“Called to write.”
Over the years, I have contemplated this three-word phrase. What does it mean to be “called to write?” The word “calling” passes around in Christian circles with little thought given to it. For clarity, I define calling as the God-given durable impulse for a certain lifestyle or vocation. A Christian call to write is a strong God-given urge to serve others through the written word. We can fulfill this call in both fiction and non-fiction.
I had a strong desire to write before my call to pastoral ministry. (This durable impulse even predated my conversion to Christ!) But desire doesn’t always equal calling. As a third-grader, my teachers selected me to attend the Young Author’s Conference. Sitting wide-eyed in an auditorium, I listened to the award-winning author Avi speak. He spoke about being a professional writer. I was hooked. I wanted to tell stories like him. I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.
After my conversion to Christ, I thought a simple change in my content was all I needed to make my writing Christian. I dreamed of cranking out Christian novels from a cabin in Appalachia, but God stopped me in my tracks with a call to pulpit ministry. This was not what I had envisioned, but God called me to preach. For a long season, the desire to write was bottled on the inside of me and it seemed God had tightened the lid. God used this time to sanctify my mind and heart. I surrendered my dreams and followed His call into pastoral ministry. I have never regretted following.
In submission to the call to vocational ministry, I began to see the connection between the speaking and writing ministry. Realizing God gave me the desire to work with words, I began writing a devotional column for a local newspaper. People read it and liked it. I would receive letters of encouragement (and one time a $25 donation). Soon, I began to write for another newspaper in a different county. I started a blog around this time too. But there was a tension in my spirit, because I felt I was neglecting my pulpit ministry. It scared me. I liked the attention too much. So, God had more work to do in my heart.
A few years later, while I was serving another church, God loosened the lid. I remember God showing me that writing was to be a focus in my ministry. This revelation was not in an instant, but gradual. It was not one instance, but many instances that accumulated until it formed the vision. Beforehand, the problem was I wanted to write stories for me. I wanted the limelight of a wordsmith. The desire to seem intellectual clouded my motives. I had never wanted to speak in public, especially for God. However, God wanted me to preach, teach, and write for His glory. I had to surrender my life’s desires and trust Him.
Why do I share all this? Because writing is ministry. Ministry is about serving others, not our egos. God calls people to write for His glory. This doesn’t mean that you can’t write novels, poetry, biographies, or whatever else you want. But a Christian call to write is a strong God-given urge to serve others with your words.
I know I am called to write. If you’re reading this, you’re more than likely a writer too. You may be working through the same issues as I did. You’re not alone. We all struggle to find our calling and stay faithful to it. I want to help you. In the upcoming weeks, I am beginning a new series called Finding the Right Write Calling. I invite you to journey with me as I openly work through what the call to the writing ministry looks like. Regardless, if you’re a fiction or non-fiction writer, God may call you or solidify your call to write along the way. Will you join me? Please subscribe to have the future posts delivered to your email.