Christianity is sometime called the
“Religion of the Book”. The prophets of the Old Testament received the Word of God and communicate it to the world of their time. The prophets were the channels of communication of the message of God; their oracles were written down in books and these had been transmitted through the centuries down to this day. The writers of the New Testament wrote about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, and now we know the message of God’s salvation. Christian writing is a communication in which God makes himself known to humanity. God uses the writer as His mouthpiece. Christian literature is often referred to as the “printed missionary”. Literature is the best means of evangelism. Books, pamphlets, newspapers, magazines and local newsletters can be more effective than personal evangelism.
Advantages of Christian Literature:
* It can reach out to many and speak to each one of them personally and directly.
It does not require much manpower and is relatively inexpensive.
* The risk involved is comparatively trivial.
* It can go almost anywhere. By post it can go to many places where a missionary could never enter.
* Unlike verbal communication it does not have a foreign accent.
* It repeats the message over and over again.
* It presents the message at the readers’ convenience and time.
* The written message can be given to more people than the average church attendants on the Sunday morning.
* The reader can study any particular point of the message that captures his attention.
* A written message is always there. It does not rest or sleep. It does not take coffee or lunch breaks or takes vacations.
* In the form of a book, it can give the hungry heart hours and even days of continual spiritual feeding.
For all programmes of Christian religious education of the Church, resourceful writing is an absolute necessity because both the teacher and the student need study materials
or lessons. We need writers for the production of lesson materials for various grades of Sunday Schools, Vacation Bible Schools and Adult Bible Study classes. In addition to publication of the Bible and Hymnbooks, devotional writings for general use are essential. The Church must recognise the significance of the writing ministry and encourage the writers and would be writers.
Christians are called upon to write for the same purpose and intent as the John’s literature: “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31) and also “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete” (1 John 1:1-4). The life and mission of the Church is a living witness of commitment to writing. The Church, and all Christians for that matter, must perform the triple mission of preaching, teaching and writing.
Some Helpful Tips:
There is nothing frightening about writing. Everyone can learn to express ideas clearly. Imagine a baby trying to take its first steps. Precariously clumsy, isn’t it. But within a few years this once clumsy baby will be running about, even skipping on one leg. The act of standing or walking seems quite a natural and ordinary thing to us. We have learnt and got use to such things that terms like ‘Gravity’ or ‘The Centre of Gravity’ or ‘Equilibrium’ or the scientific principles involved in the process of standing or walking never crosses our minds. Similarly, once you get the hang of it, writing becomes easy and words flow with a natural smoothness. Writing involves thinking. We can think and speak, so we can think and write too.
Why are there huge piles of unsold, unread, unwanted and dead books in the back rooms of
publishing houses? The answer is simple… the writers never thought about the readers. The writer should know the needs and interests as well as their problems and beliefs of the readers. In this way the writer can learn what they want to read, and how they want it written. The final step is writing materials that are not only readable but also relevant.
A Writer showing off his or her vocabulary is another setback which we often come across. Instead of communicating the message, these writers are out to impress the readers with how much they know and consequently the written material lost its charm and appeal. Materials which have hints of self advertisement are irritating and readers possibly will simply skim through them without getting the intended message.
Write in simple and understandable language for reading difficult material is hard work and usually unrewarding. Writing is about communicating. It is pointless if the writer delivered the message but did not communicate.
With reference from the paper:
Christian Writership in North East India, by Dr. Renthy Keitzar,
ETC Journal, June 1989 – May 1990