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Monday, June 6, 2011

Guest post by Matt Koceich: Agenda

Some years ago, I came across the phrase “agenda-driven fiction” and have built the following thoughts in reference to those three words. In particular, I want to share my opinion as it relates to writers of Christian fiction. Perhaps this can be a new manifesto of sorts. A creed that we can remember before we map out our next writing endeavor.
            Publishers might warn you that they steer clear of fiction that pushes religion on readers. I am here to encourage you to write the story the Lord has put on your heart. I spent the better part of six years trying to find a home for my first novel, The Sending. Now that it has been printed by the amazing Marcher Lord Press, I feel qualified to speak on the topic of spreading the Good News through a creative story.
            I’ll make three brief points and pray that something here resonates in your writer’s heart and will encourage you NOT to delete the parts of your story that might come across as ‘pushing’ your beliefs on the reader.
Jesus had an agenda
When Jesus began his ministry, he didn’t sugar coat his words. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” I’m grateful that He didn’t leave room for interpretation. I’m glad He wasn’t worried how it would sound. The Lord glorified the Father with every word and deed. Each step Jesus took advanced the Father’s kingdom. Throughout His ministry, Jesus was consistent in word and deed. The Good Shepherd came for the lost sheep.
            When I think about my stories, I want to be like Jesus. I want my writing to show the reader His love and His message. That’s an agenda worth sticking to.
Jesus had an audience
The crowds came to Jesus and listened to what he had to say. Years back, I remember thinking that my writing would get published when someone out there needed to read my words that pointed them to Jesus. I have to remember that one lost heart in need of the Shepherd, is more important than one New York Times Bestseller. Our Shepherd will make sure stories that bring the lost home are stories that will find the right audience. His audience.
Jesus had an agreement
Matthew 10:32 is a perfect verse for our topic. “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.” Jesus was sending out his apostles to share and spread the Good News. Can you imagine if they only told people that Jesus was a wise man? Jesus was very specific with his instructions. The agreement was that the Twelve would go to the “lost sheep” and tell the people “the kingdom of heaven is near.”
What might our new Christian Writers Creed look like? I propose the following:
The Father gave us a story to tell that no one else can or will. As His children, we will remember the agenda and write it down. We will remember the audience our Father wants our story to reach as we proclaim His glory. And we will agree that by the time we’ve written the final word, Jesus will hold our hands and say, “Well done.”
            May God bless you and your story.
Special thanks to Mr. Koceich for his long suffering in the posting of this article. I hope it encourages all of the readers to examine their stories and take his words to heart; I certainly did. Follow him at his blog and check out his book The Sending at Marcher Lord Press!