Thursday, January 24, 2013

Do You Need Me to Like Your Book?

preach to crowdActs 13:45 “When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and talked abusively against what Paul was saying.”

Okay, confession time. I’m going to tell you something that often gets me in trouble, but I hope you will understand my motive is to encourage you.

I do not like all the books I read—even bestsellers.

Phew! There! I said it! Now please don’t hate me because you think I’m some haughty, know-it-all, elitist author. Really. Who am I? I’m not even published.

Sometimes, it’s just that I don’t relate to the characters because of my own history. Other times, it’s a matter of clashing with the author’s voice. Or maybe the book is not written using my primary perceptual style—kinesthetic.

Though this could make an author wonder if I wouldn’t like their book, why should this encourage them? Let me explain …

Last year, I engaged in the Snowflake Method class offered by Randy Ingermanson on the ACFW course loop. In that class he stated the belief that most people will NOT like your book. For some reason I thought he gave the percentage of 80%, but when I quoted this number to other writers surprisethey were aghast.

“Eighty percent of people will NOT like my book?”

I got such strong reactions from authors I started to question my memory of the statement, so I cornered poor Mr. Ingermanson at the ACFW Conference in Dallas and asked him what number he quoted. His brows drew together in thought. “I don’t think I gave a number …” Suddenly I felt like an idiot. “ … but let’s look at it.”

There I stood, in awe, as Mr. Ingermanson, in true former-physicist fashion, began rolling off numbers of populations and figures from bestsellers—calculation, calculating—to come up with a percentage in the mid-nineties of people who would NOT like a bestseller. So you could imagine the stat of those who won’t like the work of little-ole-me.

Humbling? (Well maybe, if you think everyone should like your book) Or is it?

The truth is, if a bestseller does not need ninety-some percent of the population, why should I? In fact, this idea should give us relief! I don’t NEED to reach ninety percent. I only need to reach that audience for whom God has called me to write. My target market.

But there is soooooo much more to think about with this idea … and the reason I printed the Bible verse above. Because the jealousy spoken of in that verse comes from an “us vs. them” mentality, rather than working together to enlarge the kingdom of God. Members of the synagogue couldn’t listen to what Paul had to say, not because it was blasphemous (the word “jealousy” being used), but because it took attention away from them.

One of the things that astounded me most when I first joined American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) was how helpful so many of the members were when I asked questions on the loop or needed feedback with a manuscript. I did not sense that others saw me as competition, but fellow sojourners in the work. I liked that. They could help me reach the audience God had planned for me, and I could help them reach the audience God had planned for them.

choirYou see, I don’t NEED to like your book. And guess what? YOU don’t need me to like it, either. If God has called you to the ministry of writing and I’m not your target audience, that’s okay. It’s why I love to support other authors—because their work will reach where mine cannot, furthering the Kingdom of God in ways my book will not. That’s what makes it RIGHT if I don’t like your book. In fact, if we all wrote for the same audience, it’s likely we’d be preaching to the choir. Don’t get me wrong, the choir can use a lesson or two, not to mention encouragement, but sometimes we need to touch beyond.

Other posts you might like:

Would Jesus Market Himself?

To Parallel My Life with My Savior

headshot1Connie is a 2012 Genesis semi-finalist for Women’s Fiction. She was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest for her entry, Why Not to Kiss on a Park Bench (aka. Harold and Violet). Come visit her on one of her other blogs:

Living the Body of Christ

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What You Can Do for the Weary and Burdened Who Have Special Needs

I usually try not to post about the same thing on too many sites at thehandicap same time, but this week I am devoting my “ministry” posts to ONE thing and that is the Accessibility Summit at McLean Bible Church. This is a conference for churches and congregants to learn how they can serve the Special Needs Community.

Now, I ask you to do something for me this week. Go to your church and look for the disabled. If you can get your hands on the stats of disabled at your church and that of the surrounding community, that would be even better. My fear is that you will find your public school system serving more disabled than your church … and THAT is a SHAME. What happened to living Jesus’ words, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)? Do we not believe the disabled and/or the families of disabled are weary and burdened?


A few years ago, I went on a search for churches that could provide what my son needed when we attended. I checked out some large, almost mega-, churches and saw not one wheelchair. I entered into the children’s ministry to inform them of my son’s needs and heard words like, “Yeah, we had an autistic child here once.”

What?!!! Once?!!! This church was HUGE and it had an autistic child once? Given the rate of autism is something like 1 in every 110, this church should have seen many more than one, not to mention those with other learning disorders or disabilities.

So why aren’t the weary (these individuals AND those caring for them) showing up? Probably because, for some reason, they do not feel welcome. Churches are waiting for the individuals to darken their doorsteps BEFORE they provide the services needed, saying, “Well, we don’t have any special needs families, so why create a ministry?” when really they should be preparing the services KNOWING they are needed, then going out and finding the burdened to serve. Believe me, they are out there … alone and isolated.

