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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Evangelizing Through Fiction


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"I thought Christian Fiction just provided some clean fun and entertainment.
Can you really evangelize with novels?"

Yes, you most certainly can.  And should. Whether you are an author or a fan, delivering a good Christian story into the hands of an unbeliever can bring them one step closer to the Lord.

BUILDING A BRIDGE
It's often easier to get through someone's armor with fiction. Many people feel that nobody understands what they are going through; they don't see how God can possibly be in the midst of their situation. Many are too ashamed to even admit the feelings and questions they struggle with deep inside.  They may not seek out spiritual counsel, but will be willing to read a good Christian story. A book is a benign, non-threatening way to get someone to hear to the Truth. 

PREPARING THE SOIL
My favorite thing to hear from a reader is that they were moved to tears while reading my book.  I know that if I can reach their heart with emotion, it may be soft enough for the Lord to plant a seed.  For that to happen, readers must be able to identify or empathize with the characters.  By creating characters who experience the same life issues that our readers struggle with, and showing how the Lord carries them through and teaches them, we are evangelizing.  It doesn't matter if the story is a fantasy, historical, or a contemporary piece.  The human heart has always been in a state of separation from God and the pain of sin is a universal theme.  If a reader forms an emotional connection to a character, she will follow their journey.  If she can see herself reflected in that character's sin and regret, fears and doubts, she will also catch a glimpse of herself being loved by the Almighty.  When a character encounters Christ, the reader has a brush with Him as well.

SHARING YOUR LIFE
The Bible instructs us to comfort one another with the comfort with which we ourselves have been comforted.  We tap into our own experiences when crafting characters and plots, infusing every story with a bit of ourselves.  We may not have gone through what our characters have, but the emotions themselves usually come from deep within- from past hurts and regrets or triumphs and joys.  The hard knocks we've taken and learned from, His tender mercies we've received, are to be shared.  And Christian fiction provides a perfect vehicle to express and communicate our own spiritual lessons and experiences to the most people. 

WHATEVER YOU DO
As Christians, we've made Jesus the King over our lives.  We strive to bring honor to Him in everything we do, and that includes using our writing talents for His glory.  Now the Lord did say that He came to give us life, and that more abundantly, so we are free to have fun and to be entertained by our books.  But the desire to leave a legacy, to reach the lost, and to comfort each other in Christ will leave an imprint on the page.  When God has a hold on you, the fragrance of Christ will permeate every bit of your life, including your writing, and He will use it for His good purpose.  And His greatest purpose, His utmost desire, is that all may come to know Him. There is no doubt in my mind that Christian fiction can be used to accomplish just that.

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8 comments:

Joanne Sher said...

You make some excellent points here, Michelle. I'll be referring back to this post often. Thanks so much!

Jessica R. Patch said...

That sums it up. In everything I write I do it for the glory of God, sharing bits of my testimony perhaps at times, and working to bring overflowing hope into the lives of people. Not everyone will enter the doors of a church, but they might pick up a book! :)

Michelle Massaro said...

Thank you, Joanne! I appreciate the feedback. =)

Jessica, that's exactly right. (or write.)

I love the phrase "give God your pen." We're called to give Him everything else, why would we hold back our pens/keyboards? =)

Jill said...

You have a gentle heart, something I admire and envy. I pray that God blesses you in your writing career.

Michelle Massaro said...

Thank you, Jill. But I can't let you be deceived--it's all smoke and mirrors, lol. I'm definitely a work in progress and not nearly as gentle-hearted as I should be. But hopefully more so now than a year ago, or the year before that, etc.

I pray God blesses you and your writing as well!

Brandi said...

Great post, Michelle. I can't help but think this is a prime example of how God uses all things for good. When we put our experiences in a story for others to read, we are enabling them to see how God speaks to and cares for us.

thefearlist said...

Great thoughts, Michelle! This was very well-written.

I agree that sharing the Good News through story can be extremely powerful! After all, Jesus did use stories (parables) most often in His ministry.

-Lizzie

Elaine Cooper said...

So true, Michelle. While some would never even open a Bible, a non-threatening Christian novel can find its way into someone's heart and soul and reveal the very truths spoken in God's word. That's why it is an awesome responsibility for our words to be honoring to Him. Great post!