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If you’re going to steal, steal from Jesus.

if-youre-going-to-steal-steal-from-Jesus-seebethanywrite-bethany-turner

“Unfortunately, our church works with people in groups and one-on-one on different non-fiction spiritual growth topics.”

That statement was in an email I received a few days ago, and it got me a bit fired up. Truthfully, lots of things have me fired up right now. Good fired up. Excited fired up. Passionate fired up. Not yell-at-people-on-Facebook fired up. I hope and pray I am never that sort of fired up.

Closed circuit message to Christ-followers who get that sort of fired up: Are you doing more harm or good for the cause of Christ? I’m not attacking and I’m not looking for an answer, but please pass your comments through that filter before you post anything, and then please strive to do good.

Okay…so here’s what I’m most fired up about at the moment. As a writer of Christian fiction, but more accurately as a Christian writer of fiction, I believe I have been called to use my writing to fulfill God’s purpose for my life. What is that purpose, you may ask? Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, Evangelism. Just like everyone else.

So then the question has to be, “Can you really strive to fulfill God’s purpose for your life with a Christian romantic comedy?”Tweet that!

Yes. Absolutely! Just like you can in your job, and through your hobbies.

I think that is sometimes difficult for people to understand, and I’m not for a moment pretending that I have it all figured out. I don’t. In fact, this is all relatively new to me. But lately God has been stirring up a passion in me, about this very topic. He’s helped me to hear things I needed to hear, and believe things I need to believe. And now I’m fired up.

My upcoming novel, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, possesses a strong, unwavering message of salvation. There, surrounded by references to The Sound of Music and Colin Firth, Sarah Hollenbeck discovers that her life of sin and shortcomings is not without hope, because Jesus is her Hope. A reader who has perhaps never heard about that Hope will be told the same thing, through Sarah’s journey.

That’s Evangelism.

Additionally, there are a lot of issues in the book – in Sarah’s fictional life – which may be especially meaningful to the Christ-follower. With the trusted people in her life by her side, Sarah attempts to navigate the waters of Christianity.

Guess what, people? Being a devoted follower of Christ isn’t easy. It has never been easy, no matter how absolute our faith may be. Tweet that!

Anyone can start the race. Finishing? Yeah. That’s hard. And as the Apostle Paul told us, we need to train hard, because we’re not just supposed to run the race. We’re supposed to run as if we’re trying to win. (1 Corinthians 9:24-25)

So Sarah has to train hard. She has conversations that we should all be having – even if hers are a little more absurd than many of ours, and feature a soundtrack by ABBA. Tweet that!

That’s Discipleship.

“Unfortunately, our church works with people in groups and one-on-one on different non-fiction spiritual growth topics.”

That email was from a minister at a very large church, in response to an email I sent, explaining how I believe certain Christian fiction books can be used as a tool in churches and small groups. Now, don’t get me wrong – this minister wrote a very kind, supportive email. There was no attack, and I was not offended in the least. But that statement? Well, that got me fired up.

Here’s what I don’t understand: What are non-fiction spiritual growth topics, and how to they differ from…what? Fiction spiritual growth topics? Do you mean non-fiction spiritual growth topics like standing up for your faith when under attack? Do you mean like resisting temptation? Do you mean like learning how to grow closer to the Lord through prayer and Bible study? Do you mean like learning to share your faith with others? Because those are all spiritual growth topics which are addressed in The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, and countless other Christian fiction novels. And even when wrapped in a fictional package, they are undoubtedly non-fiction spiritual growth topics.

Christian fiction can be a powerful, effective tool. Why shouldn’t we use it? Tweet that!

Why shouldn’t we build sermons and small group curriculum around novels? Why shouldn’t we all get fired up, and start thinking new thoughts and dreaming new dreams?

Before you get mad at me because you think I’m wrong, or start applauding because you think I’ve touched on a new approach, let’s give credit where it’s due. This wasn’t my idea. Credit doesn’t belong to Karen Kingsbury or Francine Rivers or any of the other giants of Christian fiction, no matter how much credit they do deserve for following the original example.

This was Jesus’s idea, y’all! And if you’re going to steal ideas, you should definitely steal them from Jesus. Tweet that!

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed…” (Mark 4:3-4)
“There was a man who had two sons.” (Luke 15:11)
“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.” (Matthew 22:2)
“In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.” (Luke 18:2)

I truly believe that, when used effectively, Christian fiction can be the parable of today. What a great opportunity for writers! It means that we have the opportunity to fulfill our purpose through what we write. But we have to understand that it’s also a huge responsibility. We have to realize that we may have the opportunity to reach someone who isn’t yet receptive to reading the Bible, but who may be open to reading a love story, recommended to them by a friend.

God is stirring sons and daughters across the land to tell new stories and sing new songs about Him. Let’s not be bound by tradition or perception. There has never been a day like today, and tomorrow promises to be just as unprecedented. So let’s tell new stories, sing new songs, think new thoughts, dream new dreams. And let’s use it all for Him.

6 Comments on If you’re going to steal, steal from Jesus.

  1. Good topic. I’m interested in the discussion. I’m a Christian. I look forward to reading your book to see how you presented the Gospel. In my own book series, I am conscious of presenting a positive lifestyle and my MC amazed me and decided to get more involved in church. You are an excellent writer so thanks for your post and books

    • Thanks for your kind words, and tireless support, Jena! Isn’t that so fun when our characters surprise us? Yeah…I think that in Christian fiction and general market…we can use it all for the Lord. Thanks again. You are so kind and sweet to me!

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