Wednesday, 29 August 2012


                                                DEVELOPING THE ART OF WRITING 
 Kim Petit opined in his article titled, Unleash the Power: “Have you ever written a thank you note in your head, but neglected to write it on paper? Or crafted a masterful e-mail when you’re not at the computer? Or how about a story, an article, or even a book outline? If you are like me, you might have dozens of ideas in the course of a day-but only few result in a product”26
Do not only think about writing a book. Tract or an article, pen your thoughts on pages of paper and let such result in a product. Let your write up be one that will minister to the readers. Be ready to make a re-write if someone (an editor) tells you to do so. Re-write is biblical. Your first write up is just a draft. It must be reshaped by deleting, inserting, polishing, tightening, etc to give the whole piece maximum clarity and impact. Let not your writing skill / talent be killed through laziness. Do not be tired working on your manuscript until it gets to the publisher. “The success of any writing endeavour depends on the writer’s readiness to rewrite. In fact all good writing are products of rewriting. Efforts to get it right the first time kill creativity and idea development”, says Lawrence Damani.27  
            The followings can be adhere to for the development of a good writing habit:
  1. To conceive a book or any written work, hold in your mind what you want that publication to accomplish in the heart of your readers: would it be to inspire, persuade or challenge?
  2. Express your vision or ideas clearly
You may not be able to write all your ideas in one sitting, always appreciate whatever you have written.
  1. Read other people’s publications; this will inspire and encourage you to write
  2. If you know another writer around you, interact with such a person. This will encourage both of you to develop in your writing skill.
  3. Work towards printing out your write ups no matter how small it may be. Seeing people reading your publication will encourage you to write more books
  4.  Let some else (an Editor) read through your manuscript and be prepare to rewrite if need be
  5. It may take months or years for a particular write up to be completed. Keep on doing the work; it would make you to be a skillful writer at the end.
8.      Since you are aspiring to be a Christian writer, make the Holy Bible your best daily reading book. Always trust God for His grace to pen down inspirations from the scriptures
  1. Prayer is necessary to actualize your vision and to make the work fruitful in the lives of the readers.
Timothy Olonade28 of CAPRO, Jos, gave 13 points rules to guide a would be writer, author, editor and publisher towards a successful Christian Publishing:
  1. Be Simple: blessed are the simple writers for they shall carry the most people along with their writing.
2.      Be Relevant: blessed are the relevant writers for they shall be published by reliable publishers.
  1. Be Exact: blessed are the exact writers for they shall be delivered from repetition.
  2. Be Personal: blessed are the personal writes for they shall be found with their subject.
  3. Be Brief: blessed are the brief writers for they shall not bore their readers to death
  4. Be Descriptive: blessed are the descriptive writers for they shall captivate their readers.
  5. Be Choosy: blessed are the choosy writers for they shall be found with inspiring work.
  6. Be Interesting: blessed are the interesting writers for they shall fascinate their readers.
  7. Be Relaxed: blessed are the relaxed writers for they shall not struggle to articulate their thought.
  8. Be Truthful: blessed are the truthful writers for their work shall carry weight.
11.  Begin!: blessed are the beginning writers for if they persistently apply these principles, they shall become accomplished authors.
  1. Blessed are you if you remain humble when you are published; for so shall your source be renewed and polished to bless many more lives.
  2. Blessed are you when critics shred your writing, injecting it with unintended meanings and making mockery of your toil, for great will be the depth of your future manuscripts if you learn from their criticisms and take time to improve your writing.
Christian literature lives longer than spoken sermons. It is better to be a Paul than to be an Apollos. According to Jim Garlow, Paul was a great preacher, and so was Apollos. One of them wrote and we have half the New Testament. The other didn’t write anything and we don’t have the foggiest idea of he said. Both were good preachers but only one left a legacy, because he wrote.
Christian writers participate in a Paul type of ministry – one that leaves a significant legacy.”29

