So you want to get published. . . #1

This is not false humility but reality, If I can do it, anybody can do it!
So be encouraged.

If being published is your goal you have to keep a few things in mind. It's not impossible, it's not easy and it can be rewarding.

When I decided I wanted to begin writing for the little niche of youth ministry world, I decided that my measure of success would be Producing and not being Published. The only part I could and can control is if I try to get my thoughts down for others to see. I couldn't control if an editor liked my thoughts and published them but I could control if I produced my thoughts for them to see.

My goal, until recently, has been to be published once a year in some youth ministry venue.

So the first thing to is decide to produce your ideas and then, unlike most resolutions, to actually do it!

You become a better writer by writing.

If you are reading this there is a good chance that you have a blog and write regularly. That's good. Blogging has helped me become a better writer because I always wanted to keep a journal but rarely did. I wrote for assignments and not for artistic expression. My writing has improved by writing more consistently.

You become a great writer by reading great writers and by always reading.

Read the classics in literature and read widely in different areas. Learn to pull principles to your world from things that don't obviously relate to your world. (Like this latest article in Leadership Journal When Ministry Jumps the Shark)

I try to read 3-4 books a month and I force myself to read stuff that I'm not naturally drawn to because it makes me not just a better writer but a better person.

Don't forget to read those good blogs! I'll let you decide which ones those are.

More will come over the next few days.

Oh yeah, start collecting quotes. :-)

When you write, you give your readers a chance to look into the inner workings of your mind and heart. The act of putting thoughts on a page forces you to evaluate your ideas more objectively than when you merely think about them. For that reason, creative writing is the sweetest agony known to man.
Howard G. Hendricks


I got 8 responses to the writing thing, so I'm starting to work on it. If others still want to resond to the one below, please do. I'm hoping it'll get more comments than my earlier confession that I enjoy fruitcake from the Corsicanna Bakery.


Writing for Publication

I'm going to start working on an article for Interlinc and I had an idea for anyone who is interested.

I've been thinking about putting some helpful hints about writing for publication (Youth Ministry focused) on my blog but I don't want to do it, if it won't help anyone. Sooo, here's my idea, if you've thought about writing for publication and you'd like me to share some stuff I've learned from others and in my own pursuit, leave a comment. I'm not a guru of any sort but I would enjoy helping others who would like to be published, one way or another.

If I get 4-5 comments, I'll write about it.

Marketing Strategy Splits the Sacred and Secular
(You can view it online for free but you have to register.)

Here are three snippets from the NYTimes article:

For established mainstream publishers and distributors, the Christian market has become too big — and too lucrative — to ignore. Last year an estimated $4.2 billion in Christian-oriented books, music and other forms of entertainment was sold, often in Christian superstores, according to the CBA.

Publishers Weekly, the book industry's trade journal, reported last year that religious titles were at the top of its annual lists of both best-selling fiction and nonfiction for 2001, the first time that had happened.

Two years ago Doubleday tried to capitalize on the success of Philip Yancy — who has sold five million books in the Christian market — with "Soul Survivor," his 15th book, as a mainstream title. While it was hardly a disaster at 110,000 copies, the publisher was disappointed. In paperback it will appear under both the Doubleday and Waterbrook imprints.

There are those who feel that those spiritual issues and Christianity itself — no matter what denomination — have become suspect. "I do notice how people are very comfortable talking about Buddhism and Eastern religions and taking them very seriously," said Carolyn Carlson, executive editor at Viking Penguin. "But if you were talking about the same religious experience in a Christian context, I think people would be uncomfortable talking about it."


Here's some good discussion going on about "What is an Emerging Church?" over on Adam's Blog

I thought what Marko posted on the YS boards back in June would be helpful on this, too:

hey, mark oestreicher here from YS. i'm giving leadership to our Emergent Convention and the emergentYS line of books -- so let me take a stab at a couple clarifiers:

1. "emergent" is an organization, not a modifier. they are a network, or as they say "a generative friendship", of church leaders focused around discussing change in the church. their website: www.emergentvillage.com

2. emergentYS (the product line) and the Emergent Convention, are things YS is doing to address emerging church issues, and are both in partnerhsip with emergent, the organization.

