Guest Post: Ghostwriting (for Jesus)

A ghostwriter is a professional writer who is paid to write books, articles, stories, or reports which are officially credited to another person. (Source: Wikipedia)

By Ginger Sinsabaugh MacDonald I just heard through the Christian grapevine that one of my favorite megapastor authors uses a ghostwriter. I know it’s true, because the person I corresponded with was his ghostwriter!  Ghostwriting isn’t banned from Christian publishing circles, it’s actually quite common. While you may never attended a book signing by Cecil Murphy, you might have read several of his books.

Around the time of Y2K, when everyone was hoarding batteries and bottled water, thinking the end of the world was coming, there was a lot of bad press about ghost writers in the Christian market. Everyone from Billy Graham to Bill Hybels was accused of being anything but the authentic Christian he wrote about.

But I’m not blogging to expose the ghostwriter, I’m going to commend him or her.

Ghostwriters in many respects are the brains behind the almighty Sunday Morning Oz, telling us to “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” They let someone else get credit for their talents, keeping attention off themselves. Being a ghostwriter of sorts– a transparent servant of God –is really what it’s all about. In all of our efforts, the story of our lives should point to our Creator, not the man in the mirror.

This doesn’t just apply to those who write best sellers, but to our church communication efforts. Whether it’s a newsletter, sermon, special program, or a fund raising letter we pen for someone else, the focus shouldn’t be on us or our cool church identity. That new logo you painstakingly designed should be transparent, so the attention goes to God. When our efforts are reduced to wanting credit for a cool mailing or outreach event, we will never get the results we crave. Egos have insatiable appetites. Only when we don’t care about who gets credit are big goals achieved.

So my advice for your next email blast shouting a cool outreach event? Learn a lesson from your favorite unknown authors. If it connects the reader to God, you’ve done good. If all eyes are on your design skills or on the hairstyle of your new rock star seeker pastor, you’ve just been busted.

Ginger Sinsabaugh MacDonald is a marketing genius and the creative mind behind TastyFaith, which is chock full of resources for urban and not-so-urban youth workers. She is the author of Help! I’m an Urban Youth Worker! and writes for several well-known periodicals.

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