I have made it a goal in 2012 to begin writing a book. This idea came after a lot of thought and more than a few people out of the blue suggesting that I should do so. This thing will probably take me a lifetime to finish for several reasons; not the least of them being a total lack of understanding of English grammar and a propensity to start something and quit halfway through.
I started working on the project about a month ago and learned something, writing a book is hard. I knew it would be, but the reason I thought it would be hard is not the reason that it actually is.
I figured that the hardest part about writing a book would be coming up with the idea for the book. I’m finding that’s not the case. The big over arching theme of something is easy. What makes writing hard is Character development. To be more specific you have to make the people who are reading about your characters care about them. You could have the greatest subject idea in the world and it will not matter a hill of beans if the characters that exist within that idea are not understood. Up to this point I have been trying this project with something I have come to call backwards success. The idea being that if I come up with a successful, attention grabbing idea that people will instantly love it. I’ve been studying the story to figure out the characters, when it should be the other way around.
I realize that the information I just wrote is not that interesting, what might be interesting to you though is how I came to this conclusion. I did so by studying the modern Church.
I am starting to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff the Church is coming up with. We have great big ideas. Awesome conventions. Music that is on par (if not better) than anything main stream media is producing. We have book after book after book about Church growth and programming success, and then on the other hand, we have more books on how Church growth and programming are a waste of time. On top of that we have thousands of bloggers and critics that wade through all that material and tell us what’s good and what’s not. We have impressive videos with neat graphics that stir our emotions and cause us to think. We have great marketing campaigns for the next great idea that has come down the wire, and yet it seems that fewer and fewer people are picking up our book.
Why? We have a great story! We have really smart people that have been advertising this thing for years! Why don’t people care? Could it be that the Church is participating in the backwards success strategy?
Maybe it’s time to stop studying the Church and it’s time to start studying the characters. To be more specific maybe it’s time to start studying the character. The sad truth is no one is going to care about our story until they care about our Jesus.