We’ve spent too much time over the last weeks judging a young man with autism and a mother who raised him for the senseless deaths of young children. Let’s do more than judge. Let’s act! Could churches engaging these families have changed the outcome? Who knows, but it’s worth a look! At the very least, by engaging, we will be more aware of potential warning signs. At best, we could provide opportunities for community where none existed before—In Christ!!!

pewsOur churches should have MORE families with disabilities than the public school system, not less. Having mentioned churches with the opposite, I am compelled to tell you of one that meets this criteria—McLean Bible Church in McLean, Virginia. When I visited I saw parents holding hands of Downs Children, couples signing in the hallway, congregants leading blind members, and others pushing wheelchairs. It was awesome!!! The work of Christ was visible everywhere you looked. This church has made it a critical mission to serve these families, and better yet, can provide YOU with what you need to do the same at YOUR church. It’s called Accessibility Summit, a conference for churches who want to start and grow this ministry. It will be held April 19th-20th, and will feature Emily Colson, daughter of Chuck Colson and mother of Max (who has autism).

I highly recommend you either attend or request your church send a representative to attend. You won’t be sorry! This is an opportunity to grow an important ministry serving those Jesus begged you to serve: The weary and burdened. And if you do this, I KNOW you will find a myriad of giftings among your new congregants which your church so desperately needs—important “members” of the Body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:22 (NIV) “ … those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.”

So go out and find your indispensable members!!!

God Bless!

clip_image002Connie is a 2012 Genesis semi-finalist for Women’s Fiction. She was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest for her entry, Why Not to Kiss on a Park Bench (aka. Harold and Violet). Come visit her on one of her other blogs: Living the Body of Christ;

Friday, January 4, 2013


by Teresa Slack

Joshua 6:20 “So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpet, and it came to pass when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, they shouted with a great shout so that the wall fell flat, and the people went into the city and took it.”

We all know the story of the walls of Jericho. The Israelites marched around the impenetrable city seven times and on the seventh time the walls fell and they were able to go in and take the city. What we don’t often think about are the six times they marched around Jericho before anything happened.
As a kid I always imagined marching around a football field or something relatively small. This was a walled powerful city, for crying out loud. A little more than an afternoon stroll. They were also commanded to be silent. Wow. That’s tough. No Ipods. No complaining to the guy ahead of you about how hot it is or how the sentries standing on the wall laugh and cajole as you walk by or why God couldn’t have made the walls fall on the first go-round. Why seven times? We know God has the capabilities to bring those walls down the first time.
The whole point was obedience. God fulfills his part of the bargain after we fulfill ours. If the Israelites had stopped marching after the first time or the third or the sixth trip, they would not have received the blessing.
So why I have I not received the blessings I am promised with my writing? Is God trying to teach me something? Or am I walking in disobedience? I truly believe God put a calling on my life to write. He has given me stories to tell to uplift, entertain, and inspire His children. Guess what? I haven’t done it. Or at least not as much of it as God desires. Writing is hard work. It doesn’t come as easily as non-writers like to think. I have stories God wants me to write, but I don’t make time to write. Or I hit a roadblock in the story so I walk away from it. Remember, I said this stuff is hard. Or I get afraid that I’ll put so much work into a book and then no one will buy it, so I quit.
It isn’t like I’m not busy. I have a full time job. I am a Scentsy consultant, that often turns into another full time job. Plus, all the other stuff that crowds into a woman’s life, like kids, laundry, shopping, making ourselves pretty for our man…. Or not. Anyway, it’s pretty easy to walk away from my writing when it gets hard.
But God gave my stories to me for a reason. He chose me. Why? He could’ve given them to someone more prolific, hard working and motivated. But he didn’t. He has entrusted these stories to me. By not writing them, I am walking in disobedience.
In the last couple of months a few doors have flown open in my writing career. Some pretty exciting opportunities have been dropped at my feet. God has given me yet another chance to be obedient to Him. I don’t want to waste these opportunities.  
In an effort to put together a list of resolutions for 2013 without really making a real resolution, I made a list of things that keep me from writing. Here they are.
1.       Satisfaction of the flesh—sleep, TV, computer games, talking on the phone when I should be working.
2.      Fear of rejection.
3.      Doubt in my writing skills or my inability to complete a project.
4.      Poor time management
Am I the only one who struggles with walking in obedience? Do you feel like you are right where God wants to be? If so, great work on living a life pleasing to our King. Or are there things you need to work on this year to bring you closer to God? Not to mention receiving His blessings?
Here’s to a blessed and prosperous 2013. May we all write the stories the Lord has given us and walk in obedience with Him.