3. there's been so much good stuff written on "modern" and "pomo" -- i stongly recommend "The Emerging Church" by Dan Kimball, which has excellent descriptions and definitions: www.emergentYS.com

4. for our use around here, as we've been asked a million times to define "the emerging church", we say things like:
-- first of all, since this "movement" (if you can even call it that) is so new, it's extremely amorphous, very challenging to define. and be its very nature, it resists definition!
-- but i would say that an emerging church, or emerging church leader, are any who are at least asking questions about how the church needs to change in light of postmodern cultural shift.

hope that helps!



"Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi made it clear that his decision to disarm was prompted by Operation Iraqi Freedom. 'I will do whatever the Americans want because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid,' Mr. Gadhafi told Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, according to a Berlusconi spokesman who was quoted in yesterday's Telegraph of London."

"Libya's decision to give up its weapons of mass destruction is making it harder for Democrats such as Howard Dean to disparage President Bush's war against Iraq, which prompted Libya's move. Mr. Dean, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, has been uncharacteristically silent about Mr. Bush's bombshell announcement on Friday that Libya has agreed unconditionally to relinquish its chemical-, biological- and nuclear-weapons programs."

- Washington Times, 12/23/03

From Chuck Muth's NEWS and VIEWS e-newsletter.


I finally read some of my Mikey's Funnies this past week and I found this one. This story actually came out of the old YS Listserve. Shelley had mentioned something about this story in one of her e-mails and I contacted her about it. She told me more about her story and I wrote it down as a first hand account. I sent it to her for her to approve of and then I sent it out to others.

It's very cool to think that it was sent out to around 30,000 people this past week as a part of Mikey's Funnies.


A true story from Shelley Batty, written by Len Evans.

Over time Christmas memories begin to fade or blur. The ones that you recall years later can involve heartache, jubilation or both. As the oldest of two brothers and a sisters, I often bore the weight of being the "big sister." We lived in a rural area of eastern Oregon. My Dad had been out of work for a while as Christmas approached. Money was tighter than we could have imagined at such a young age. I was only eight with brothers who were seven and six and a little sister who was five. We didn't know exactly what was happening, but we knew things weren't normal.

Our meals were a little different but the biggest difference was our Christmas tree. It wasn't a sad "Charlie Brown" tree, but the gifts under the tree forced us to realize this would be a unique Christmas. Actually, there weren't any multicolored boxes or any exquisite bows. Instead we had one present, but it was a huge box wrapped with care. We tried for days, but we could not imagine what it was.

Christmas day finally arrived and anticipation consumed us. As always, Dad read the Christmas story from Luke before we could open any present. After the reading he put the big box in the middle of the floor. He directed each us to stand by one side of the present. He told us that the gift was for all of us and we had to share it nicely, then he gave us the motion to open our present.

We ripped the wrapping paper faster than a chainsaw!

We had waited all that time for a refrigerator box?! But we discovered that there was something else inside that refrigerator box. Large appliance boxes with medium-sized moving boxes inside of them. Inside the medium boxes were other boxes and then shoeboxes and even more boxes until we finally arrived at the tiny jewelry boxes! Believe it or not but at the bottom of all those boxes was a book called "Things to Make with Boxes."

We made forts and castles, cars and airplanes, boats and trains, sets and scenery for make-believe plays, and all sorts of cool things. My parents still have a box of snapshots of all the things we made with our boxes.

The four of us are now straddling 40. If asked individually for our best Christmas memory, you will get four variations of the story of a box full of boxes.

Copyright 2002 Len Evans. Permission is granted to send this to others, but not for commercial purposes.

A Strange Way To Save The World
by 4 Him

Sure he must have been surprised
At where this road had taken him
'Cause never in a million lives
Would he had dreamed of Bethlehem
And standing at the manger
He saw with his own eyes
The message from the angel come to life
And Joseph said...

