Friday, May 22, 2009

Building a Ministry

I’m sure you’ve been there before, listening to a sermon convinced it was directly solely at you. Or have someone tell you something that just happened to coincide with what you’ve been reading in your Quiet Times. Well this is the second time in just a few months that the Holy Spirit has penetrated my heart with the call to ministry. A few months ago, I was reading If You Want to Walk On Water You've Got to Get Out of the Boat while a friend was independently encouraging me to not let my fears stand in the way of doing what God was calling me to. Now, I’m listening to a radio ministry telling me the same thing right after I attended the Antelope Valley Christian Writers Conference. The first time around, I didn’t know to what ministry I was being led. Missions, community outreach, and teaching were all on my heart. I reluctantly attended the writers conference this year after offering a great deal of verbal, prayerful, and even financial support to the brother who put it on. He has long been encouraging me to write but I have to admit my fear in doing so. This blog is somewhat cathartic in that sense; it is an outlet for this desire while honing the discipline I will need to write for real.

Ok, so I’m being called to write. But that doesn’t narrow down the ministry. I learned at the conference that there are 1200 (or was it 12,000? Either way!) different markets for Christian writing and avenues I never even considered. I have dozens of ideas in my head but I don’t know which can translate into a 300 page book or which would make a better 1000 word article. And even then, there are hundreds of publishers, magazines, journals, and websites to solicit to.

Another challenge I need to overcome is a sense of guilt I have in writing. I wrestled with this same guilt in writing this blog. I feel that I’m somewhat of a hypocrite writing about how things should be but not actively doing anything about it myself. Take for example my recent post referencing abortion. While what I wrote may be all fine and good, am I putting into practice what I’m preaching? There’s a saying, those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach. I think a better way of putting it would be those who can, do, and those who can’t, write. I don’t want to just write without action. Most of those I met last weekend participated in some ministry. Their writing was often an offshoot of that ministry, rather than the writing being the ministry. So I’m back to my original question: to what ministry am I being called? I have a lot of prayer, soul searching and advice seeking ahead of me. I welcome your prayers and feedback.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jer 29:11)

"[God] determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live." (Acts 17:26)


Peter P said...

OK, one thing at a time:

What is your ministry? Well, where has God placed you? What opportunities has he given you? What gifts do you have that you are not using? What excuses are you making to not do what he has called you to do?

As for not knowing which ideas are 300 page books and which are 1000 word articles, my suggestion would be to start writing them as 1000 word articles and see where you go from there. Some will stay as articles, some will beg for follow-up articles (which will then be able to be collated into book form), some will not work as articles at all and some will become springboards into books.

Or maybe it will just help you to focus and see something else that God is leading you into.

You'll never know until you start!

Fatha Frank said...

Thanks for the feedback! I've been praying about it and the answer I seem to be getting is to keep doing what I'm doing- and that's sharing all that's on my heart with the Small Group I lead and expand that audience with Twitter and Facebook. Baby steps.

Peter P said...

You lead a small group, you helped Steve with getting the writer's conference sorted out, you blog, you lead your family.

Looks like you have a pretty full ministry plate already!

One of the things we need to learn to do is recognize the ministries that God has give us that we are already involved in.

...and remember, baby steps are OK when you are a baby but sometime you need to take adult steps!

Keep following Him, he will lead you where he wants you to go!