Saturday, January 5, 2008

Working on a book

If you've ever read my other blog, Placement Reflections, you may know that I started it as a repository for data, insights, and interaction with the research that I started in 2004 on pastoral placement. I initially did that research for personal reasons (e.g., I wanted to know how to place well!) but quickly became burdened for anyone who is going through a pastoral transition. As I've continued to study this subject, I'm convinced that I have developed some helpful nuts-and-bolts ideas about how to do pastoral transition well, from both the pastor's side and the church's.
At some point, I wondered if there might be a book-length project in this material, or even more than one.
I first posted about this idea in July 2006-- so it is something that has been percolating for a while. Since then, I've gone through different stages of prepping for that-- including copying all of my posts into a very useful writing application (and discovering that I had more than enough material already for a book-length project-- and also realizing that about half of the book had barely been discussed); drafting a book proposal; getting great feedback from a trusted friend and fellow writer that I should divide the material into two books; writing a grant (that was rejected) for additional research for my book; actually losing the final draft of my book proposal; and putting all of it (including the Placement Reflections blog) on indefinite hold as I transitioned into pastoral ministry.
Now, the time is right for me to pick it up again over the coming months. I think there are several reasons why the timing is good:
  • For starters, I've actually done the transition now, and I'm finishing up my examinations for ordination; Lord willing, I'll be ordained by mid-March. Since I first began to discuss doing a book, this has been the biggest hang-up for those who I've interacted with, and while I still believe that the research I've done could stand on its own in this regard, the added (and possibly fundamental) credibility of having actually done it means a lot.
  • Next, approaching the completion (hopefully!) of ordination means that a major item that has been on my plate is finished. I'm settling into ministry well, and the other consulting and side work I'm doing is also reaching a manageable pace. So I have the capacity, I think, to re-focus on this project. Worst case, I'll start up and then slow down again, but we'll see.
  • I'm eager to publish this material-- mainly because I really want to see men (and women) helped with their transition into ministry. Like I said above, I have a burdened heart for this.
  • Finally, my friend Craig is setting his sights on finishing his (latest) book up this year, too-- and I think it would be cool to go through that together. Maybe we'll covenant to pray for one another in that, or at least be good support; Craig has been a great encourager of my writing in general.
Since Placement Reflections has been a great tool for prepping the book up to now, I fully intend to continue using it that way. I'll develop new ideas there on different levels over the coming months. 

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