How to Reach the One


I like where this conversation is headed because it’s something I struggle with. It seems there are differing thoughts and opinions on whether one is a Christian author or an author who happens to be a Christian, and on whether a “Christian author who happens to be a Christian” has an obligation to use the opportunity they’ve been given to share God’s message with the readers.

I’m not out to judge anyone, I believe their convictions are between them and God but as for me I see it this way. I’ve been given a gift and a great opportunity to use that gift. There are A LOT of writers out there and the chances of any of them getting published are slim, slim, slim, so I’m fully aware of the gift I’ve been given. I don’t want to stand before God and have Him ask me, “What did you do with the gift I gave you?” and say, “Well, I wrote a really neat story that a lot of people liked.” This writing thing, each story I craft, is my one shot to say what God has put on my heart. I don’t want to blow it. I want to use it to reach people with God’s message of hope and love and redemption and salvation. I see this writing gig as a very high calling, and I want to make the most of it.

Now, that being said . . . there’s a lot of that being said out there. And a lot of Christians being reached through Christian fiction. But what about the lost? Here’s my question: How does a Christian writer reach a secular readership with a message that isn’t watered down or camouflaged or hidden so deep no one even knows it’s there? How do we reach that one lost sheep with a message he/she can understand? Is it up to the writer? Or is it up to the Christian reader to pass the book along to his/her friends, family, co-workers?

I can honestly say I’ve had many fans of secular fiction read Scream and comment on how much they enjoyed it and the message in it . . . but it was given to them by a friend or acquaintence of some kind, whether me or someone else. Is that the key? That Christian readers have to be more proactive about using fiction as a tool to introduce others to Christ?

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this, afterall, this is where the rubber meets the road, where the Great Commission is front and center.

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About mikedellosso

Mike Dellosso is an author of wide-eyed suspense. He writes stories that not only entertain but enlighten.

Posted on October 13, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. The key here is the relationship. To toss a Christian novel (or a tract) at someone you don't know or barely know is almost the equivalent of a mugging. But when there's a relationship and understanding, things are on a different level. Someone I knew well at work asked me for recommendations on good novels. We talked about what she liked to read, and I was able to suggest a few authors and even loaned her a copy of a book I had. It was a "Christian novel" but it was an incredibly well-told story. She loved it, and asked for more. But it was important that we already had a relationship of knowledge and trust.

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  2. Mike,You have raised an excellent question. I agree with you that when we stand before God we don't want him to think we wasted our gift. Evangelism is a gift, and all writers may not have that gift. However, a christian writer must write like a christian right? Our writing can reflect our beliefs, and should automatically, without us actually shoving the gospel down people's clenched throats. One of my favourite authors for doing this well is Jan Karon. The gospel messages threaded through her series are a natural part of the story. The other point I would like to make is to just pray as we write, that God would glorify himself in it, and leave the rest up to HIM. Do I make any sense? Feels like I am rambling today….

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  3. Rob Bell said, "Christian is a great noun and a poor adjective."Though I understand we tap into a specific market when we label our fiction as "Christian", I wish we didn't have to. It immediately seems to exclude those we want to reach most. Yet we can't underestimate the spiritual stirring God has placed in the hearts of people all around us. Simple curiosity may drive people to your writing. I guess we concentrate on doing what God has asked us to do and let Him handle getting it in the right hands. He's big enough. If He published your work, He can certainly cover proper distribution. Our job is to be faithful to the call. He takes care of the rest.

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  4. Interesting question, Mike. I want to uplift those who are in the body of Christ, but oh my, how I want to plant seeds in those who are lost.

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  5. Susan J. Reinhardt

    Hi Mike -Great discussion! I agree with your viewpoint. I consider myself a Christian writer. Everything I put on a page is birthed from who I am and a Christian worldview. My entire life belongs to the Lord, including my writing.I think Christian Fiction is a great way to get the message across. In fact, I recently sent a non-Christian friend a novel. Also, Jan Karon's Mitford Series has impacted some non-Christian relatives.Blessings,Susan 🙂

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  6. I think when the book is well written, Christians should pass it on to a non-Christian friend, especially if they know the friend likes that type of secular book. If they like John Grisham, get them to try Randy Singer, Robert Whitlow. If they like suspense authors, get them to try, oh – how about Mike Dellosso? :-)You never know how many lost people in the church you could be reaching also though – people who go through the motions, attend church, and have either strayed or never become a Christian – those people read Christian fiction.I myself have a major battle, and have given up many times in my life. Quit praying, quit reading my Bible – but I love Christian fiction, and many times I would be convicted or encouraged by something I read in a Christtian fiction book that would encourage me to seek God and try again. That is why I am so against Christian fiction being watered down and God being taken out of the story – people can be reached through a story.

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  7. I agree with the other comments. A couple thoughts: If the novel hits a certain degree of excellence or hits a topic general readers are interested in, I think it will get noticed beyond the CBA, whether it's billed as "Christian" or not. Look at the Left Behind series. It made the NYT bestseller list, and it was overtly Christian as well. I believe each novel in the series gave the gospel message in some manner. How did this happen? Folks were so interested in the end times that they snatched up the novels in spite of the overt message. That said, I think as Christian authors, we should strive to make our novels as excellent as our God is. In fact, our novels should be even more excellent that their secular counterparts. That means we need to work hard. Then I think we need to leave the book in God's hands, and He will find the audience for it. I'm like some others here: I consider myself a Christian author who writes primarily for Christians. I honestly have no desire to "cross over," but I'd be thrilled if unbelievers picked up my books. I do agree that that's where Christian readers enter the picture and will hopefully recommend our books to their friends. But if a suspense novel is THAT GOOD, I firmly believe that a lot of folks will overlook the Christian fiction label and enjoy it anyhow. Then God can plant His seeds, but only if we've planted enough spiritual depth into the story for God to use. So in my opinion, we should all be striving to write THAT GOOD so we'll be noticed.

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