Connect With Your Audience

Connect With Your Audience

Let’s be honest. Have you ever noticed that a lot of Christian writing is actually fairly boring?

Yet even if everyone else is creating dry, mediocre content, you don’t have to. You can determine that what you say will be interesting as well as informative.

And one way to do that is to really connect with your audience.

So how do you create this connection between your words and the hearts and souls of your audience?

let me share a couple of tips…

Tell Stories

Stories are good ways to connect with your readers, because a story tends to help you form that emotional connection. It helps the reader identify with you. And a story is much more memorable than simply telling a reader what to do.

You can write this story about you or someone else. Either way, however, the story will be more impactful if the main character is very similar to your readers.

So if your readers are stay at home moms, then you’ll connect to them better if your story is about a stay at home mom who overcame some of the same problems she faces. A story which inspired you.

A story can also help to demonstrate to your readers that you really understand them and their problems. And when a reader feels like the author understands him, you can bet he’ll keep reading.

Create “Reader Oriented” Writing

Your readers have perhaps read plenty of articles, reports and ebooks on the same topic as the one you’re writing about. However, a lot of this content is “author oriented.” That means that it seems to be more about the author rather than the readers

Example: You might read a book about having a good marriage in which the author seems to boast repeatedly about his credentials or delve into personal stories that actually aren’t of interest or relevant to the reader.

One way to quickly check if your writing is author-oriented is to see how many times you’ve used words like “I” or “me” versus how often you use words like “you” and “yours.” You want to use more “you” writing, since this is reader-oriented writing.

Let me give you an example:

  • Author-oriented writing: “I’m going to tell you about how I lost weight.”
  • Reader-oriented writing: “You’re going to discover a weight-loss trick that’s worked for me – and it will work for you, too.”

Engage the Audience

If you’re writing a “how to” article, then it’s easy to fall into the familiar pattern of writing a straightforward article: “This is step 1… this is step 2…” Basically, it’s the same kind of article everyone else publishes.

Instead, engage your audience by freshening up your writing. This includes:

Adding in your own tips. In particular, include unique tips and tricks not found anywhere

Using stories to illustrate points. Be sure to engage all five of your reader’s senses to really bring him into your story.

Inserting examples to make things more clear. Just look at the way I gave an example of reader versus author-oriented writing above.

Including “spiced up” writing. For example, instead of merely describing someone as nervous, you could say “He was so jittery he could not stay in his chair.”

You’ve painted a picture in their minds which is always more impactful.

In sum…

You’re writing with a purpose, whether it’s to teach your readers something or just to develop a good relationship with them. However, these goals are possible only if your writing engages and connects with your audience.

Use these tips and watch your connections flourish!


Writing Tips: Research

Writing Tips: Research

You have these ideas circulating in your head, and you can hardly wait to start writing them down. You know your subject and you know it well. Maybe your area of expertise is Biblical understanding of marriage, or prayer, or finances, or ministry to women in crisis. If you’re already an expert in your niche, then you can probably sit down and write an article, a report,  or an e-book without having to consult any sources.

Yet if you’re like most people, then you need to do some research before you start writing.  Even if you are an expert, researching other resources can help you to expand the benefit of your writing. And if you want to end with an accurate, useful article, then you’d better be sure you do your research the right way.

So here are some tips…

Create Multiple Searches

You’ll get a wider variety of sources and information if you complete several Google searches. Let’s suppose you’re looking up information about prayer. You’d want to do several searches, such as:

  • Praying for family
  • Praying for children
  • Praying for husband or wife
  • Praying for revival
  • Biblical prayer
  • Christian prayer
  • How to pray

These are just a few ideas. You will think of your own, but you will see that as you search, you will come up with quite a few sources of information.

