Thought Leader

photo-1498569026542-39c64353e401Earlier this year, I was teasing myself with this idea of a writing project, my first book. I looked into a few podcasts, found the 9 writing books in my garage, did some online research and my brain just would not shut off! I remember praying for God to reveal & clarify His next step for me in this big thing called “my calling” and ask Him what assignments He would have for me in 2018. While on vacation I was listening to a podcast by Lisa Allen from Compel, titled “Called, Confident and On A Mission to Clarify My Why.” In this training session she said, “Writers are the thought leaders of tomorrow.” That phrase hit me like a ton of bricks, I actually started tearing up right there, in the middle of my spa treatment. (Yea, I tend to listen to podcasts during spa treatments, dentist appointments… doesn’t everybody?) I needed to hear these words. I knew I needed to get to work, and just like that my life changed. Actually, I changed my life, technically my schedule, to fit this new assignment in.I wouldn’t consider myself to be a writer. In fact, I wouldn’t say I am like the other writers I have met or known. When I started thinking about this phrase a little more I asked myself the question, “What is a Thought Leader?”  Thought Leadership is actually more of a concept & strategic role in marketing. WP Engine describes it as “content that provides solutions to your audience’s problem without mentioning your company or products at all.” If you know me, are you laughing now? Because I do that, like, every day. David Meerman Scott (internationally known strategist for marketing and PR) gives us another definition saying, “Instead of just directly selling something, a great site, blog or video series tells the world that you are smart, that you understand the market very well, and that you might be a person or an organization that would be valuable to do business with.” I started thinking about it, and Yes! I want to strategically share Jesus with others and help Christians live out their Faith.Okay, that went deep fast, let me explain it in a timeline for you. I was born a pastors kid, I married a pastors kid, I am pastor’s wife, raising two pastors kids and am a pastor myself. I have had some incredible people invest in me, been to bible college, started a church, grown up in the church, have been hurt by the church, and am still so passionate about this thing called “The Church.” (The people, not buildings.) I love the church, the local church and the body of Christ world-wide. As a little girl I would spend the night at my best friends house and we would write books just for fun. I would create the content and she would illustrate. Every book was about God, and about loving God. I’ve written songs, countless poems and in high school I had a poem titled “It Is Time” published and created into a song that every choir in the State of Idaho sang for Christmas that year. It was a song about Jesus.Growing up, teachers frequently mentioned this skill or gift and I just thought it was a complement. I never considered it to be anything more. One thing I did recognize, was that I am better at expressing myself in writing than any other form of communication. It is just how God designed me to process and respond to messages and experiences. In the past I have created curriculums, leadership trainings for team ministry, and programs for special events. I have loved taking risks getting the church and community to come together for a cause, especially the cause of Christ.In my life, I often think about ways to get people involved in the church, reading their bible and loving God. I frequently find myself writing notes, emails, texts or mailing a letter to a friend or teammate to encourage and inspire them. Calling myself a writer feels like a lot, but a thought leader on assignment is something I can handle. I’m not saying I know everything about church or the ministry, but I do know a lot, have a heart for those who lead, those who are leading leaders and those who believe the bible and want to live it well. This year I am on assignment to write and share what I know, hoping to inspire and help readers understand these three things: God, the church and their bible. Does that make sense? In just a few weeks, all the photos in my future posts will be mine! Until then, this photo by Helena Hertz.