By far and away, the thing that has had more influence on my life spiritually has been books. Where would I be without the books I’ve read? Where would I be had I not read J.I. Packer’s Knowing God or John Piper’s Desiring God. Books impact people’s lives. This is why you should publish several books a year.
Do you ever wish you had more time when you preach? Do you ever have more to say than you have time to speak? When you write, you can say all this and more. You can say things you meant to say but forgot to say. You can say it better. You can edit. You can rewrite. You can include things that might not be appropriate in a sermon, but still need to be said and would be helpful to your people.
I recently did a sermon series called Break a Habit; Make a Habit. The sermon series included six sermons, but I had much more to say. When I released this information in book form, it was 12 chapters long.
By the way, I have a preference for fairly short books. A normal, trade book is about 60,000 words, or about 180 pages. I am working on a series of books now that are about 25,000 words. I like reading short books, and especially like writing short books.
The average church member only shows up about half the time. Sometimes, this is because church attendance is not a priority for them, but sometimes it is because they are not able to attend. They have to work, or they are out of town, or are sick, or for a hundred other reasons that are not able to attend. However, they would like to hear what you had to say. You serve them well by putting your words in print.
Sometimes, we are just not in a place to receive a message. Let’s say you do a series of sermons on marriage and family. Part of your people are single. Wouldn’t it be great to have that information in print that you could give to a newly married couple?
Let’s suppose you do a series of sermons on the church. You really pray hard, think hard, read hard, and work hard to present your vision for what the church should be. Two months later, you get an influx of new members. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to give them a book on your vision for the church?
Review is the mother of learning. Paul said, “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.” Philippians 3:1 (NIV) Paul knew that his people needed to hear the message again and again for it stick. When you publish books, you give people the opportunity to read the message, as well as listen to the message. Review is the mother of learning.
You probably have a wider circle of people who would like to hear your message than who are able to be in your church building on Sunday morning. People from churches you used to serve, people who know you but don’t or won’t come to your church, Facebook friends, and old college buddies are all potential audiences for your book.
Publishing is forever. In the old days, publishers would print a number of copies of a book based on projected sales. Once these books were gone, they made a decision as to whether or not to print more. If the book didn’t sell all that well, it went out of print and was unavailable. Those days are gone. Now, we have print on demand technology. With this technology publishers can print one book at a time and the book can be available forever. No book ever has to go “out of print.”
There is an unfair advantage that comes to anyone who bothers to write a book. Society respects writers. I wrote a book years ago that created a career for me—You Can Double Your Class in Two Years or Less. It was not a best-selling book by publisher’s standards. The royalties I made on it were mostly fun money. But it created a career in speaking.
I’ve logged over two million lifetime miles on American Airlines alone doing conferences based on this book. There are lots of people who are more qualified to speak on the subject than I am, but they don’t get the invitations because they don’t have a book published. There are people who have a better resume, better experience, better credentials, better education, better stories, better speaking ability, and better connections, but they don’t get the invitations that I have gotten because I have a book published.
When you publish a book it will bring credibility not only to you, but to your church. Your people will love saying to their friends, “You should come hear our pastor, he is a published author.”
A Pastor’s Quick Guide will show you how you can get your completed manuscript on Amazon in both print and Kindle version in about an hour.