Heartfelt Thanks and the Big Reveal

2602363529_aa2be7a127This is so hard!

I received over twenty submissions for book proposal coaching, and picking just one to work on is killing me.

What’s even more intense is that I find myself really connecting with all the yearning these submissions reflect. You all have such great stories and aspirations.

What I hate—what I really cannot tolerate—is the possibility that when I pick one of these submissions, some of you will feel let down or rejected or whatever.

Please, regardless of who I work with, for the love all that’s sacred don’t stop pursuing your book project!

And I would be beside myself with gratitude if you took this process seriously and worked on your proposal at the same time I’m working with someone and blogging about it.

The other thing that’s on my mind as I review these submissions is that this blog I started a few months ago is actually connecting out there—all over the place (I received submissions from Wales and South Africa for heaven’s sake!)—and with real people.

Those of you who blog know what it’s like to write your posts, send them into the world, and just hope they’re helpful. I mean you see the stats, but they’re just numbers and bar graphs, right? Getting to read about some of you has me all choky and teary. I’m not kidding.

So bless you. And don’t stop writing. And thank you. Sincerely.

Pause. Sigh.

OK, now for the big reveal. I’ve decided to work with Gary Neal Hansen. Gary is a church history prof at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary and the author of Kneeling with Giants: Learning to Pray with History’s Best Teachers (InterVarsity Press, 2012). Honestly I had reservations about working with a published author because I thought I might be more helpful to someone who has not been published, but Gary’s concept won me over.  Here’s the description he sent:

One for the World: Six Ways of Being Christian Community that Have Changed the World–and Can Do It Again is for all those who ask why their present life in the church sucks, who know the answer must be more than using different music, and who want tools to grow the kind of community life that has, throughout history, empowered Christ’s followers to do God’s work with power and grace.”

The possibility of helping Christians develop world-changing communities by learning from what Christians have done in the past was just too good for me to pass up.

Gary and I will get started very soon. Join us.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I agree with Natasha. I had to read it several times, wondered if it was missing a comma and then lost track of the whole thing. The title needs to grab me and tell me exactly what the book is about–or intrigue me enough to make me want to find out.

    At least, that’s my opinion. 🙂

  • Since Michelle and Cynthia raised questions about the title I proposed, I’m very eager to hear your ideas for better alternatives! I’m currently brainstorming the issue on Facebook and to my teeny-tiny-Twitter following, and would love more suggestions from you all…

    • Hi Gary,

      I’m not sure if they were raising questions for the same reason, but I had to read it a couple of times myself, thinking there was a typo. This does not sound grammatically correct: “Six Ways of Being Christian Community that Have Changed the World”. Do you mean this in the sense of “Six Types of Christian Communities that Have Changed the World – and How We Can Do It Again”? If so, I think something along those lines would read better. I hope that helps a little!

  • josiebarone

    I am waiting with eager anticipation to walk alongside and learn from your experience on how to write a proposal every step of the way!

    • Thanks, Josie. I’m planning to publish the first post tomorrow morning! Topic: bio.

  • Jim

    Can’t type it should read, “After sitting…”

  • Jim

    That sitting in two semesters of church history with Dr. Hansen if anybody can “pull off” this topic it is him. Let stick Jesus guide you as you work together

    • Thanks for the affirmation! The only question is WHICH “Rev Jim” this is — and Stick Jesus won’t tell me. (He still hasn’t “friended” me on Facebook!)

  • Very much looking forward to following along! The book sounds so interesting, timely, and important!

  • Congratulations, Gary! That sounds like a really interesting concept and I’m looking forward to seeing how your proposal develops.

    Chad, Thanks so much for your encouragement to the rest of us!

  • Congratulations, Gary!

    Looking forward to following!

    Chad, I had the same question as Michelle…Is the title correct? Love the premise!

    • That’s the title Gary sent in, but see here, the community here is already proving useful. Gary, please note: two commenters are questioning your title. We have some work to do there! Thanks, Cynthia.

      • Thanks Chad & Co. for your early thoughts on the result of a late-night title brainstorm.

        This is not the first time a proposed title meant more to me than to those who read it! Even if it goes by the wayside, coming up with it was of benefit to me — it came from a journey though John 17 where Jesus tells us something crucial and countercultural about what community is and why community matters. I get to keep this, and incorporate it (far more clearly) inside the book.

  • Chad, thank you for the contest. To be honest, I wasn’t ready to be picked, but I’m sure looking forward to following the process and may even ask for a comment to clarify once in a while. I just started blogging @ wordpress, so feel free to be a follower and get some encouragement along the way.


    Thank you Chad, for choosing to work with me on this! I am over the moon with excitement — I’ve already learned so much from your blog, both in the specific content and the generous spirit behind it. New writing always feels so fragile and vulnerable; if you were not the kind of guy you are, doing this in public would be very, very scary.

    And thanks for the encouragement from the community here! You folks are great. I look forward to hearing your thoughts as Chad blogs through this process. And I hope you’ll share how your proposals are going so we all learn together.

    • Gary, thank YOU for your willingness to work in a public studio like this. Reminds of restaurants where you can see the chefs do their thing. Let’s make something tasty for the folks! Excited as all get out.

  • Congratulations Gary! I am excited to follow you and Chad on this journey. Chad, I love(x3) your enthusiasm for this project. Following your passion and loving your work is important also.

  • This will be very interesting and we all can learn. But, if I can quibble–is the title right? Or will you be discussing that? 🙂

    • Oh yes, we’ll be discussing the title.Thanks, Michelle.

  • Great pick! I’d like to read that book (as well as Gary’s first one too!). I appreciate your heart, Chad, for those who weren’t picked. You’re doing a great job humanizing the big, bad, publishing machine! Can’t wait to watch this project unfold.

  • Thanks again for doing the contest. I look forward to the blog series!

    • Cheers, Josh! Btw, everybody, Josh works at the best Christian book store on planet earth. Just sayin…

  • Gary’s book sounds like a wonderful choice! Looking forward to this series.

    • Thanks, Diane! Your interaction will make the series that much better!

  • Yay, Gary! Love your blog, Chad. I’m excited to follow along.

    • Dena, thank you! Please do follow along; we’ll all be the better for it.

  • Congratulations Gary! Looking forward to working on my book proposal as you work on yours.

  • I would read that book for sure! Looking forward to following along.

    • Lisa, I thought it might be up your alley. Looking forward to interacting with you throughout the process.