Why “Tips to Improve My Writing?” A Real Life Example
We just completed 4 weeks on “tips to improve my writing.” As a church planter or pastor, you may think, “That’s a weird topic to start your blog articles with…You must be a writer.” Your next thought might be, “With all of the stuff I have going on trying to plant a church, I don’t have the luxury of auditing an English Composition class.”
Let me address those thoughts using an example from my own experience to highlight the importance of this topic to your church plant.
First, I am NOT a prolific author or blogger. For the record, this is blog article number…5, of…5. In fact, if you want to stump the behemoth Amazon, type my name in the search bar and hit return. Crickets. Head over to Google and repeat. You will discover that I am almost a storied…striker, as in soccer player in the English Premier League (spelled ‘Robbie Fowler’). But author? Nope. So I am not a best-selling fiction writer telling you to pen more prose as the key to church planting.
Ahhh, I know…you are doing some post-graduate work and this topic aligns with your research and dissertation. Sorry to disappoint, but I am closer to becoming Dr. Seuss than Dr. Fowler.
Here’s Why I Started with “Tips to Improve My Writing” (A Real Life Example to Light Your Fire)
I made mention of this in the previous articles. A dash here. A sprinkle there. But permit me to be explicit. You perpatually write as a church planter and therefore, you are always in danger of being tuned out. Here is how it played out in my own experience…
The bomb dropped over a casual lunch with a friend and long-time church member. Amidst the crunch of chips and salsa, and the fizz of ‘una Coca’ (Hecho in Mexico), the conversation wandered over to some recent church-wide news we shared. This particular message was one of the ‘biggies’—at least from our point of view as church leaders. You know the kind. Critical. Attention. Exciting. High Priority. A must read. Important to the life of the church. So important was this particular communication, that we enacted the double-trouble maneuver. The 1, 2 combo. The Ham & Cheese. The Kanye & Kim. The Flannel & Hipster…The email & snail mail.
Oh yes we did.
We began our communication attack with an email to be delivered right to the inbox of our church family via the well-worn tracks of our church management software solution. There it sat, buzzing with life in the Draft folder. Like a police attack dog given the scent of a recent escapee, all that remained was the release of the leash.
For the second prong of our blitzkrieg, we crafted a carefully formatted letter artfully set within the official confines of our letterhead. Minutes prior to the final draft, I had unearthed the box of blank letterhead pushed to the back of the supply closet and removed the top, dust-infested sheet. A life well-lived. A valiant sacrifice for the cause. I fanned out a stack and insert them into side tray of the copier reserved for such paramount occasions. Next, I issued a 30-minute ban on the use of the printer. This was no time for someone to fire off a 20-page insurance quote—twice the price of our current plan that served us well—onto the letterhead standing at attention in the side tray. I printed off a single test, using the computer nearest the magical laser printing box. This is where many a rookie has been fooled. You never begin a letterhead print with a full run. You always test print. The margin for margin errors is too high to risk a full print. The printer whirled to life. A crisp page of letterhead disappeared from one end of the printer and then crept out the opposite side. Like a mad scientist, I anxiously lifted the printed page from the output tray. My layout hypothesis was confirmed. Success. Brimming with confidence, I walked back over to the computer, adjusted the ‘copies’ number from ‘1’ to the triple digits needed, and hit ‘Return’. (A nifty keyboard shortcut for power users.) I watched as copy after copy printed without a hitch. Not a single paper jam. The communication gods were with us. ‘Not a bad day at the office’, I thought amidst the congratulatory pats of others on the team. I lifted the ban—with 10 minutes to spare. After each letter was tucked into a matching envelope, it received a physical stamp to match the proud stamp of approval I had already issued. I waved goodbye like a proud parent watching their son head off to war. They were scurried off to the post office to fulfill their duty.
After wiping the tear from my eyes, I turned my attention to the Draft box. I scheduled the electronic bullet to be fired two days from now. Then I entered the launch code.
Assuming the post office would do their part, this lethal combination should descend upon our people on the same day. Brilliant—like, five-star general brilliant. Perhaps there will someday be a parade to commemorate this fortuitous moment.
It is helpful here, to pause and acknowledge a timeless principle of ministry. Passed down from generation to generation, the unwritten rule is that you may administer the email/snail mail combo one time per calendar year—unless it is the year of Jubilee, in which case the rules are suspended, allowing a second deployment before the Jubilee expires.
Now, back to the story. Given the recent enactment of the double-trouble maneuver, strong was my assumption that said message was ‘received’ by my friend. A presumed dragnet had been cast upon the entirety of our church family. Everyone was captured. The mushroom cloud of this communication bomb would engulf all. Like a singular cause championed by the First Lady: “No child left behind.” Who could miss it? Like the news “The King of Pop is Dead.” Who would not stop in his or her tracks and give full attention? You can imagine my surprise when my friend informed me of his ignorance in this matter. When I served the topic up, he volleyed back…
Stay close to your inbox. Next week I will share the conclusion—an expensive life lesson offered to you at no cost.