December 23, 2011

The Gift of Leadership

by Londa Hayden

Londa at a BCW Meeting with Southern
Writers' Creative Director, Gary  Fearon
and Managing Editor, Doyne Phillips

I have been honored to be the founding president of Bartlett Christian Writers for the past year and a half and have enjoyed every minute of it. My passion for writing with excellence is stirred every time we meet. When I was first approached with the idea of starting a Christian writers group in my area, my first thought was I'm not qualified enough to tackle such a feat. I wasn't even a published author at that time. My insecurities kept me from following through for almost a year. Instead, I kept driving an hour away to participate in another writers group until the leader asked me again the same question, and I felt the urge within to go ahead with it.

The story of Moses came to mind. When God asked him to lead the Jews out of Egypt, Moses voiced his concerns with stuttering lips. Yet, unbeknownst to Moses, God had been preparing him all his life for such a task. I took a deep breath and plotted out a plan of action to start a local writers group out of my church. To my surprise, the local newspaper editor offered to send out a reporter and write an article about our group. We only had five people show up for that first meeting including the reporter, but we still got a nice article in the paper. Fearing our number was too small to justify our meeting space, a scripture came to mind, “Despise not small beginnings.”

The next month we sponsored a “Chicken Soup for the Soul” workshop, which garnered in a few more members. We got a free website up and running shortly after that and a Facebook page. I made sure to keep the local media posted on all monthly updates and to make announcements. I contacted the local Christian radio station, posted on the special events pages of several websites, and I made a small investment for business cards, brochures, and flyers to have posted at local Christian bookstores, libraries, and churches. In August, we held a new members brunch which brought in even more members. By fall, we had ten to twelve members attending our monthly meetings. Now in our second year, we have twenty-five members profiled on our website and Facebook page.

I enjoy making friends with other Christian writers and seeing how God works in each of their lives. It is my privilege and brings me great joy to help educate and encourage them in their journey to getting their work published. I too have learned so much. Looking back, I now see where God had been preparing me to lead Christian writers for several years by stirring the passion in my heart for writing. Someone once told me, “God doesn't necessarily look for people with great ability as much as He looks for someone willing to do whatever He calls you to do.” With some prompting and a lot of encouragement, I stepped out on faith to lay the ground work and God honored my efforts. I don't get paid, but I've been blessed with more than money can buy. I love my job!

What about you? Is there a way you can use leadership skills you may not even realize you have to benefit other authors? When you give your leadership away, it will be a true gift.

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