After our conference in El Paso in January, we announced what we feel is a very exciting and important project. It has been a challenging few months on many fronts – including website development. As the world begins to re-open and business resumes, we feel this is a good time to open up the new website project too. We are far from launching, but we are ready to involve more fellow workers.
As announced, the website is titled Leading to Life. We are still tweaking the team who will run the day to day operation, but we have excellent technical support, and I have asked Michael McKinney to be my Assistant Managing Editor. He runs his own website and business enterprise, so though he cannot devote all his time to this project, he brings invaluable input. We need help and we want to involve as many people as possible. To that end, I am sharing some guidelines I asked Mike to write up for any and all who would like to add their shoulder to this hefty wheel.
The Covid-19 pandemic has slowed our approaching other groups to investigate their willingness to share material already published, but hopefully that process can move forward soon also. It is important to keep in mind that our focus is on giving not gaining from the enormous effort that websites entail. We are not looking for members, and though we will naturally give credit for sources we will not be promoting other church groups or individuals. We are presenting points of God’s truth in a way that they might see value in the truth for their life even if they don’t initially identify it as God’s law. I am reminded of Paul’s experience at Lystra when the people associated Paul and Barnabas with local gods. Paul told them that we too are human like you and we are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God. It is quite a challenge to do this in today’s environment.
You can help by writing short articles or by bringing our attention to material you believe fits the concept of expounding biblical principles Leading to Life. I need to offer a word of caution. From years of experience, I know that contributing can be frustrating. Not all material may be deemed suitable for posting. Be prepared to donate your time without any guarantee that the material you offer will be used. If it is, it will most certainly go through an editorial process. If you do plan to write, please submit a proposal of your idea. This will help prevent unnecessary effort and disappointment. Please see your efforts as adding vital grist to the mill.
Thank you for your much-needed support.
Here is what Mike shared which may help you in grasping the development of this project and his suggestions for approaching writing for the website:
Editorial guidelines are based on a philosophy with which we all agree. We know what we believe. But who is our audience? What do we want them to do or think based on what we give them?
For any article, what we state in our “About Us” is our north star. This is what we plan to say:
Leading to Life is designed to enhance your life and lead towards a fulfilling future. Humans have similar thoughts, feelings, and emotions – and frustrated hopes and dreams. In a confusing and broken world, it is easy to feel powerless.
We believe life comes with a user manual and that this earth – and all that lives on it – were created with a plan in mind. Discovering that plan reveals a great array of practical knowledge that produces positive, life-altering results.
Humanity struggles along the path of life. Religion has failed most of us. The word “God” often conjures up an image of a judgmental being who distances Himself from mankind and has no relevance today. But in truth, there is a God, who wants the best life for each of us.
This Creator can be known in a personal way, and His characteristics can be understood as beneficial. We have been given a guidebook full of principles and values that encourage positive relationships with Him and with others. And they lead to that promised, better future.
At Leading to Life, we are curating those principles found in the Bible that lead to a better life. So, we invite you to learn, grow, and share with us.
Leading to Life is an initiative of the Church of God — The Father’s Call.
To that end, we are sharing principles that define a path leading to life both now and in the future.
Part of the difficulty we face in writing these articles is to understand where people’s minds are so we can reach them at that level. It is difficult for us to unknow what God has given us to know. The people we want to reach are not at that point. However, any of the life-giving principles in the Bible will help now. They can give our readers a new perspective on God. And they just might motivatethem to seek out a real connection to God. As we know, only God can open minds.
Often, what God tells us to do requires a leap of faith. Choices that lead to death can seem more reasonable and doable—human nature relates to them. Many of the choices available to us are self-serving and self-protecting and make sense to the carnal mind. However, we are promoting a way of give—outgoing concern. While mankind can see the value in that, when it comes right down to it personally, we tend to take care of ourselves first. Hence, we feel a theme that should run through most of our articles is personal responsibility.
We believe the articles need to illuminate God’s laws and the principles derived from those laws and explain the value of adopting them. We begin by telling the reader where we find ourselves—define an issue—and then share a Biblical truth about that issue. People coming to our site are looking for answers to issues in their life now. (If we end every article with “you need God’s Holy Spirit,” then our readers will look elsewhere. We are, in essence, asking them to join something).
Here is some advice that was given about connecting with an audience:
The narrower your focus, the broader your reach. Clarity is key.
People want to hear, pretty much right up front, what your message is going to do for them. And really, that’s what any great message does: it shows people a new, stronger way of achieving a goal without making them feel “wrong” or “weak” for following the old way.
The format goes something like this:
- Establish a GOAL — the action of a story begins when we discover what someone wants.
- Identify the PROBLEM they are facing that they may not even know they had — this creates conflict and tension, which is the engine of all action. What is happening?
- Discover a TRUTH that makes the inaction impossible because it puts the Goal in jeopardy — this forces a choice someone has to make
- Deciding to CHANGE — this is what happens as a result of the Truth, and it determines whether the ending is happy or not
- Turning the Change into ACTION — this is what someone does to make the Change real
For people to understand your idea, they have to connect new ideas to something they already know. And they don’t know your idea already.
What do they know? They know what they know and care about right now. So start there, instead: Since you know and care about this … I have a great idea. When explaining your ideas, start with what’s “known” to the audience before introducing something “new.” Once you’ve introduced the “new” information, it becomes “known,” and you can add more “new” information from there.
It is amazing, too, how many studies support Godly principles. If you find them, it is worth including them and makes the article more interesting.
We also plan to have a specific section that connects all of the dots. What does this all mean—where are these choices leading—leading to life not just now but in the future. In this section, we can talk about how God desires to help us make (and stick to) these choices and that He has a plan for mankind as revealed through His Holydays. And there are so many other spiritual subjects we can address.