Thursday, October 2, 2014

What is CWD's Mission Statement? by Nola Passmore




Christian Writers Downunder (CWD) started in mid-2011 as a way of connecting Christian writers.  As the name suggests, most of our members are from Australia and New Zealand, though we also have some from further afield.  Through the CWD Facebook page and the bi-weekly blog, we seek to encourage each other, provide tips, share prayer points and circulate news relevant to Christian writers.  However, I’ve been thinking lately about our aim. 

I was asked to take over the coordination of the group at the beginning of 2014. Anusha Atukorala is also an administrator.  In thinking about our purpose, we considered how we might fit within the broader spectrum of Christian writing groups.  Obviously there will be overlap among groups as we all seek to serve the body of Christ and the wider community.  However, we should clarify our main goals. 

The following is a draft CWD mission statement.  We’d be interested in hearing your feedback. (N.B. Although we’ve used the word ‘writers’, we also mean those in related fields such as editing, publishing, and illustrating.)

  • To glorify God with our writing.
As Christian writers, we seek to put God first and honour Him in our writing.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that every piece we write has a specific Christian message.  However, the fact that we are Christians means that everything we write is imbued with a Christian worldview; whether we’re writing a non-fiction book for the Christian market, a mainstream novel with more subtle faith themes, a ‘how-to’ article for a magazine, or a personal blog.  As it says in Colossians 3:17, 'whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him'.

Honouring God in our writing also means that we endeavour to live a life that is consistent with His Word (e.g. demonstrating a servant attitude, ethical behaviour, love, forgiveness, patience, perseverance, generosity, gratitude).  In this way, we will not bring discredit on the message He has given us to share.

  • To develop our God-given creative gifts.
God has given each of us gifts to be used in building His Kingdom, including creative gifts such as writing.  However, we still need to hone our gifts to be the best we can be at our craft.  The Apostle Paul reminded Timothy to ‘fan into flame the gift of God’ that was in him (2 Tim. 1:6).  Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary describes it this way (p. 1611):

The desire to discover, develop, and deploy our specific spiritual gifts should be like a fire blazing within us.  The constant struggle of Christians is to be diligent about our work for God and not to slacken our pace in the spiritual race.  We need to make a conscious effort to exercise our gift for the common good of the body of Christ.

If we apply this admonition to writing, it doesn’t mean that we’ll be perfect.  Even the world’s best-selling authors still need to sharpen their skills.  However, whether we’re a beginner with no publications or a seasoned professional with many books under our belt, we can all strive for excellence in what we do.  This may involve finding a critique partner, joining a writing group, doing a course, reading writing books and magazines, or attending writer’s conferences.  The point is that we’re seeking to develop our gifts.

  • To encourage other Christian writers.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, we’re instructed to 'encourage one another and build each other up'.  For writers, this could include providing constructive critique, reviewing a book, praying for other writers and writing groups, mentoring a less experienced writer, and providing support in practical ways (e.g. helping with marketing).

Encouraging others also implies that we value each other's gifts and genres.  We want to create an atmosphere where everyone feels welcome, whether novice or pro, full-time writer or dabbler.  Perhaps you love science fiction or fantasy novels, but don't have as much affection for romance or historical fiction.  Maybe you prefer biographies to poetry, or children's books to screenplays.  In spite of our preferences, we can still lift each other up and spur each person to be all they were created to be, for the glory of God the Father.

Encouraging each other doesn't just mean focusing on positive things or patting each other on the back. We should be free to give honest feedback so that 'iron sharpens iron' (Prov. 27:17). However, we do it in the context of relationships such that we are 'speaking the truth in love' (Eph. 4:15).

The goal of encouragement doesn't just apply to individuals, but to our support of other Christian writing groups.  We all have a part to play, just as Paul and Apollos each had different roles in partnering with God (see 1 Corin. 3:5-9).  Let's work together as a community of Christian writers, editors, publishers and illustrators; knowing that we can achieve more together than alone.

As noted earlier, this is a draft mission statement.  We would love to hear your honest feedback, whether you agree or disagree.  Have we left out anything important?  Are there some things in the list that we’ve over-emphasised?  We look forward to your thoughts and suggestions.



Nola Passmore is a freelance writer who has had more than 120 short pieces published in various magazines, journals and anthologies (including poetry, devotions, magazine articles, true stories and short fiction).  She and her husband Tim have just started their own freelance writing and editing business called The Write Flourish.  She loves writing about what God has done in her life and encouraging others to do the same.  (Some call it ‘nagging’, but she calls it encouragement).

24 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great, comprehensive mission statement. What a powerhouse group we'll have if we do all these things. It's not that we haven't been already, but it's good to have goals written down.

