New Resource: My Story Guidebook for Small Groups or Sunday Classes

In Psalm 78, God instructs older generations to tell younger generations about the work of God and His nature so young people will set their hope in God and keep His commands. The Psalmist states, “Tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders He has done. He established a testimony in Jacob.” God wants us to report to future generations what God has done in our life. God wants us to share our story and talk about our experience with God. God is very specific regarding what we are to talk about: His deeds, His might, and His wonders. Our story isn’t the point, it’s the pointer.

According to the Bible, our story is a means of describing the work of God and His nature. It is our testimony recounting what God has done and who God is. We read, “God has established a testimony in Jacob” (Ps. 78:5). God has also established a testimony in every Christian and He wants us to tell it. We can ask questions such as, “How has God worked in our life? How has He proven faithful? How has He provided for us? What have we learned about God throughout our life? Do our children or grandchildren know about our God stories?”

One method to tell our story is to create a written record to pass on to our children and grandchildren. The Bible utilizes this method to encourage future generations to praise God, “Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord” (Ps. 102:18). God has chosen the written Word as the key method to draw us to Christ and deepen our faith (2 Tim. 3:15; Col. 1:28) and we can do the same by recording our story in writing for our children and grandchildren.

Are You Looking for Help Writing Your Story?

My Story Groups are designed to help Christians write their faith story and capture meaningful memories that will strengthen their children’s and grandchildren’s faith in Christ. My Story Groups were created because many individuals have the best intentions to write their story, but sometimes struggle to accomplish this goal on their own. Recently, my father presented my children (his grandchildren) with his written testimony and the details about not knowing Christ in his childhood or teenage years, coming to faith in college, growing in faith as a young man and newly married couple, and wisdom he wanted to pass on to his grandchildren. My dad’s faith story is a wonderful gift to my children that I pray God uses to draw them to Him and establish a deep faith in their heart. My Story groups help you to write your story and pass it on to your family as a tool to grow their faith in Christ.

The My Story Guidebook is designed around community. Gathering in community with other Christians helps us complete the task of writing our story because we are cheered on by others, inspired by other people’s stories, and supported when we get stuck. The My Story Guidebook can be used in a small group setting, a Sunday School class, or even by Zoom. The guidebook provides details about how to launch and lead a My Story Group. It walks you through how to facilitate, plan, and promote your group. The resource provides sessions and topics of discussion, a group covenant, tips to start and finish writing your story, resources, and some ideas about how to share your faith story with your children or grandchildren. 

The My Story Guidebook is available as a digital download for $7.99 or as a book for $9.99

We have seen My Story Groups become transformative for those who wrote their faith stories and those who received them, bearing fruit and impacting individuals in countless and unseen ways. When we share our story, we are honoring the biblical command to tell the next generation about God. Gather with a group of parents, grandparents, or fellow believers and write your story today and bless your family tomorrow. 

Quick Tips to Get Published

I regularly get asked questions about how to get published, so decided I would share one of my email responses from a question that was asked of me by an aspiring author. I don’t consider myself a publishing expert, but I’m experienced enough with the publishing world to share some advice from personal experience. If you are an aspiring author, here are a few quick tips to get published.

  • Publishing is slow, so patience is needed. A traditional publisher typically takes 12-24 months to get a book in print. Self-publishing can be half that time. My first book took a traditional publisher almost four years to get printed. Think marathon, not sprint when it comes to publishing. Don’t get discouraged by how long it can take to get a book in print.
  • Research who publishes books on your subject matter. Every publisher has their area of specialty and interest. Finding the right publisher is key. Pick up books that you’ve read and see who published them. When you’ve identified some publishers, visit their website and look at the titles of their books. The ideal publisher is one that publishes on your subject area, but does not have a book about the topic you are writing. 
  • Create a killer book proposal. This is your sales tool. It’s purpose is to get a book contract, so it is not the time to be bashful or cut corners. You are trying to persuade them to say “yes.” Give them every reason to do that. Answer the why question thoroughly (why the book is needed). Do your research on what is already in print and be honest. If you say, “Nothing exists on this topic,” you will need to back it up. Otherwise, publishers will know that you have not done your homework. Include as many endorsements in the book proposal as possible. Endorsements equal marketing and marketing equals sales. And for publishers, sales is the end game, so put time in to get a good list of endorsements. Develop a plan to sell copies of the book and communicate this clearly in the proposal. Books won’t sell themselves, so you will need to convince a publisher that you are going to actively work to sell a book. Many publishers have a template for a book proposal and it’s found on their website. If they provide one, follow it exactly. If not, you have the freedom to create your own.
  • Submit your book proposal to multiple publishers at the same time. Make sure to include some small and medium sized publishers. If you are not an established name, it’s difficult to get a contract from an A-list book publisher, so manage your expectations. If you submit to one publisher at a time, like many request, you may wait months for a response. If the proposal is rejected, the process begins with another publisher. If there are multiple rejections from multiple publishers, proposals submitted one by one, may result in a very long process.
  • While you are waiting for an answer from a traditional publisher, research self-publishing or hybrid options. This is not a bad route in today’s digital world. I self-published my first book and I told the individual I was working with, “I don’t want it to look self-published.” The book was so well done that it led to publishing offers from major publishers. Most of my books are published by a traditional publisher, but I have self-published a few books that I wanted to maintain ownership of the book or needed the material published on a quicker timeline. There are good reasons to consider self-publishing and there are good reasons to consider a traditional publisher. Explore both. 
  • Take marketing seriously. Publishing a book is not the finish line. It’s the starting point. Once a book is published, it must be marketed, especially if it is self-published, or no one will know it exists. Speaking opportunities, social media, and networking with other people are all helpful marketing avenues. If you’ve ever read a book and it wasn’t very good and wondered, “how did this get published,” it’s because they understood that publishers don’t always publish good writing. They publish what they think can sell. Convince a publisher that your writing can sell and you will get a contract. 

Publishing a book is an adventure. It takes determination and usually some thick skin, but it is worth it. Enjoy the journey!