Do we minister when we write?
A member of the Christian Writers website posed the question that prompted this post. She asked if any of us had a ministry that was connected in any way to our writing. The replies were varied in content but agreed in the general sentiment that as believers who write, we all minister with the written word to one degree or another.
At present, most of my output (other than blog posts and the work in progress on my second novel) takes the form of poems, messages for the midweek church services I occasionally preach, and responses to my writing group’s monthly prompt challenges. Since I write with an overtly Christian worldview, I’d have to say that whenever someone reads something I’ve produced, they’re receiving ministry (at least, I hope so; that’s one of my main reasons for writing).
In the past, I found myself walking a fine line in that regard. As a newspaper reporter, I had to be careful to remain objective in my articles, but I also wrote a personal column much like (and somewhat influenced by) Dave Barry’s syndicated humor column. In those columns, I was able to be more overt concerning my beliefs and how they affected my view of life.
That was often the most rewarding work I produced, especially when someone would stop me in the grocery store or at the local Mart and tell me how much they’d enjoyed or been helped by something I’d written. Those comments and the occasional letters and phone calls were both humbling and encouraging; they reminded me to be careful of what I wrote because of the impact it could have on my readers, and they also often kept me going when lack of peer recognition for my work threatened to sink me into depression.
Let’s face it – few writers write for themselves alone. We want to communicate our worldview, our observations of life, something; otherwise, we wouldn’t be writers. When our peers don’t recognize our ability and efforts, it can be a strain on the ego.
Ah, the ego – that double-edged sword of the soul. At least in part, it drives our ambitions and fuels the fires of our creativity. However, it can also hinder and even destroy us as writers. For the writer who wants to glorify God with her work, the ego can be a distraction and even an enemy. It can cause us to focus on communicating cleverness rather than truth.
Truth – that’s what we want to communicate, even if we’re using fiction to do it.
So do we minister when we write? I pray so.