Well, as promised, I’ve written the first draft of an introduction to the Two Ways to Live evangelistic book I’m hoping we can write together. (There’s a link below to read it.)
Three quick things before we dive in.
First off, does the book have a title? It’s way too early to worry about that. Let’s see what floats to the surface as we go along. For the time being, I’m just going to call it The 2WTL book.
Secondly, who are we writing for? We could simply say ‘the non-Christian reader’, but we have to be more specific. The gospel conversation we have will always be shaped by the person we are talking to—by how much they already know, by their hang-ups or questions, by the language they use, by the assumptions they bring to the table.
Books are the same. Every book has to have a clear idea of its readership. Who do we envisage holding this book in their hands and (God willing) being interested to read the whole thing?
As you’ll see from the introduction, my instinct is to aim this book at the largest category of non-Christian people we are likely come across among our friends and family: the person who has been raised in our culture (that is, Western culture) but who has little or no current interest or contact with Christianity. They may have varying degrees of hostility or apathy or interest or total ignorance towards the gospel, but what unites them is that they inhabit our post-Christian, Western society.
Is this the right target? It will make the book less effective for people who are still enmeshed in non-Western cultures (like Buddhism or Islam), even though they live in our street. And it will make the book a bit less sharp for ‘nominal Christians’ who go to church but aren’t converted.
But it does target the vast majority of people we come across day-to-day. I’m interested in what you think about this. For the kind of people you’d like to give a gospel book to, is this an introduction that motivates them to keep reading, with the right expectations as they do so?
Thirdly, what sort of feedback do I want from you? I don’t need comments on typos, grammar or spelling mistakes at this point. That’s for later. For the introduction, and for every chapter, what I’d love to hear from you is any of the following:
Can you imagine your non-Christian friends and family reading this? Is there anything that would bore them, put them off or needlessly offend them?
Is there something you think I could add—an idea or illustration or argument that would strengthen the chapter?
Is there anything that could be cut, without making any real difference? Is the whole thing too long?
Is any sentence or phrase or word unclear or obscure?
To make it easier for you to give this feedback, and for me to collate and integrate it, I’m going to send each chapter out as a PDF with line numbers. This will mean there’s a standard way for us all to refer to particular sentences or parts of the chapter, and it also makes it easy for those of you who’d prefer to print out the chapter for reading.
After this first intro chapter, the remaining chapters will get emailed out to subscribers as part of the normal weekly edition. This means that if you want to keep getting the chapters as they come out, you’ll have to subscribe to the The Payneful Truth. And you can do that via the 90-day free-trial I’m running at the moment:
When you’ve read the chapter, just send an email with your general comments and specific feedback to email@example.com. (Use those line numbers to refer to particular paragraphs or sentences.)
I hope all that makes sense. Thanks again for being willing to help out.
Looking at my schedule over the next few days, and where I’m up to with the next chapter (Chapter 1), I’m pretty sure it’s going to be later next week (or even early the week after) before I send that one out.
Anyway, let’s get started.
Here again is the link for the intro chapter: