I admit, I used to be a terrible writer. Period. I am not good at writing essays. I don’t explain myself well in texts. I sometimes send impulsive and unfiltered messages to friends. Maybe because of my background or experiences when I was growing up.
I guess nobody taught me how to express myself properly, communicate effectively. But of course this has been my past and the Lord has healed me here many many years ago.
I am a visual person. I am theatrical guy when I was in high school and college, and had directed live plays and short films during my early professional years. I best explain myself through stills and videos, through acting and extemporaneous speech. The only writing activity I enjoy is writing scripts for stage and screen plays.
Until I encountered a great apologist who uses poetry and narratives in his teachings very very well. That’s the time I became highly interested in written text, and started improving my writing skills. I was captivated by the play and flow of words describing things, narrating scenes, visualizing atmospheres, captivating emotions and imaginations. This is creative writing. And this type of writing has encouraged me to treat writing as a friend.
As I watched and listened to the world renowned apologist as he uses literary materials in his messages, I imagined his manuscripts so full and so alive, I was encouraged to improve my writing as a young preacher. With further learnings from inductive preachers, writing manuscripts started to become an expression of art as well.
As years progress in my teaching ministry, the more materials and trainings I received on theology and Biblical studies, the more I became cautious in writing manuscripts. I would consume a lot of time in reading references and other materials to support or to challenge my every point in every sermon. I also became so conscious of my content, grammar, and future feedback of our church members. These would take days, that would lead to a writer’s block until Saturday morning. Giving me a certain amount of stress in finishing a sermon. Sometimes I would try to just write simple manuscripts, but then a sense of guilt comes in after descending from the pulpit. I felt I could have given more.
But indeed our service to God is through His grace. His grace has taught me somehow the proper preparation and writing disciplines in sermon making. A preacher can study his pulpit lessons extensively, as devotions, in conversations with other believers, personal or peer Bible studies, reasonable time with references, deductive and inductive methods, with the help of various expressions of art, music and films. These has helped me write enough, meaningful and content-rich essays for every manuscript that I do, for every pulpit assignment that I have.
The same discipline has helped me in my work in program development. Writing curriculums, project rationale, proposals and various materials. There are no more intimidations I guess from the vast content out there about my topic or training. But there’s a growing confidence that all necessary words and ideas will be put together as long as I remain in the discipline I need in writing.
Writing will continue to be my task as a preacher. Both for big audiences, to small gatherings, my every lesson’s effectivity will highly depend on the amount of preparation I have given to it. I wish to constantly impart to my audience that I have prepared for them. I pray that God will be glorified in every chance I stand on the pulpit or sit in a chair in a small group Bible study. Thus it is a constant challenge to keep the discipline and dedication on effective writing.