“You need to stop writing so much and start doing more ministry”.
I’ve heard that criticism several times. And it always comes from the same place. Myself. I’m not alone in that criticism, though. I hear the rumbling throughout evangelicalism. (See here for an example). “Writing isn’t doing”.
To fight this voice of discouragement I’ve come up with seven reason why pastors ought to be writers. In fact I believe that writing is one of the most important things that a pastor can do with his ministry. Here is why:
- Writing assists thinking. Forcing yourself to put thoughts to paper will assist in bringing clarity to all the ideas floating around in your head.
- Writing makes for better communicators. Being intentional in writing will hone the way you use words. This will make you a far better communicator in the pulpit and elsewhere.
- Writing leads to more thoughtful reading. If you intend to interact and write about, review, or recommend something you are reading then it will make your reading that much better.
- Writing gives you an outlet. Pastors often have an overflow of content in sermon preparation. We also need an outlet for the many things we deal with each day. Writing (even if it’s not intended for publication) will create an outlet.
- Writing makes your blood visible. What I mean by this is that writing often helps you to know what you are passionate about. It shows you what gives you life. Often you have things bubbling inside of you that you aren’t even aware of until you connect your heart to a pen.
- Writing will last. I have a library filled with books that I access all the time. Even though I can access a ton of sermons online I seldom do. Writing lasts in a way that the spoken word does not.
- Writing demands attention. Al Mohler says that “the written word can do what the spoken word simply cannot do—sit flat on a page and demand attention”. It’s hard to ignore the written word, which you can read over and over again without it changing forms.
For these reasons I believe writing not only assist my wider ministry but it is a vital part.