           Encouragement of Christian Publication work among members

Global culture is spreading fast through electronic media, yet it does not reach all rural areas where some ethnic groups are growing in size and in literacy. Despite the popularity of electronic media, print materials are still needed to increase biblical knowledge towards spiritual growth of the Church. Good Christian literature plays an important role in nurturing the Church. We must produce materials that will equip and nurture believers, helping those who are in remote areas to grow in their faith despite new challenges. There is the need for a strong indigenous publishing work.
Indigenous (or denominational in the case of UMCA as the case study) literature would speak better to the hearts of the readers than imported or foreign culture-based publications. We need to be intentional in developing indigenous writers within the Church. If we expect the Church (UMCA) and God’s people over the world to be spiritually developed, publications are vital food necessary for growing in grace and knowledge of Christ. The type of Christian literature that we are able to produce will determine the kind of Church (spiritual) growth we will have. According to Sidney Rooy, “Without appropriate Christian literature, there will be much froth and husks, but little genuine and authentic nourishment” Many disciples of Christ today, are seeking solid literature which makes them wise unto a full salvation. Christian Publication need not to pursue denominational doctrine for such will divide the church (Christians) into more groups. “Rather, a biblical ecumenism is needed in which there is a genuine sharing of vision and dreams in the sense of Acts 2 – not separate from the reality of this world, but incarnated in it in the way our Lord and his disciple were”, says Sidney Rooy.30
The Church (UMCA) needs to desire more ways to spread the gospel: Newsletter or magazines, Tracts, Pamphlets and other literature are essential tools for disseminating the gospel. People need such materials for spiritual growth. The Church must be empowered to reach out through Christian Publications to equip this generation and the next. Such materials can be for Children, Sunday school, Scripture portions for Seekers, Bible story flip charts for village workers, or tracts for street evangelism. A call for more solid theological and sociological study materials: Christian magazines that would be dedicated to deepening of ethical and theological insight of Pastors and lay workers. Christian Publications must come in a way that would make members (or Christians) desire more publications to improve their knowledge of the scriptures. This would result in Church or Spiritual growth. Popular titles can as well be produced for wider readership. We live in a visual and technological age in which people demand rapid movement and action. In this generation, publications must be made light and easy, not denominational or theological, but on general life issue that would be readily acceptable to readers.
Spiritual growth of believers depends upon feeding their minds and hearts with good written materials. Provision of Christian literature in every language is imperative. This would aid the world evangelization as Christ gave us the mandate to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”  According to Gideon Simwinga, “printed word can enter homes and offices without appointments or following protocol. It is not told, ‘come tomorrow.’”  He went further to say that “Christian Publishers must responds to every stratum of Society by providing opportunity for all to acquire information, new ideas and skills relevant to their spiritual, intellectual and material needs.”31
The Church (UMCA) should establish self-sustaining structure that would enhance publishing as an ongoing activity. The Church need to invest on training Christian writers and sponsor publication work so as to make Christian publishing a vital part of their ministry, using it wisely and and orderly. Christian publishing can become a vital business that can generate fund for the denomination apart from its self sustenance. The denomination can train the congregation, through the Pastors in the effective use of Christian publications to enhance the spread of the gospel.  

