At some point in their writing career, many Christian authors express a desire to write a book that would reach the un-churched. That desire is a completely honorable and wonderful goal, just as any believer should desire to represent Christ in their lives in such a way that unbelievers would ask them questions about the hope that is in them.
However, the inference by such statements as “preaching to the choir” is that writing to churchgoers is somehow less desirable. I know the intent of those authors is to have their books used for pre-evangelism, but unfortunately, when most Christian authors use the term “cross-over” to describe their book, it is code for “leave out anything Christian”. I am not sure this is a wise use of your time unless you are very gifted and unique writer.
Indulge me for just another minute before you start writing a reply, hitting me with examples of Lewis, Tolkien, Sayers, MacDonald, Bunyan, Tolstoy, Chesterton, etc.
First, God Almighty can and does use whatever he wants to get people’s attention. I hear God even used a talking donkey once. Second, it is a matter of fact that the books that God has used most frequently for evangelism have testified strongly to Jesus Christ and the power of the Gospel to change a life. Consider these:
More Than A Carpenter, Josh McDowell
Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis
Left Behind Series, Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye
The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren
The Cross and the Switchblade, David Wilkerson
In His Steps, Charles Sheldon
The above have combined worldwide sales of close to 150 million copies. Add to these the millions of Bibles, the Jesus Film and other literature used for outreach, and the power of the clear and overt Christian message is quite clear.
Next, let’s switch our focus toward the audience you would like to reach. I don’t know what kind of church you attend, but I am reminded almost every day of the 40 years that I have been a Christian, that other believers are not perfect, they are just saved. We do not live perfectly perfect lives by any stretch of the imagination. But Christ-followers have surrendered control of their lives to the One who made them and are desiring to live daily within his perspective and purpose. If there is anyone who could use a good Christian book, it is this group of about 75-100 million in the United States alone. (A couple billion worldwide)
On the other hand, the unbelieving crowd that we are trying to reach with a cross-over book are living lives under their own power, being blown about by the wind, seeking after elusive things like significance, pleasure, money, possessions and personal control over their lives.
How are they going to be reached? By any means God desires. He uses dreams and visions, a powerful storm, stars on a clear night, books, movies…and yes, even a Christ-following friend who loves them enough to pray for them and hand them a copy of a book that could change their perspective toward the God who loves them.
There are 200,000 new books published in the United States each year from traditional publishers (self-publishing would more than double that). Of those, less than 10,000 would be Christian books from Christian publishers.
Maybe we need more books with a blatant Christian message and worldview. Seems like there are enough books covering the other side.
Thanks for indulging me a bit. Now let me have it…