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Preaching to the Choir

“You’re just preaching to the choir,” he said. “The people who really need this information won’t be present to hear it.” We’ve all heard that expression, “preaching to the choir.” It suggests that the preaching is futile or that it will have no effect on those who hear. How does this apply to writers?

What is “preaching to the choir?”

In the idioms section of Freedictionary.com, I found this definition: “to make one’s case primarily to one’s supporters; to make one’s case only to those people who are present or who are already friendly to the issues.” I prefer this definition offered by Urbandictionary.com: “Preaching to the choir means you are trying to make believers out of people who already believe, or convince people who are already convinced.”

Are you preaching to the choir?

Writers spend a lot of time networking with other writers. If they are truly interested in building their reader base, shouldn’t they be targeting readers instead? Sure, other writers will read your work, but the number of non-writers who might be interested in your work is infinitely larger than that of your fellow writers. We all need to seek out newer, broader-spectrum markets.

Also, many writers limit themselves to the Christian market. It could be said that you are preaching to the choir if you only write for other Christians. I know I feel more comfortable writing for a demographic that I identify with. What about all the people out there who don’t know the gospel? What about those who’ve heard it but rejected it? Would you be more effective as a Christian writer if you write for the secular market?

Should you be preaching at all?

“Don’t preach.” In writing workshops at Christian writers conferences, I’ve often heard teachers say, “Don’t use words like should, must, and ought to. Those phrases come off as preachy.” Readers want you to share your experience or show them how you accomplished something. They don’t want to be told what to do. For example, don’t say, “We (or you) must show up for church this Sunday to show our love for Jesus.” Instead, try: “Let’s show up for church this Sunday to show our love for Jesus.”

Readers, are you preaching to the choir? Or have you found a way to connect with a new reader demographic? Newsletter readers, to comment, click on the title of the article to go to the site and scroll down to Leave a Reply.

Image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/choir-church-choir-light-shadow-840987/

2 Responses to Preaching to the Choir

  1. Laurean Brooks November 4, 2017 at 10:38 am #

    Emily, I love this post. Very applicable and needed. Thank you for reminding us to use grace in our writing ministry.

  2. Emily Akin November 4, 2017 at 3:09 pm #

    Thanks, Laurie. I write for the Christian market because that is my comfort zone. I’ve heard that some are called to evangelize, while others are called to “equip the saints.” I find myself drawn to the second category. How about you?

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