       Motivation of members to be creative in Ideas and Writing

Writing is more than profession; it is the expression of talents or the development of a vocation- a foundational human activity, a behavior stemming from reasons plotted in pain and dreams, joy and disquiet. To write is to construct sentences and bring such into a readable piece of literature (poetry, novel, stories, etc). A writer is a genuine messenger who communicates to others. A writer is a non-conformist who cannot escape reality and therefore appropriate it, with all its dimensions of grief and hope. When not engaged in writing, with a heavy heart writers pretend to survive until they can be themselves again at the moment of writing. A writer is one, who in the midst of an “important meting” recognizes a sensation, a detail, a signal, a trait, as a ray of light, and cannot help but make it literature. Unseen, writers take notes on whatever is available: a palm, the back of a tie, a napkin, the margin of a sheet of calculations.32
According to Bonkung J. Handerson, many people who have trouble writing believe it is a mysterious process that the average person cannot master. They assume that anyone who writes well does so because of a magic mixture of talent and inspiration, and that people who are not lucky enough to have those gifts can never become writers. Every profession requires some natural talents and inspiration. However, skill in every area can also be acquired through training, practice and hard work. Writing is no exception. Bonkung went further to highlight some tips for writers as follow:33
-                    Get a grip on the language for our communication: No writer can effectively communicate well with the intended reader if he or she lacks the basic skill to communicate or write well in the reader’s language
-                    Good writing should answer at least three of the seven fundamental questions of who, what, where, which, when, why, and how. A careful handling of the six “Ws” and one “H” tells the whole story.
-                    Get started. Because of the evil of procrastination, most successful writers do not wait for inspiration. They write whether they feel like it or not.
-                    Work with other writers. Other writers can encourage and inspire you in your work. They can teach you about writing and publishing processes and give you confidence to continue.
-                    Accept criticism and correction. Most renowned writers had to write and rewrite their scripts over and over again to be where they are today. Accepting criticism even from detractors are litmus tests for any good writer.
-                    Reading is part of and parcel of good writing. A good writer must be knowledgeable about almost every facet of life. Read widely to benefit from the ideas of other authors.
Successful writers make plans before they start to write, but they keep their plan flexible, subject to revision. They seldom know precisely what they are going to write before they start, and they plan on discovering part of their content as they work.
-                    Be inquisitive: Successful writers work constantly at observing what goes on around them and have a system for gathering and storing materials.
-                    Respect deadlines: Even successful writers need deadlines to make them work.
-                    Reread and revise: Always stop and read what you have written so far. This helps you to eliminate silly errors that might escape your eyes during a general proofreading. 
Lawrence Damani of Step magazine in Ghana describes how one can coax writers to practice their craft as follows:34 After a seminar or workshop, there can be group discussion of questions, concern and sharing of published work. Review works and make follow-up of the previous practices.
-                    Give writing assignments: Skill development requires practice, so one should assign trainee practical work to do.
-                    Press for re-writing. Show a writer that there is no good writing; there is only good re-writing. Point out the positive things about his work and suggest ways to strengthen the weak areas.
-                    Provide reading materials. Other people’s work will motivate writer work at his craft
-                    Write letters, email, add short notes to motivate or encourage other people.
-                    Remind writers about their work. Preoccupation with other activities often brings forgetfulness. A trainee who wanted to write a book might forget that he even had it as a goal
-                    Enthuse the trainee about the goals and the aspirations that brought them to the training. Lack of enthusiasm comes with time and procrastination. Build their excitement again by getting them to talk about their writing.
-                    Encourage writers not to abandon their goals and aspirations. Discouragement can come with failures and mounting problems. He may start up a work and unable to complete because of one thing or the other. Encouragement will fire him up.
-                    Encourage writers to persevere. Urging is like pushing the writer a little bit. Urge writers to pursue their writing goals. 
Dryness in writing is a universal experience for writers. To be creative in writing and to overcome dryness, the followings are to be undertaken in other to be a productive writer: Accept yourself: develop a positive way of thinking. Many of life’s victories are won first in the mind. The human mind is powerful. We are what we think or imagine. Think big, think right. Tell yourself “I can make it; I will be a good writer, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phi. 4:13).35
-          Write down whatever ideas that flow in your mind. Do not procrastinate, write down immediately those ideas. Write down your good and bad experiences, inspirations received in your daily Bible study time, write down all that you can thank God for, these will encourage you to be a writer and such write-ups can later become articles for publications or a book.
-                    Discipline yourself in the use of time. Set at least one hour a day for writing rather that finding a free day for hours of writing.
-                    Let writing materials, biro and book, not be far from you at any point in time. This saves you from loss of useful ideas.
-                    Cut out unnecessary activities from your daily programmes. Long hours of watching films cannot build you up as a writer. Except it is in line with your publication work, spending hours on the internet is also not profitable to you as a writer.
-                    Be Creative: keep writing and rewriting. Write articles in different styles and let other people read and edit your writings, and be prepared to re-write if necessary.
-                    Identify and focus on the main point you want to communicate. Choose vocabulary that supposed readers understands and use every day. Use correct scripture references.
-                    You do not resort to pressure tactic to make people read or buy your publications. The product will speak for itself as the message contained is relevant to people’s need. 
-                    When the vision to write is new and fresh, it’s time to be practical- turn dream into action and move forward. But even when vision is tarnished and dim with discouragement, it’s time to be practical-polish the vision with action until it shine once again. Don’t stop until you see the vision clearly. Keep the momentum going.
-                    Get Trained: continue training and developing your publishing skill. Learning to be an effective publisher is a process, not an event. Attend writer / publishers conferences and workshops. Listen to those who have gone before. Sincerity in serving God is no substitute for knowledge. God expect us to know how to perform our jobs and perform well.
-                    Persevere. You are in God’s service, and Satan wants to discourage you. Setbacks may come, and there may be failures. Jesus did not give up but completed his mission on earth, dying on the cross for our sins. Let Christ be your example in persevering, and remember, “It’s always too soon to quit.”
- Be Encouraged: Being a Christian writer is hard, often a discouraging work. Many potentially excellent manuscripts lie half-written, hidden in drawers and gathering dust because their writers have given up in discouragement or because of outside pressure.
Everyone can be a writer for Christian publications. If any Church member desires to write Christian articles for publications, the followings can be adhere to:
-                    Such a one should pray and tell God about the desire to write as to honor and glorify God’s name and for the propagation of the gospel.
-                    Perform a test: the prospective writer is to write a brief article from a selected bible passage and give such to a talented Christian writer to edit, proof-read and make comments.
-                    Be ready to re-write the article for perfection.
Good writers are not born: the Lord calls them and they dedicate themselves to writing. The gift of writing, just as the other gifts, must be dedicated and developed to reach its greatest potentials. The flame of interest in writing is quickly extinguished if left unattended.36

