Book Review: Writing for Life & Ministry
Brandon J. O’Brien (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is Director of Content Development and Distribution for Redeemer City to City, where he coordinates, edits, and shepherds writing projects with Pastor Timothy Keller and urban church planters around the world. Brandon has served in pastoral ministry, worked in publishing, authored a few books, and taught for state and Christian colleges and universities. He and his wife, Amy, and their two children live in Washington Heights, NY. They enjoy good food, good company, and exploring New York City.
Writing for Life and Ministry, a recent book authored by Brandon J. O’Brien, reads more like a coaching guide than it does a book, which is precisely what O’Brien intended. A former teacher and magazine editor, O’Brien’s knack for developing writers is quickly apparent as he coaches the reader through the stages of writing throughout the book. He begins by discussing the dynamic between the writer and the reader, covering everything from the writer’s motivation to anticipating a reader’s pushback, before moving on to the nuts and bolts process of writing. It is an intensely practical guide broken up into bite-sized chapters, each of which is followed by a corresponding writing exercise. The result: the reader does just as much writing in this book as he/she does reading.
O’Brien, I’m sure, would be the first to say that there is nothing new about his book on writing. The material he shares was not formulated in his mind alone, but gathered from a variety of sources over time and bound up together in this power-packed little resource. He pulls from the likes of Stephen King, Anne Lamott, William Zinsser, Strunk and White, Ernest Hemingway, and others, and further, advocates for the practice of a pretty standard process. That’s not to say that this book isn’t helpful, not at all. Rather, I share this to reiterate its value. O’Brien has produced a writing resource in agreement with the hall of experts that will undoubtedly improve the skills of its reader.
So, whether you’re a teacher or preacher or not, if you’d like to improve your writing, this little edition by Brandon O’Brien will not only tell you how, but it’ll teach you how, and he’ll coach you through the entire process. Grab a copy.
[I received this book free of charge from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.]