From time to time, younger women who aspire to share their faith through writing or speaking ask for any tips I might share out of my experience.
As I reflect on my forty-some years of writing and speaking, here are some thoughts from a "big sister/older woman" that I hope you'll consider as you think about the longer-term trajectory of your life and ministry.
I long to see more writers and speakers whose ministry is biblically rich, lucid, and sound.
I love watching God raise up wonderfully gifted communicators to share His heart. As you pursue maximum fruitfulness through writing and speaking, I would suggest that the single greatest thing you can do to ensure long-term effectiveness is systematic, serious study of the Scripture, becoming increasingly biblically grounded in His Word.
There are a lot of gifted communicators in the Christian world today. Some of them have large audiences. But I long to see more writers and speakers whose ministry is biblically rich, lucid, and sound.
There is a lot of beautiful, compelling writing and speaking (much of it coming from women) that, while dealing with important spiritual themes, I believe could make an even more significant difference in the lives of readers and listeners if it had greater biblical depth and theological richness. (I'm not necessarily talking about quoting Bible verses all the time or saying every writer/speaker needs to be a "Bible teacher," but I am talking about writing/speaking from a Word-infused, biblically sound foundation.)
There are no shortcuts to develop that kind of depth. It requires an intentional, ongoing, time-consuming, lifetime devotion to the study of God's Word.
I am convinced that the more effort younger writers/speakers devote to that kind of study, the more they will have to say in the long term that will be worth listening to. Because ultimately, it is not beautiful communication that transforms people's lives, but the Word of God expressed accurately and by the power of the Spirit (and hopefully packaged in a winsome, gracious way).
I'll go so far as to say that if a woman has to choose (due to time constraints and wanting to maintain biblical priorities) in her twenties and thirties, between:
- time spent actually writing/speaking,
- learning how to write or speak (developing her craft), and
- studying the Word,
I would encourage her to do whatever it takes to become a woman of the Word, even if that means she can't spend as much time in that season producing content to share with others. If she is willing to pay that price in her younger years, then down the road, as she becomes an "older woman," her life will be so full and rich that quality substance and ministry will overflow in a variety of applications.
I'm not suggesting that younger women shouldn't write or speak . . . just that as they establish and live out their priorities, they purpose not to shortcut the biblical training piece, along with the development of a life that models the truth they know.
Do whatever it takes to become a woman of the Word.
At the end of the day, I don't want women just to love my books or to be deeply touched by my messages (though that is a great encouragement). What I most want is for them to become women of the Word, to be challenged to think (and live) biblically, to love truth, to be able to discern between truth and error (especially when subtle error is cloaked as truth and appears to be even more lovely than truth). Anything less than that is less than what my readers and listeners need and truly long for. I know you want the same as you communicate.
I want to encourage you that any time invested in the study of God's Word is time well invested. It will only deepen your ministry in people's lives over the long term as you are able to communicate "what accords with sound doctrine" (Titus 2:1)—i.e., a biblically robust view of God, man, sin, the gospel, the Church, relationships, beauty, nature, eternity, etc. Nothing could be more beautiful than that!
From an older sister who wants to see you have the greatest possible impact for His kingdom through the whole course of your life,