Let’s Put the C Back in CBA: Refocusing on Ministry

Rachel Kent

Blogger: Rachel Kent

Location: Books & Such main office, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Jesus came and told his disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'” Matthew 28: 18-20 (NLT)

As Christians, those verses are familiar to us; we know them as The Great Commission. Most Christian authors write books to either “make disciples of all nations” or to “teach them to obey all of the commands” God has taught us. These are wonderful goals and purposes for writing. You’re using your God-given talents to do the work of our Lord. It’s so easy, however, to lose sight of that in the business of publishing.

This applies to Christian publishers and agents, too. Greed can get to us all.

Here are some questions to ponder:“Am I getting a high enough advance?”

“How can I market the book well so I can sell a lot of copies?”

“Is my Facebook/Twitter following big enough?”

These are legitimate questions, but the motivations behind them are what make all of the difference. If you are seeking an advance so that you can use it to help support your family while you do the writing work, then that’s great! It’s like any job. You’re receiving a paycheck and putting some of it back into serving God–using the rest to provide for your family. It’s when you start getting greedy and focusing on the money that your motivations are off.

If you are hoping your book sells lots of copies so that you can have a big payday, you need to make sure your motivations are aligned with what God would want.

If you are working to attract as many Facebook or Twitter followers as you can so that you can market your book to them only for financial gain, without thinking about the good you can do for these people by sharing God’s message with them through your presence on Facebook and your book, then you need to work on realigning yourself with the original reason you decided to write a book for the Christian marketplace.

If you focus on the ministry, God will bless your efforts.

The money-motivations are something we’re all going to struggle with at times, but we need to keep our eyes focused on the ultimate goal of this life and that’s to spread the Gospel message.

How do you remind yourself of your original motives for writing? What can you do today to build or refocus your ministry?

13 Responses

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  1. Such a great post, Rachel! So important for us to remember why we are writing–not what we are going to get from it. If this is truly a calling from the Lord, keeping the focus on Him will bring all the blessings we need. (Notice I said need, not want.) Love your wise words!

  2. Great post! I’ve been praying about this a lot lately.

  3. “If you focus on ministry, God will bless your efforts…” Loved that, Rachel!

    While social media and numbers are important, you’re so right–it’s not all about that. As Christians, the motivation behind anything we do should be about giving glorification to God.

    Now, more than ever, I feel a sense of urgency to spread the message of Jesus Christ. There’s never been a greater need, and what better way than through our writing ministry? I think about the weight of each word, each scene I write…will my stories encourage others to seek a relationship with Him?

    What wonderful points you made!

  4. Laura Frantz says:

    This is such a needed, insightful post. I do view writing as a ministry. When I begin to see it as anything else I become miserable and lose my joy. My focus flags and then I’m reminded of where my heart should be. It’s about God and His glory. Not mine. It’s about people encountering Him through fiction. Not numbers, not awards and lists, not dollars. Everything about publishing is a gift to me based on the writing gift He’s given me. That helps keep things in perspective. Thanks for the confirmation, Rachel.

  5. Intriguing post, Rachel. In Luke 12:15, Jesus instructed those around Him to “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed…” I feel, however, that in these economic times the word has been warped in a way that anyone who is successful can be accused of being greedy. We cannot know what is truly in a man’s heart. Only God knows that. We may gripe against his large bonus, but not hear of his philanthropic endeavors. And at what point can we, who are unaware of a person’s personal and monetary commitments, determine if someone else is guilty of the sin of greed?

    I’ve been in the grips of a personal struggle lately. My husband, nervous over our current situation has been pushing me back to working outside our home. I’ve been praying about it, as I don’t feel it’s best for our young children, or for my writing. Am I being selfish? Is it wrong of my husband to wish we could own or do more things–a home addition, a wide-screen TV, perhaps take a cruise–as a reward for the 70+ hours a week he works?

    Yesterday, I received notice from a publisher that my second book has been accepted. Is this God’s answer to my prayers? Is He telling me to continue with my writing? I’ve asked for more guidance, because if I don’t seek a steadier income, my husband most certainly won’t have any of the things he wants. Is he greedy for wanting them?

    I stay focused on my motives for writing by thanking God for the gift He gave me. But my greatest motivator is my children, one of whom gave me a beautiful birthday card this year that thanked me for teaching her about God.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post. Hope you didn’t mind a bit of rambling.

  6. Amariah says:

    A much needed reminder! Thank You!

  7. Thank you so much for this post, Rachel. I suspect this is something we all battle from time to time. It’s easy to forget the original call of God as we go down this path, but you’ve reminded us what it’s really all about.

  8. Rachel Kent says:

    Cheryl, I think the majority of us have very similar situations or have at some point. It’s never easy, but all comes back to trusting God.

  9. I’ve found with anything whether writing or other ministries, if I focus on gain, nothing happens and I become anxious. But when I refocus and remember that I plant and water and God gives the increase, things pick up and move forward again.
    And I have peace, which I’ll take over money and platform any day! 🙂

  10. Rachel,
    Loved this blog. This is the main motivation for writing. To share the Gospel.
    Thank you for the reminder.

  11. Nikole Hahn says:

    Michael W Smith once said on a GMC documentary on his life that his pastor is his accountability partner. I have two accountability partners: my husband and my cousin. Both keep my social networking and blogging and writing in line. I’ve told them to do so. I believe we can get caught up in what doesn’t matter and forget what does matter and the constant reminders from accountability partners keep you on track; that, and God’s Word.

  12. Sherri says:

    Rachel I try to remember that any calling to write, whether fiction or non, is a calling to ministry in some way. I do want to write books and would love to write for a living, and maybe God will allow that one day. Until that time, he is providing me with many opportunities to write that he uses to touch and encourage people. As I am faithful to those opportunities he is blessing me in other ways as well. Hopefully once day that will include being published, but if not, I want to know that I’ve been faithful and that God has used my writing in ways that make an eternal difference. Thanks for a wonderful reminder.

  13. Anne Love says:

    Great reminders for life, not just writing. Thanks