what writing for publication does.
- To earn extra income.
I hesitate to mention the monetary benefit of writing, because there are no guarantees. But there is the possibility to make money from writing. Granted very few writers—secular or Christian—can sustain a living merely on writing profits. But, done right, there is the possibility you can make extra money for you and your family.
- To follow God’s example.
Let us not forget that God wrote a book. God’s revelation came to us through the written word. That may be the most compelling reason of all for pastors to write.
For additional information to help you extend your ministry through writing I have written a resource called Writing for Prophets to help you in this venture. You can access that resource at http://www.ministrydesigntraining.com/get-the-writing-for-prophets-video-series-by-rick-ezell/.
Rick Ezell is a pastor and author living in Greer, SC.