Since, Jesus For You, released I’ve been asked often where I found the time to write. And each time I’ve answered a little differently. As I’ve thought about the question, sometimes I consider the writing process, sometimes my day job leading a church, and sometimes I think of it in the context of being a husband and father of three sweet little girls.
The short answer is: “I wrote the majority of it late at night.”
But the longer answer could be helpful too.
THE WRITING PROCESS
I wouldn’t consider myself a writer that also pastors, but a pastor who also writes. Writing isn’t easy for me…except when it is…but usually it isn’t. I don’t wake up with an eagerness to write; I get up with an eagerness to lead and preach for my local church.
So for me the writing process is laborious, and if I don’t “feel” it, I don’t write. Ask any real author and that’s not the way you should do it. If you want to write you have to write, everyday.
Jesus For You, started as a few points in a Good Friday sermon I preached almost seven years ago; it turned into a blog post; then I thought, “this is pretty good,” maybe I can write a Lent devotional for my people; and that turned into a book.
So you could say, Jesus For You, took seven years to write!
But the majority of the words were written over the course of about four months, late into the night.
LEADING A CHURCH
Should a pastor work on personal projects during “work” hours? It’s a common question. This project notwithstanding (since it started as a “work” project, and because all the royalties go to the church), it’s a difficult question to consider.
What, exactly, are a pastor’s work hours?
“The majority of the words were written over the course of about four months, late into the night.”
Some of my best thinking happens when I’m at the gym, or laying down at night. Sermon ideas, future projects, member issues, church discipline cases, it never really stops. Emergencies come up, church events at night, prayer burdens, book reading for personal development—when exactly do my hours start and stop?
So I guess my answer to that would be, sure, a pastor can work on personal projects during the day. But, for the most part, I don’t.
HUSBAND & FATHER
I don’t “come home from work;” I leave one job to go to another. My home and family is work. I think a husband should help clean, should help with homework, should discipline and pastor in the home, read books, sing, and pray.
My job is to go to bed really tired.
There is a stop light that I pass on my way home that triggers me to turn my day-job off and turn my evening gig on. I pray as I pass Rosedale Ave. and prepare to work at home.
So after putting the kiddos down, spending some time with my wife, I would write Jesus For You at night.
Depending on how the writing “flows,” I might write for an hour or three…most nights I just wanted to write 500 words.
I think a husband/father’s “time” is when the moon is out—if the sun is up he should be serving others.