An Excerpt from the Introduction of My New Book

Posted: August 16, 2021 in Uncategorized

After several false starts, I think I have found my voice for my new book/project. Here is a portion of the introduction.

This book has had several false starts and at first I didn’t know why.

I would start to write, find myself getting on a roll and then quitting and starting over. Then one day I figured out the problem. 

I was listening to a podcast on my way back from ministering at a camp in New York. The guest was a writer, and he spoke to the importance of two things in the writing of a book— knowing yourself as the author and knowing your audience. Suddenly things became very clear. My mind was transported back to an Amazon review of one of my earlier books, ministering to the creative soul. By and large that book was well received (at least among it’s very small audience) but this particular reviewer gave me a somewhat “negative” review. “Fire Dad” wrote. “Overall I thought this book was good, though I wasn’t the target audience. As a creative soul I thought this was geared more towards me, but really I think it is geared more towards church leadership and pastors and how they can encourage creative souls inside the church.” 

The reviewer was exactly right in his review. I did tailor that particular book toward church leaders as I thought the title. Looking back, I can see whereto subtitle, “A manifesto on ministry to creatives for creatives and the people who love them” may have led to the misunderstanding. I wrote that book at least in part because I was headed to speak at a large ministry event, knowing most of the people there would be ministry leaders, preparing the presentation led to the book. 

So for this book as I restart for the umpteenth time, I begin with those two questions in mind. Who am I and who is the audience for this book. Let’s start with me. I think the difficulty with my previous title is that I am at least two things. I have been an artist from the time I could hold a crayon. I’ve worked much of my professional life in one form of visual communications or another, mostly in the field graphic design. Today, I still create huge amounts of visual art, but now much of it is created in service to what, for me, is a higher calling. I am a minister of the Gospel—the pastor of a small rural church and an itinerant preacher, traveling the U.S. using art to spread the Gospel. 

There was a time in my life when my art life and my faith life were very compartmentalized and the results were almost disastrous. I was a young husband and father, we were somewhat poor and I was offered a project that would have temporarily solved some financial stresses and left me with a black mark on my heart’s permanent record. I wish I could say that I left the interview in a flurry of righteous indignation. Instead I drove the whole way home fully employing all my rationalization skills trying to find a way to so such a dubious project and still be okay with God. Thankfully I came to my senses and rejected the job. Compartmentalization is disastrous in the Christian life. Eventually God helped me to tear down the wall between the sacred and the secular and realize that my whole life belongs to God, especially the gifts and talents He has given me. Today I am a minister who happens to be an artist and an artist who happens to be a minister. Both aspects of my life together are what it means to be me. 

This brings me to the audience. As an artist, I am writing this book in hope that artists will read it and find their way into the local church and that they would offer their creative gifts back to their Creator, living the holistic God honoring life He desires for us to live. As a minister, I want to see the church embrace and empower the artists in their midst. I want to see artists embrace the church as a place where they can grow and thrive artistically and spiritually and I want to see ministers embrace artists and creative expression, creating spaces for new expressions of their Creator, and shining His light for the world to see. 

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