Parallels between Christian Leadership and Christian Writing

I was reading an article on Christian leadership the other day and realized how many parallels there were between the key points and my own writing. So I decided to share my thoughts (and a glimpse behind the philosophy of my own writing).

Carey Nieuwhof, the author of 21 Key Learnings from Andy Stanley and the Drive Conference, will be in bold; my own thoughts in normal text.

We don’t tailor content of our services for unchurched people, but we do tailor the experience.

Same with my writing. I don’t dumb down or take out the spiritual component of my stories. But I also don’t preach. I use the medium of fiction writing to tell a story with deep questions and wonder.


People learn best in emotionally charged environments.

What is more emotional than fiction? Words engage both our hearts and our minds. They are a way to reach inside a person and touch his or her soul. That is the goal of my writing.


We leverage common experiences and emotions, not belief systems.

When I write, I am not writing a paper on why you should believe what I believe, I am writing about common experiences and emotions like betrayal, fear, longing for love and acceptance, and forgiveness.


A goal is something you accomplish. A win is something you experience.

So true! A goal is to finish the manuscript. A win is when a reader writes to me and tells me how my story impacted her life. I am in control of my goals, but I cannot control my wins. However, I love to experience a win 🙂


Public loyalty buys you private leverage. Criticize privately, praise publicly.

I am a firm believer in this. Public humiliation never helped anyone (or at least me). But someone who cares about me (and I know they care about me), have the keys to privately criticize me. I had to learn early on in my writing career who to hand those keys to, and to not let in those people who did not hold those keys. I also apply this to how I approach other writers. Praise publicly and if I have that kind of relationship, critique privately.


The loudest critics in the church are people who have become missionally disengaged. Why listen to people who are missionally disengaged give you feedback on your mission?

This goes back to my previous statement. Everyone has an opinion in this day and age and they can post it everywhere. But that doesn’t mean they have earned the right for me to listen to them. A lot of people are only out to prove a point or to be right. So why listen to people who aren’t first invested in me as a human being?


Kids begging their parents to go to church beats parents begging their kids to go to church. Invest in your family ministry environments.

Change this to people begging the author to keep writing beats author begging readers to read their books. Invest in your craft, in your genre, in your skills. But don’t forget to dream and imagine. That is what the reader wants to share with you: your wild, crazy, amazing story.

One more thought to counterbalance this: remember you are not perfect and forgive the mistakes you make (whether that is a typo, grammar, whatever). Continue to strive to be the best you can be, but remember you are human 😉


So, yeah, I always find interesting parallels between two seemingly different things. I’m weird like that 🙂 Hopefully you found some insight as well. And I would encourage you to look at the original article. Great ideas and thoughts on how Christians (and churches) can be effective and love people more.

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