The Ripple Effect
“Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness.” Isaiah 30:8
We had just started the meeting when our Publisher posed this question to our team of acquiring editors and marketers of books: “If suddenly we were no longer allowed to publish Christian books freely in the United States, will the books we’re publishing today still be impacting lives 100 years from now?”
His question took me back to my first job in Christian publishing in the early eighties, when I was just out of college. I worked for a ministry based in Vienna, which was publishing seminary-level curriculum for pastors in Eastern European countries that were at the time under Communism. Part of my job was traveling to both Poland and Romania to smuggle in floppy discs that contained the curriculum to equip pastors in the underground church—men who were not allowed to attend seminary in their Communist countries.
I will never forget meeting those brave men and their families who served Jesus no matter the cost—often under threats of beatings and imprisonment, even death. That experience forever impacted my walk with Christ and deepened my appreciation for the freedoms we have in America to publish Christian books and openly read and study God’s Word—freedoms we often take for granted.
A highlight of that time was meeting author Linda Dillow, whose husband headed up our ministry in Vienna, Biblical Education by Extension (BEE). Linda had just written Creative Counterpart, her first women’s book on marriage. The manuscript of the book was smuggled into Romania and translated; then just a few copies were printed and secretly passed from one woman to another to read. Can you imagine going through all that just to read a Christian book on marriage?
What I saw in Linda Dillow back then, and even more so today, is a heart surrendered to God’s calling on her life as a Christian author. She never set out to be a bestselling writer with a large platform, but she saw the gifts God had given her as part of His Great Commission (Matthew 28:19–20) on her life to go and make disciples through her writing and speaking. I hope Linda’s story inspires you to continue to pursue your dream to write and speak for His glory and fame!
What a privilege today for us to freely use the gifts God has given us—as writers and speakers—to share the hope of Jesus with the world. In the midst of trying to build bigger platforms and write stand-out proposals, we can lose sight that our love of writing and speaking is part of God’s Great Commission calling on our lives to make disciples.
My prayer is to encourage you to continue to seek equipping and training for your writing and speaking, even if God doesn’t seem to be opening doors to the opportunities you had hoped for. Perhaps you will never get a publishing contract, but you will write a Bible study for your community group that will draw your neighbor to Christ. Perhaps you will never be a keynote speaker at a women’s conference, but the testimony you share in your daughter’s youth group will rescue a middle school girl from despair and give her hope.
You may never know this side of heaven the full ripple effect of your writing and speaking ministry, but God knows. And as He promised His apostles when leaving them with His Great Commission to make disciples, He will also “be with you always, to the very end of the age” as you faithfully serve Him with your gifting.
What about you? Please comment on how God has confirmed His calling on your life as a writer or speaker, even when it gets discouraging or it’s not what you envisioned.
Judy Dunagan is an acquisitions editor for the women’s Bible studies and books at Moody Publishers. A wonder seeker of God and His Word, Judy is passionate about discipleship and making God’s Word and prayer come alive in everyday life. She is the author of The Loudest Roar: Living in the Unshakable Victory of Christ. Judy and her husband, Rick, live in Colorado and are the joyful grandparents of five littles.