26Kim Petit, Unleash the Power Editor, (Colorado Spring: Cook Communications Ministry International, 2005), p.13.
27Lawrence Damani, Rewrite! Its Biblical (Colorado Spring: Cook Communication Ministry International, 1999), p. 19.
28Timothy Olonade, Beattitudes for a Christian Writer (Colorado Spring: Cook communication Ministry Internationa, 1999), p. 19.
29James Garlow, The Pen & the Baton (Colorado Spring: Cook Communications Ministry International, 2005), p.5
30Sidney Rooy, Publishing for church Growth (Colorado Spring: Cook Communication Ministry International: 1999), p. 9.
31Gideon Simwinga, Publishing For a Rural Population (Colorado Spring: Cook Communication Ministry Inernatinal, June 1999), p.14.
33Bonkung J. Harderson, 10 Tips for Writers (Colorado Spring; Cook communication Ministry International, 2001), p.19
34Lawrence Damani, Follow up is Crucial (Colorado Spring: Cook communication Ministry International,2000), p. 10
35Charlotte Mensah, Five Ways to Overcome Dryness (Colorado Spring: Cook Communication Ministry International, 1998), p.19.
36Jorge Enrique, God Calls Writers (Colorado Spring: Cook Communication Ministry International, 2000),p.4.
                              GROWTH OF CHURCH MEMBERS WITH REFERENCE
                          TO THE U.M.C.A. CHURCH.
                                               Aremu, David Kolawole
                                                                    (Matric No: SW / 94 / 030)
                                                                                 A  PAPER        
                                                                        Submitted to the Faculty
                                                         In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
                                                                           for the Degree of  
                                                   POSTGRADUATE DIPLOMA IN THEOLOGY
                                                                  At the UMCA Theological College,
                                                                            Ilorin, Kwara State.
                                                                                August, 2011.)

You can request for our recently published book:      FAITH is ACTING not only Confession

ABOUT THE BOOK:So many people that received miracles from Jesus prayed him to increase their faith. Faith is required to receive anything from God. This book teaches practical faith actions that will help to develop faith in the readers. You can pray to receive faith from God but such faith will not work if not exercised. Your believe (faith) is a spiritual matter that must be turned into physical actions, based on the word of God, for physical results. Faith is not a theoretical matter but practical. As you read this book, do not only admire the write-ups or give credit to the writer but arise to act your faith: give your faith actions that will produce physical results. Let God (Jesus) see your faith in action and do not only pray about and confess it. “Faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power – inoperative, dead” – James 2: 17 AMP.
How to Get a copy and some other Books:
- You Can Be Self – Employed,
- Choice of Future Partner and Christian Courtship
- The Christian Home
- Walking in Abundance) by Email.