Anyone who has been in ministry for more than, say, a week has been asked the question: So what exactly do you do during the week? Sometimes the question is born out of a genuine curiosity. Sometimes it carries an arched-eyebrow air of “Man, your life must be nice.” Either way, it can be a frustrating question.
What people outside of ministry don’t get is that pastors work harder than most in a job that doesn’t easily have an “off” switch, while getting paid less than if they were doing the same level of work in any marketplace job. Being a pastor is hard, time-consuming work. So why would you, as one of these hardworking pastors, want to make your life more stressful by writing a book? Here are four reasons why (almost) every pastor should write a book and self-publish.
YOU GET TO DELIVER GOD’S TRUTH
Not to over-spiritualize things—we don’t always have a clear prompting from God in every decision we make—but you probably shouldn’t write a book unless you sense God giving you a message that you want to get out to your church community or the world at large. Writing a book is hard, time-consuming, frustrating work. But if you’re using your God-given gift of communication to make his message clear to others, it can also be one of the most rewarding things there is. There’s something about spending time getting a paragraph just right and feeling like it captures exactly what you believe God would want people to hear.
IT’S ANOTHER WAY TO PASTOR YOUR CHURCH
Have you ever felt like you have so much to say you couldn’t fit it all into a message? Have you ever wanted to tell a specific subset of your community something but felt the weekend service wasn’t the right avenue? Or maybe you’re just a gifted writer who enjoys the art of the written word. Whatever the case, your community attends your church in part because they sense God speaking to them through you. Writing a book could be a way for you to continue to pastor them.
The added benefit is that some people just aren’t verbal learners, and a book will allow them to absorb what God is saying at their own pace. It also gives people something they can refer back to whenever they want.
YOUR MESSAGE ISN’T MINIMIZED OR DILUTED
Publishing companies mean well. But the hard truth is they need to make money so people can keep their jobs and feed their families. The problem is, to do that they want to dilute their products down to the least common denominator so they can sell as many copies as possible. While there’s a lot of value to a professional editing your work, at the end of the day if you feel like you want to write a four-chapter book about the underappreciated book of Obadiah, self-publishing lets you do that without having to convince a publisher that Obadiah actually is a book in the Bible.
IT INCREASES THE AUDIENCE YOUR MESSAGE CAN REACH
This one is tricky. For many pastors, the allure of being “church famous” is strong. Success in our profession is often seen as being a Rick Warren or Andy Stanley. The truth is, though, neither of those guys wanted to be famous: They just were faithful to the gifts given them and it just so happened both of them have extraordinary gifts of leadership.
But that’s not success. Success in ministry is just being faithful to whoever God has created us to be. BUT, if God has given you a passion to teach other people about his kingdom and you want that message to get to more people, self-publishing is a great way to do that. Whether it’s in bookstores or online, self-publishing allows you to share what God has placed on your heart with a wider audience than the average Sunday attendance.
Writing a book is hard and not for everyone, but if you think it might be for you then know there are several spiritually beneficial reasons to go this route. You never know what plans God might have for the message he’s given you.
Don’t let the “unknowns” about the book-writing process hold you back. Equip Press was created to come alongside pastors and church leaders to help with everything from writing ideas to distribution and marketing. Get started today and download the free Self-Publishing Guide.