Use Credible Sources

Anyone can put just about anything online. And that’s why it’s so important for you to get your information from credible sources only. This includes:

  •  Well-known experts. For example, you can trust people like Cindy Jacobs, Dutch Sheets, or Germaine Copeland in the prayer niche.
  • Established authority sites. These are sites like Elijah List or John Bevere’s Messenger which are known for providing high-quality information.
  • News sites. Stick to major news sites, like Charisma News or Breaking Christian News.
  • Academic and research sites. These include official university websites as well as research papers in peer-reviewed journals. Oral Roberts University or Lee University are just a couple of universities which would have valuable information.

Verify With Multiple Sources

Even if you are going through credible sources for your research, be sure to use multiple sources.

In other words, verify all facts with at least two or three credible sources. In the mouths of two or three witnesses let everything be established. (Deut. 19:15)

Make Notes

As you’re doing your research, take notes about important points. If you think of your own examples, stories or tips, write these down too.

That’s because you’re going to want to close all your sources before you start writing to avoid accidentally plagiarizing anyone else’s material. Thus you’ll refer to your notes rather than referring directly to a source.

Tip: In order to create truly original content, it’s best if you find your own fresh angle for the topic. For example, many writing books and articles refer to the importance of telling stories to illustrate your points and grab attention.

Credit Your Sources

If you’re using multiple sources to do your research on something which is written about often, like prayer, then generally you’ll find that the information is the same across these sources.

Thus you just need to write the information in your own words and add in your own unique tips, examples, and stories.

However, if you’re gathering research on something specific, and quoting someone exactly, then you need to cite your source.

In this case, you’d track down the original scholarly journal and cite this journal at the end of your article, report, or e-book.

In summary…

You need to make sure your information is accurate by researching a variety of credible sources. However, you also need to make sure that any content piece you create is completely original.

So while you can certainly use a content piece for inspiration and research, you cannot copy or merely “rewrite” other people’s work. Instead, you need to write all your content in your own words, preferably adding in your own experiences whenever possible.

The result is fresh information, drawing upon the experience of others, but filtered through your own understanding. That’s how you can inform and inspire your audience.

As you continue with your research, you will find many ideas which you might like to use in your own articles. By drawing upon the experience of others – as well as your own – you bring new inspiration to your audience.

You and your audience will be inspired as you do.

What is Awakening?

What is Awakening?

What exactly  is awakening? Have you thought about that question? As Christians, we want it – and we are all looking for it to happen. Yet what does awakening mean? And what does it look like?

Most serious Christians bemoan the condition of our world as it is. We see ideas and actions removing boundaries we once thought were permanent, and we see an emphasis on many religions other than Christianity. How did we get here and how do we turn it around?

Most Bible scholars who are praying and listening for God’s direction see a Great Awakening coming to America and to the world. So what will it be like?

First of all, this awakening will involve many who are Christians waking up to the reality of who Jesus is and how important He really is in their lives. Their love, which might have grown cold, will return, along with their desire for His will to be done. Their faith will rise up as they turn their hearts back to God.

The second part of this awakening will be for many new believers to come on the scene. Many who have known about Jesus all of their lives, but who haven’t really known Him personally, will wake up to the fact that He is real and He wants to be their Savior also. And their lives will change dramatically, turning to the One True God for their answers.

Then society will begin to change. There are those who will never receive Jesus, of course, and those people will be determined to continue down the road of destruction. Yet there will be a change, because the righteous will have more of a sway on laws and customs in society. They won’t tolerate the greed, the corruption, and the evil which is so accepted today. God’s love and wisdom will have more of a presence.

So how does this happen? It happens one person – one soul – at a time.

Current expectations always involve huge crowds and massive actions, but that’s not the only way it happens. Even if a huge crowd is there hearing a powerful message, salvation or rededication comes one person at a time. Each individual heart has to make the choice to accept Jesus on its own. One person – and then another – and then another.

One thing we have to overcome is what I call a “spectator mentality.” We sit in the stands and watch our teams play their games. We sit in churches watching and listening while the preachers preach and the singers sing. We sit in front of our TV’s and watch celebrities perform. Oh, it’s even worse than that. Now we watch other people live their lives in the Reality TV craze.