Why me, I'm just a simple man of trade
Why Him, with all the rulers in the world
Why here inside this stable filled with hay
Why her, she's just an ordinary girl
Now I'm not one to second guess what angels have to say
But this is such a strange way to save the world

To think of how it could have been
If Jesus had come as He deserved
There would have been no Bethlehem
No lowly shepherds at His birth
But Joseph knew the reason
Love had to reach so far
And as he held the Savior in his arms
He must have thought...


Now I'm not one to second guess what angels have to say
But this is such a strange way to save the world
...this is such a strange way to save the world...Saving the World


I'm preaching at our Christmas Eve Family Service. It's always fun trying to craft a message when you'll have a lot of children in the service, believers of many years and the annual visitors all at the same worship gathering. :-)

Merry Christmas to all in case I don't blog until the end of this week!


Saddam is part of the Evil Empire

Commissioner ends negotiations

Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today that the deadline for negotiations between the Boston Red Sox and Alex Rodriguez has come to an end and that he will not extend the deadline.

Commissioner Selig said: "Due to the unique and complex nature of the negotiations surrounding the proposed transaction involving Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez and the number of teams involved, the negotiations did not reach a successful conclusion by the deadline set. I have terminated my permission for Boston and Alex Rodriguez to continue pursuing this transaction at this time."

Major League Baseball President and Chief Operating Officer Bob DuPuy added: "It's unfortunate that the Players Association felt it necessary to take a legal position which prevented the player and at least two teams from effectuating an agreement that they felt was beneficial."


The Postmodern Crackup by Chuck Colson in Christianity Today is now online. Read it and then read the responses.

Brian McClaren's Response to Colson

Andrew Jones' Response to Colson

Anna's Response to Colson

I just got a personalized Christmas card from the David Crowder Band!

Not really, it was a mass e-mailing making sure we buy their newest CD for all of our friends. Which would be a great idea, BTW.

Tucked at the bottom of the note was a link to a song that Dave and Jack did at UBC for an advent service.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel


I realized today that I truly have children who have a youth pastor for a father. My oldest daughter is 8 years old and in the third grade. This morning, for fun, she was asking us questions out of the Would You Rather? book. :-) It's a great day!

I was reminded again that I miss Yac, even though we only met a couple of times, when I called Urb to leave him a message and I pressed the wrong extension number and I heard Mike's voice mail message.

I finished watching (listening to, primarily) his funeral service today. What a ride, indeed.


I found this interview with Sally Morgenthaler author of Worship Evangelism.

Best Interview Question: What would your 'emerging church survival kit' contain?
A postmodern-ease translator; a candle-snuffer (industrial -sized); a large bottle of "Get Over Yourself" lotion; a key to the local bar; and a big roll of duct tape for pasting over the mouth. (Emergent churches need to be full of people who listen a whole lot more than they talk.)

I'm going to reinstate the interviews when the new site is fully operational. I need to ask unique questions, like that.

Red Sox Nation grows delirious: Acquisition of Foulke puts a major dent in shopping list

Epstein's ability to persuade Keith Foulke to switch coasts may have been the crowning achievement of his hyperactive 12-month tornado as Boston GM.

It does qualify as the crowning blow for a team that already has a world-best offense and a starting rotation of studs. What to give the team that has everything? How about a closer who had 43 saves last season, 127 the last four?

Oh Baby! "Let's Go Red Sox. . . . . Let's Go Red Sox!"

I talked to Gman last night, for the first time in person. It was good to finally "meet" in real time and talk about something that we're working on and praying about with some other friends. It should be fun to see what happens. When it does, I'll write more about it but If I told you now, I'd have to kill you.

I have a confession to make. I've hidden this for a long time because I thought it might ruin my credibility but I've become convicted that I need to share it for the world to see and let the consequences come. My confession is. . . . I like . fruitcake! Not just any fruitcake because most are disgusting. My grandmother has mailed me a fruitcake from the Collin Street Bakery in Cosicana, TX for over 10 years. They are the best fruitcakes in the world, and even if you don't like them they are good gag gifts to send to loved ones!


Here's some good info to give to the parents of your students or for yourself as a parent of a teenager:

20 Questions To Ask Before You Give Up On Trying To Communicate With Your Teenager from Bobb Biehl's QuickWisdom website.

