The Joy of Writing

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Sometimes I’m asked why I write. I was always stronger in language arts than math and science. I never could understand algebra. Geometry was worse. No matter how hard I tried, I just “couldn’t get it.”

On one trip home to Milledgeville, I pulled out my report cards for some reason, taking a walk down memory lane, and noticed my high school geometry teacher had the gall to write in the comment section after one grading period, “I think you could do better if you tried harder.” I was trying my brains out but was not wired for numbers. Writing came easier.

Then, while in seminary, I received a challenge. I attended chapel one day to hear Dr. Russell Dilday, our seminary president, preach. In his remarks, he exhorted us seminarians to expand our ministry beyond the pulpit and into a ministry of writing devotionals, newspapers columns, and books. He planted a seed that stuck with me.

Early in my first pastorate, I wrote a Christmas column for our local paper and the editor printed it. That opened the door for a regular column in the Carmel News-Tribune.

When we moved to north Georgia, I attempted to get my foot in the door in my new location, but that editor wasn’t interested. However, I began writing for denominational magazines and saw numerous articles published. I later learned about writing conferences that helped strengthen skills and provided networking opportunities.

Then came the move to Fayetteville and this pastorate over 22 years ago. The Citizen was still in print and used local columnists along with national writers. I reached out to church page editor Judy Kilgore about getting into the rotation and she invited me to submit a column. That began my relationship with The Citizen. One of the pastors dropped out and I moved to every two weeks. I’ve been writing this column for well over twenty years.

One reason I write is to promote our church family and raise our visibility. When I invite people to worship with us at McDonough Road Baptist Church, they often ask, “Now where in McDonough is your church?” Ugh!

I respond, “We’re not in McDonough, we’re in Fayetteville on the road to McDonough.” Then, I walk them through where we are located on the east side.

“From the courthouse, go east on Highway 54 until you reach McDonough Road at McCurry Park. You know where the soccer fields and softball fields are? Then turn right onto McDonough Road and go about 1.1 miles. Cross over County Line Road, pass the new fire station and you’ll see us on the left. If you get to the river, you’ve gone too far.”

In addition, I enjoy the creative process. Being a journalism major, writing is in my DNA. The Carmel editor told me one time, “The printer’s ink must flow!” I receive great satisfaction from finishing a piece and seeing it in print or posted online. Viewing one’s byline never gets old.

Plus, writing is a great outlet. Some people enjoy wood working, others use golf as their leisure activity, while some people sew, cross stitch or quilt. Other people fish and hunt. I enjoy writing. Writing still uses brain power, but in a different way.

A greater reason is to encourage and inspire people through these columns. People need a lift and sometimes a laugh to make their day. I often use humor to make a spiritual point.

Recently I wrote a piece about dealing with disappointment in a world that’s unfair. Apparently, that column scratched an itch.

One reader wrote, “This week’s column appeared on my screen. Oh how badly He knew I needed this. Some things happening in my life had me (down) and then losing Freddie Freeman was another blow! Your column was what I needed. I feel so much better!”

Another reader posted, “I needed this. Thanks!”

Added another, “Very encouraging to read this morning!”

Still another, “Thanks for the encouragement!”

The greatest reason I write is to point people to Jesus and impact as many people as possible to the glory of God. I’m thankful for editors who run this column and readers who follow it.

[David L. Chancey is pastor of Fayetteville’s McDonough Road Baptist Church, 352 McDonough Road. Join them this Sunday for worship at 10 a.m. and Bible study at 11:10 a.m. Visit www.mcdonoughroad.org to view online options. Visit www.davidchancey.com to see Chancey’s other columns or to purchase his books.]