Kickstarter Project: Flannelgraph Jesus

Another book about Jesus?

Yes! But I think you’ll like it. Here’s why: First, it’s not for theologians or super Christians—it’s for everybody. You won’t need an exegetical dictionary to read it. You’ll only need to be interested in seeing Jesus in a refreshingly new light. Second, it might change your life. Scratch that, Jesus will change your life. Especially when you get a better understanding of how awesome he really was!

As a pastor, my dream is to help people get a clearer picture of Jesus. It’s time to go beyond a one-dimensional picture of Christ and see the man, who lived, laughed, loved, and ultimately died for the world. He’s so much more than just the Bible story Jesus. There are so many characteristics of his personality that go unnoticed or underappreciated.

I’m raising the funds so that I can self-publish the book. Here’s a breakdown of how the money will be used:

* Cover Design $500

* Interior Layout $250

* Copy Editing $500

* First printing $1,000

* Marketing $500

* Miscellaneous $250

Total cost is $3,000

The first draft is already completed and is 22,000 words. After final editing and revisions, I expect to finish at 25,000. That will make the finished product about 125 pages.

Tentative Chapter Titles:

Didn’t Know He Was Funny

Didn’t Know He Was Tough

Didn’t Know He Was Rebellious

Didn’t Know He Was Teacher

Didn’t Know He Was a Friend

Didn’t Know He Was a Brother

Didn’t Know He Was Creator

Didn’t Know He Was Messiah

Risks and challenges

Because the first draft is already completed, the biggest challenge that I have now is editing. Currently, the manuscript is being reviewed by my team of “beta readers.” This is sort of like a test audience for movies. Once I hear back from my beta readers I will make changes and then submit to my editor.

I’m working with a couple people that have a lot of credibility in the Christian book publishing world so I’m getting lots of good guidance along the way.

Five Reasons Every Pastor Should Be A Writer

If you’re a pastor, then you should be writing. Ok, wait! Before you start with a list of excuses just hear me out (besides, I know all the excuses because I regularly used them to avoid my responsibility as a writer).

Truthfully, I have had an on-again, off-again relationship with writing since 2003. It’s something that I know I must do, even though maintaining the discipline to continue writing every week is challenging. Writing is first and foremost an act of sheer will. It’s not easy. But if you are a pastor I am fully convinced that it’s a necessary part of your ministry. Here’s why:

Expanding Your Audience

At first, this sounds self-serving. However, remember the Apostle Paul’s desire to go to great lengths to reach people for Christ. He said, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means, I might save some.” (1 Cor 9:22)

As a pastor, each week your audience is limited to the number of people that will attend your church on Sunday. That’s a problem because even if you could pack the building every single week there’s still a limit to how many chairs you can set up. And there’s even a limit to how many services you can hold.

These physical limitations are difficult to overcome, but by writing and publishing there is virtually no limit to how many people you can reach. Sure, it takes a while to build a good-sized audience, but it’s worth it.

Building a legacy

Here’s one of my frustrations as a pastor: I usually spend 10-15 hours praying about, thinking about, preparing, and writing a message to teach on Sunday morning. Then, when I’m done…it’s gone. Almost forever. No one may hear it again!

That’s a problem because I believe these messages to be God-ordained and important to the cause of Christianity. Not just to my parishioners but to Christians everywhere. I don’t want them to fade away forever.

A church and its leaders can have a great impact on the community both in terms of outreach and aid. But this is also true when it comes to the philosophy, doctrine, and teaching too.

As a pastor, your teaching is part of your “spiritual fingerprint” in the world. Allow those ideas to make an impression in the world through your writing.

As a pastor, your teaching is part of your 'spiritual fingerprint' in the world. Allow those ideas to make an impression in the world through your writing.Click To Tweet

Content Availability

As a pastor, you are in the business of creating fresh content every week. Literally, it’s your job to look into the scriptures and find innovative ways of communicating those important truths to your congregation. Like me, you take those ideas, format them to be captivating and interesting, and verbally deliver them in the form of a sermon.

While the sermon is meant to be spoken, those ideas can also become source material for your writing. Whether they become a book or a weekly blog, you have ready-to-go content on a regular basis. So, there’s no need to try to figure out what to write – just write what you are teaching.

There’s considerable evidence to suggest that much of the scripture we read each week on Sunday morning are parts of sermons, regularly given by the Apostle Paul. The book of Hebrews is one long sermon!

Note: you’ll notice that Sermon Series become great books, each sermon becoming a subsequent chapter of the book. This is one of the secrets of many ministry writers, from Timothy Keller to Chuck Swindoll.

It’s Inexpensive

Previously, getting published was difficult and expensive. It’s not that way anymore. A writer can publish a blog for a few dollars per month, if not for free. Platforms like Medium are also a great way to publish your thoughts.

Even if you desire to publish a printed book, self-publishing is so simple that there’s no reason not to do it.

Increased Opportunities

Without question, published authors have greater chances to impact their community through speaking engagements, teaching opportunities, and additional writing prospects. This can lead to a larger audience but also to financial blessings as well. Some may shun the financial rewards that may accompany a writing career, but for many in ministry, this can be a realistic way to supplement ministry in a small church.

So where are you in the process of becoming a writer? Have you tried and failed? If so, keep trying! Develop a regular routine and stick with it.

“so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)