It has been a joy to serve Oak Hills Church in San Antonio on two occasions. The first was during the transition year of Max Lucado stepping into a teaching minister role as the church found a new[...]
If you have never met Max Lucado, words cannot describe his authenticity. That's remarkable given the fact that he has sold more books than any Christian author in history, second only to the Bible itself. If I could capture in one sentence, the character of the man, it is this: During my consulting career, no senior pastor has ever prayed for my children by name while giving thanks at lunch.
Our two hour conversation was pleasant and directed toward the work I was doing with Oak Hills Churchat the time. Toward the end of our conversation I sought his personal advice in discerning the role of writing in my ministry. The scope of his influence mixed with teachable and humble spirit made his wisdom even more dear. At the time, I was pushing through the middle part of Church Unique.
Within a few years after that conversation I would come to see writing–a form of tool-making–as a core part of my ministry. Max Lucado's encouragement over lunch was the most important catalytic event in discerning the role of writing in my life.
This is what he said:
Max reminded me that even after all his success, each book is like giving birth to barbwire. It brings great relief to know that someone as accomplished as Max must wrestle still through the writing process. Nevertheless, anyone who commits to the discipline and pain should remember five important benefits.
#1 Writing allows the reader to digest the information on their time, at their pace. Max contrasted this to the long consulting meetings I was conducting at the time, highlighting the extreme limits of face time influence. Max literally said, "Will what if I could only learn from you from 11:00 pm till midnight three times a week. There would be no way to do this on your consulting schedule."
#2 The average book is read by more than two different people as it is passed on or left to be picked up by someone else. This interesting little stat reminds you that influence is larger than just the number books sold or hits on your blog.
#3 Since leaders are readers, books tend to move among and be digested by people of influence. At this point in the conversation with Max I am thinking that each point of wisdom carries significant. But as he continued to share each observation, the synergistic impact of the ideas began to blow my mind.
#4 Influence through writing transcends time and place. Later today, as I write this blog, I am talking with people who want to join the Auxano team in Australia. Why? Because of my writing. I am reminded now each day of the powerful wisdom of this simple observation. Your writing will go to places you would never wander, even if you lived 500 years.
#5 Writing forces you to "polish" the articulation of your best thoughts for others. You probably have great thoughts that others need to hear. But while they rumble around your brain they are at best 80% developed. Max used the metaphor of a jeweler who shows off his finest gems in a glass case. The glass case of your ideas is your book.
What's your personal mission? How might writing play a role?
What's your greatest passion? How could making tools with the written word help you pass your passion to others?
What is your ultimate contribution to the world? How might the lasting impact of writing fit into the bigger vision of your life?