We have become watchers and not doers.

Yet awakening will change that. As people turn to Jesus, they will have a zeal that will bubble over into every aspect of their lives. People at work, at school, and at home will see the changes – the love, the joy, the faith – and they will want to know more. Then also the newly revived ones will be eager to share their newfound zeal. They will be witnessing as they go – wherever they go.

That’s what real awakening will look like. In the 60’s and 70’s, there was an incredible revival of Holy Spirit and the Word. During that time, many non-denominational churches were founded and organizations like Full Gospel Businessmen and Women’s Aglow were started. There was revival all around.

Significantly, the many people who were impacted by that revival came to the Lord through the influence of friends and family. There were large meetings, of course, as there are always when God is front and center. But the majority of people came to Jesus because of the testimonies and lifestyle changes of their friends.

That’s why you and I are so important. As the coming awakening ramps up, our stories will be significant- and our willingness to share with others will be crucial. Some will make their decisions in large meetings, for sure, but they will need people along side of them to answer questions, to pray with them, and to encourage them in their walk.

So as we look forward to this next great revival, let’s get off the bench and get into the game. All of us are needed. That’s how it has happened in past awakenings, and that’s how it will happen this time.

All hands on deck. A thrust of God’s people fulfilling His call – praying, witnessing, and encouraging those around them. A thrust of God’s people fulfilling His vision for His world.

You Are On a Mission

You Are On a Mission

I had an interesting conversation with God yesterday.

He asked me, “Would you be willing to board an airplane and fly for more than 24 hours in order to take my message to a far continent?”

“Yes, of course, Lord.” I said.

“Would you be willing to climb into a rusty Jeep and travel up a dusty, rocky road in order to find those who don’t know about Me?”

“Would you be willing to enter a primitive village where no one speaks your language?”

“Even if you know that they don’t have running water and don’t eat your type of food?”

My answers again and again were, “Yes, Lord, of course I would. You know that I would go anywhere and do anything for You.”

Then He threw the curve ball.

“Would you drive for 20 miles on a bumper to bumper interstate to take My message to people who don’t know about Me?”

“Would you dress up in an executive suit and ride an elevator to the 18th floor in order to share My message of hope?”

“Would you be willing to travel to the next town in order to deliver My Word to a plant?”

“Or a school?” “Or a hospital – where you work?”

Where you work! Ah- there’s the key.

It was clear to me what the Lord was speaking. Everywhere we go is a mission field. So often we might glamorize work that is being done in the far reaches of the world while considering the work close at hand to be boring and nothing but a chore.

But when we live our lives for Jesus, our focus can change. Instead of seeing our jobs as boring or mundane, and seeing our co-workers as obnoxious, we can see as He sees. We can begin to see our Father’s compassion for the people we are around everyday. They may seem indifferent – or even hostile – yet God loves them, and they need Him  even when they don’t know it.

So what do we do? We pray and stay tuned into what God is telling us. There may be special words He wants us to speak. There may be certain gifts He wants to flow through us. Maybe He will give us a Word of knowledge about their specific needs.

Are we to pray for their healing? Is their marriage in trouble? Are their children having problems? Are they single and lonely?

Every human being – whether living in a mud hut or a mansion – can be going through a season of despair. And the mansion-dwellers will usually try to hide their true condition. But the Lord knows – and those who are in tune with Him can take them what they need.

And  don’t forget the “living witness” aspect of our lives. As people observe our joy, our hope, and our faith, they will be drawn to our answers.

So today as you start out, see your life as what it truly is: an adventure with God. There are places to go and things to do. There are also lessons to be learned – and lessons to share. Words to speak – and prayers to pray.

Whether  it’s in a faraway village or the governor’s mansion, our life can be an exciting one when we live it for and with our God.

Just remember: you are always on a mission.

Luke 4:18, 19    The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, and to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.