How Church Planters & Pastors Could Benefit from a Writing Workflow
What You Already Know
Here is what you already know: church planters and pastors write all the time. You write emails to supporters, sermon manuscripts, church newsletters, welcome packets, website content and more. You wish you were a better writer but you know there is little time to do much about it. The need is big and the resources are small. Could a writing workflow help?
What You Do Not Know
There is a clear, simple path to immediately improve your writing. This plan does not involve reading another book or taking an online class—although either of those could help.
Church planters and pastors are excellent candidates for a writing workflow to instantly improve their writing. TWEET THIS
What Is A Writing Workflow
A writing workflow is a predetermined process you complete when writing content. For church planters, this could be content that will appear:
- in email updates you send to supporters
- in your church planting prospectus
- in emails you send to churches asking for support
- in marketing content you create for fliers
- blog posts you create
- articles you write for your church newsletter
- handouts and documents you create for training
At first blush, you may be tempted to think, ‘you lost me at “writing workflow”.’ I get it. Most of us bang out written content with less forethought than a casual verbal conversation. It is free form and off the cuff. We cram writing time into the cracks and crevices of the day’s insane schedule. Unless your name is “Bill Shakespeare”…
Producing something worthwhile with little effort is a rarity, and your writing is no exception. TWEET THIS
(FYI My past English teachers…and my Mom…will hunt me down if I fail to point out the writing of William Shakespeare took valiant work on his part.)
2 Ways A Writing Workflow Helps You
I have settled into a particular writing workflow. I use this workflow when writing any official content associated with Church Planter Starter Kit or Robby Fowler Design. Here are two reasons you should consider a writing workflow too.
1. A Writing Workflow Saves Time
This may seem counterintuitive, but a good writing workflow saves you time. A good plan always does. When it comes time to write, you can avoid time “leaks” by following a workflow. Church planters and pastors face constant interruption. Starting and completing a chunk of writing in a single work session can be rare. You know the feeling of starting to write content, getting interrupted, running off to your lunch appointment, taking an unexpected call from a realtor who just found the perfect property for your gathering, and then sitting back down to finish what you started. Where is it? Where did you put it? Did you start it in Word or Pages or Google Docs? You remember saving it. Right? Panic. ‘I did save it, didn’t I?’
You find it, glance at the time, and give yourself the pep talk. ‘Ok. I’ve got 20 minutes to bang this out, and then I have to get home to get John to his t-ball practice.’
A writing workflow reduces the variables. You start every writing task the same way. You save it the same way every time. You name it according to the same naming convention every time. You no longer have to think through these details each time you write.
Likewise, each step of the plan has a purpose. You can cut the unnecessary fluff and keep the steps that add value to your end result.
2. A Writing Workflow Saves Face
Bad writing is like that awkward friend who insists on dancing at every wedding reception. TWEET THIS
You don’t know whether to laugh or cry. He plants himself in the smack middle of the dance floor and 200 people clear out. How is it we all feel embarrassed and he seems oblivious?
When our writing is shrouded in a cloud of bad grammar, confusing sentences, wandering thoughts, and rabbit trails, we lose face as leaders. This is not a knock on the importance of character to church leadership, this is a knock on bad grammar, confusing sentences, wandering thoughts, and rabbit trails. These are counterproductive to the reason we picked up the pen in the first place. We have an idea, message, or truth we need to share. But it gets lost in the wilderness of our prose. The mic goes out. Bad writing is a dead battery in the headset of our message. Our audience struggles to hear us or take our leadership seriously. That be bad. Reals bad. You don’t want to be being like that does you?
I bounce between two extremes when writing content. On the one hand, I can make rash judgments about the leadership and leader pumping out poorly written content. I say to myself, “I am going to make sure my writing does not ever look like his/her writing. That way, I can look in the mirror and know I am a better leader…(and therefore, a better person).”
On the other hand, I can covet the writing and leadership platform of others. I write content. Pump it through my genius writing workflow. I fling it out in the public square and scamper off to the side like a frightened ally cat. I take a seat on an inconspicuous park bench so I can view the landscape. I wait and I watch. Hope in one hand. Disappointment in the other. In these moments, I am tempted by thoughts like, “What on God’s green earth do I have to do to get a freakin’ Facebook like or retweet?” Or “Come on! That was so much better than so-and-so’s predictable blubber about such-and-such. That trash got thirty comments and I got crickets.” Like a mad scientist, I race back to the lab, throw on my lab coat, and start tweaking the process. ‘This time, I know, will produce solid gold.’
I am called to be a faithful leader over whatever the Father entrusts. My leadership often includes and depends upon writing. My being loved by the Father never does. In Jesus, I have a voice that guarantees the Father’s ear. He is always listening. He loves me because he loves me. When in doubt, look to Jesus and ask for the Spirit’s help in crying out ‘Abba, Father.’ We can work hard, write well, and then entrust our words to the Word. If I speak well, and fail to speak well of him, then at best, I get heard, and at worst, I get heard. I am learning that the best steps in my writing workflow include beginning and ending with Jesus. He frees me from finding an identity in writing better than others. He protects me from the crushing defeat of trusting a writing workflow to secure a large audience and always falling short.
Next time I will share my own writing workflow. I use it to save time and save face. You can copy some of it, all of it, improve it, or create your own.