BoSox Tix go on sale this Saturday! :-)


Chuck Colson Talks about Postmodernism in the latest Christianity Today but it's not online, yet.

Brian McClaren's Response to Colson

Andrew Jones' Response to Colson

I found out about this discussion (not debate, thank you very much) via Emerging Eccesiology


Weird day

It's been a weird day for me. I've been thinking a lot, I tend to do that, but typically it's planning rather than navel gazing. Today has been full of "What is success in youth ministry?" thoughts. That's right. . . . it's time for the annual reports and annual reviews!!

I'm still not sure how I'd label success in youth ministry. I tend to go for Yac's definition of success in youth ministry but those measurments are not what others typically look for. I must be true to what God is doing and who God is forming me to be and to become. What's the cost? I don't know. Maybe nothing but maybe everything.

I did have a highlight tonight as I popped on the YS site to peek at the boards before I went to bed and walaa on the homepage was a link to my big article in Youthworker. It's now online! I needed that lift after my weird day.

Reality Bites And Some Churches Have Fangs

I just read on the YS Boards that Andy's dad went to heaven. Pray for him and his mother.


Found a blog tonight with a cool name Emerging Ecclesiology

From U.S. News & World Report

The New Old-Time Religion: Evangelicals defy easy labels. Here's why--and why their numbers are growing

Has anyone ever used TeamCE? Is it worth the ca$hola? Lemmeno.

They are offering a FREE "21 Day Test Run"


Bethany Hamilton is going to be on Hannity & Colmes tonight.

She's the 13 year old girl who lost her left arm in a shark attack in Hawaii last week. I heard her today on the radio, her testimoney ROCKED and it was better than most of the jocks who thank Jesus after they win a championship!


1st book I'm buying in 2004 will be The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash

Until you read it, read this great article in First Things: Johnny of the Cross

Writing is never complete.

I'm planning on posting some of my old articles on a new website I'm working on with a friend. (Stay tuned for more details.) I am sending him the old articles but I changed the first one to better reflect what it was that I wanted to say.

I got an e-mail from someone who had recently finished his manuscript and he shared that it had been three days since he mailed it and he had already thought of things to make it better.

I wonder if Renee is having similar thoughts, yet? BTW I'm anticipating that her book is going to be great!

Weather man was right this time. We live on the coast and typically we don't get as much snow as the rest of the area but in my front yard we had 12-14 inches! Alot of sledding this weekend. My house has three small hills that my girls love. The hills are big enough that the neighbors come to our house to sled.


You are Fresh Mint.
You are caring and friendly. You have a nurturing
personality and always help out a friend in
need. You are fairly outgoing, and always show
a friendly face. You truly care for other
people, and you show it. However, you may
neglect your own responsibilites or become over
involved in your friends' personal affairs.
Most Compatible With: Orange

Which Tic-Tac Flavor Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thanks Deneice!

One of my volunteers brought me a gift on Wednesday, it was JLA/Avengers #3. :-) Click the link to see my favorite comic book cover of all time. It is Awesome!


Snow is coming or so they say. 6-12 inches by Saturday night, we will see.

We had a great night last night at our high school meeting. We didn't have a ton of students, we had very few actually but God spoke to us and we spoke to each other. Like I said, it was a great night.

We used the Every Picture Tells a Story: 48 evocative photographs for inspiring reaction and reflection by Mark Oestreicher.

It's amazing to me what can happen once you slow down and simply seek God. We spread the pictures around two tables and I gave the instructions. We used the "Clouds" theme and encouraged them to see the pictures and be reminded of someone to pray for. Students shared things after our prayer time that I would not have been able to buy from them.

We closed in prayer listening to Jars of Clay's new song, "Amazing Grace". (The whole CD is GREAT, their best since their first.)


Feb 29 is only 90 days away!

Since I've only experienced eight February 29th's in my entire life, I'm looking forward to this one!

And in case you don't enjoy February 29, 2004 in 90 days you'll have to 1,460 days until you can enjoy February 29, 2008, so make the most of this one!

The Opus interview: America’s favorite penguin squawks out about his comeback project.

Berk Breathed's Favorite Cartoon Strips

Found both links on Rick's blog

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