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    1. Thanks Paula. Wouldn't it be fantastic if we could all do those things? As you say, many are already doing them. I feel like I fall short in a lot of ways, but it's good to know what we're aiming for. Thanks for your feedback.

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  2. Great idea Nola. I love the goals you have delineated and I think you have expressed them graciously and well.

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    1. Thanks Jenny. Appreciate your feedback :)

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  3. Thank you, Nola. It was so good to mull over this reminder of what we're about. I trawled through our archives and read through some sample posts. Such diversity. I don't believe we've ever had a negative or super critical post from anyone.

    It is truly wonderful to know we're blogging with genuine purpose as stated: to glorify God, to develop our God-given gifts and to encourage other writers. For me personally, I enjoy picking up a writing hint here and there and I always find something to help me along the way just when I need it. I think we all need a boost at times when discouragement worms its way in.

    I do believe the statement covers everything needful for our CWDU blog.

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  4. Thanks for that Rita. We do have a wonderful archive of posts. So many great insights from such a wide range of writers. Thanks for your input over the years. And I'm writing that blog post for you as we speak :)

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  5. Great Mission Statement Nola and very well expressed too. (You must be a Writer! :)) I think the 3 points you've mentioned sums it beautifully!

    As Rita said I don't think we've had an super critical posts - and yes, what great diversity. I've been studying Philippians 2 where we are asked to look to the interests of others. And that's what we as a writing group do I think - we support, encourage and enrich one another. We are asked to be humble as Christ was humble. And that too is what comes automatically when we uplift others.

    I did like the quote about discovering, developing and deploying our gifts. (Might copy it too!)

    So thanks Nola. Well said. And yes, it does help us to have a clear Mission Statement so we know what we are on about. Thanks for the great leadership you've given us. Really appreciate all you do. Bless you.


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    1. Thanks Anusha and thanks so much for your input too. It was great to be able to discuss it with you. I like your point about being humble. I'll add that into the second paragraph in Point 1. And I like your idea about enriching one another.

      I liked that quote too. "Deploy" sounds like a military operation, but it was an interesting way of thinking about it and the fact that we can be strategic in deploying our gifts. Bless you :)

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    2. Bless you too Nola. I was laughing at your mention that 'deploy' sounds like a military operation. True - but it makes great alliteration with 'discover' and 'develop' doesn't it? And creates a great picture!

      March on Administrator! You are doing well and hopefully the crown is not too heavy on that pretty head. :)

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  6. This is so good. Thank you for writing this out, I think it's a great idea to have this so we all have a solid foundation and can come from the same place. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks for your feedback Charis. I really appreciate it :)

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  7. Thanks, Nola. I think the goals are great and summarise really well for me what I have understood CWD is on about. Thanks so much for organising the group.

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement Jo. I really do enjoy being part of this group and learning from each other. Blessings.

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  8. Hi everyone - I thought of something else I could add; maybe to the second par on Point 1 where I list qualities we should aspire to or in the encouragement section. And that's that we also need to be mindful of not taking advantage of others. The thinking behind that is that we should be mutually supporting each other rather than expecting others will give us lots of support and encouragement without us giving in return.

    I could maybe also include something on setting appropriate boundaries. Encouragement doesn't mean that we say "yes" to everything, as that could take us away from other things God has directed us to do. It's a balance between having a servant heart and being willing to invest in the lives of others, but also respecting others and not taking advantage of them.

    Any thoughts?

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  9. thanks Nola and Anusha, Ithink it is a great mission statement.

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    1. Good post, Nola.

      I also agree with your additional comments about not taking advantage of others (and not being afraid to say 'no' to some requests).

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  10. Just one observation from a non writer etc. Originally CWD included readers and bloggers who supported writers and those in the profession. This draft seems to exclude people like me who do not write. Do you see readers who help support the writing industry as valuable as those in the profession or do you mainly want to focus on the writing profession? I am not bothered either way but would like clarification as to if the non writing supporters are included.

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    1. Hi Jenny - You've made a really good point there. I certainly don't mean to exclude readers and bloggers, so I'm sorry if I gave that impression. I think bloggers are already included as they are writers. To me it doesn't matter if someone has books or shorter pieces traditionally published or if they blog online or publish their own material. They are still writing and hoping to find an audience for their message.

      I guess the points in the draft mission statement relate more to writing, but readers are essential to the process. Readers are the ones who can give valuable feedback and as you say, support the writing industry. I see them as being just as valuable. And if writers are serious about improving their craft, they need to be readers as well. Perhaps I could be more specific in adding a point about readers in the encouragement section and/or in the preamble where I mention others in related fields.

      Thanks for your feedback.

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  11. Thanks for your feedback Iola. I only thought of those points afterwards, but I think they're important. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  12. Good mission statement. Nicely done.

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  13. What an awesome statement! Thanks for all the work you put in to make it flow so clearly.

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